FileMaker Context, Relational Design, and Focus

FileMaker Context and Relational Design

Among the major databases, only FileMaker uses context to evaluate what is shown on a given layout. Among the biggest challenges facing a budding FileMaker developer are two problems: learning how to make – and understand – table occurrences (TO’s), and how to understand FileMaker context.

Basically, context is the path that FileMaker uses to evaluate data, and that path is the result of the links between tables (TO’s) you, as the developer, make in the Relationship Graph. Sound confusing? Read on for some help.

FileMaker Academy released a video on just these topics, with Jeremiah Hammond of DB Services making the presentation:

Understanding how to use the relationship graph is fundamental for custom app development in FileMaker. Developers must understand both relational design—tables, keys, and how to use keys to relate tables—and context. The importance of context cannot be overstated: almost everything in a FileMaker app is evaluated in a context, including relationships in the relationship graph. To truly master FileMaker, developers must master context.


If you want to get started learning FileMaker, start here, make sure to watch youtube videos, take advantage of the FileMaker Academy videos, and visit websites like for pointers and guidance.

Why Can’t I Focus?

One of my favorite sources for reading about behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement is James Clear. Clear just posted Focus: The Ultimate Guide on How to Improve Focus and Concentration, something everybody should read (and study) to help get focused.

I like his definition of Focus:

Focus can only occur when we have said yes to one option and no to all other options. In other words, elimination is a prerequisite for focus. As Tim Ferriss says, “What you don’t do determines what you can do.”

The problem is usually not the ability to focus, instead its the competition for your attention in today’s world, which is filled with devices and services clamoring for your attention, like phones, watches, computers, email, notifications, and so on.   My advice:  turn off all notifications, badges, alerts, etc.  Schedule a time to check those things, otherwise focus on the task at hand.

And read James Clear, of course.

We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Maximes (1678)
French author & moralist (1613 – 1680)


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