Peter Baanen of Troi Automatisering

FileMaker Plugin Developer:    Troi Automatisering

Number of Plugins:    8 FileMaker Plugins

When did you first start using FileMaker?

In 1995 when FileMaker Pro 2.1 was the current version.

What made you start making FileMaker Plugins?

Well, I a happened to read a line in the user guide that plug-ins were now possible. There was no SDK or so, but  having studied computer science I knew this would be interesting, so I started hunting for the SDK from FileMaker. After a bit of time I managed to get the SDK and was able to publicly release our first FileMaker plug-in, which was the Troi FM Plug-in 1.0.1b3. This was done by Jeff Gagne speaking for Claris at MacWorld.

Do you use any plugins created by other people? If so which ones?

No, we only use our own Troi Plug-ins. In the beginning quite a few of the Troi plug-ins were created because we needed to use it in FileMaker ourselves.

Which of your own plugins do you feel is your best work?

I think Troi File Plug-in is the best, as it can do so much, and it is also the most popular to date. But the most fun was the Grabber plug-in, our video grabbing plug-in. I liked most that it will display live images on a FileMaker window, without the FileMaker application being aware of this.

Do you think making plugins cross-platform is important?

Yes, that is part the strength of our plug-ins.

What do you think of FileMaker adding features that come from Plugins? Such as Printing to PDF and Script Triggering?

Of course I don’t like it, as it takes business from us. But its inevitable. And in the case of script triggering, implementing this with a plug-in was tricky, FileMaker Inc is able make it more robust than we could ever make it in the Troi Activator Plug-in. But usally a plug-in still has some functions left, that can not be done with FileMaker itself: such as that Troi Activator Plug-in can trigger a script on a different client, or send a bit of data to a runtime solution.

What do you think the next feature originally come from a plugin FileMaker will add will be?

I don’t have an idea at the moment. Maybe FileMaker Inc will only add non-plug-in stuff to FileMaker Pro 11. =)

Do you think Free plugins harm companies who sell plugins?

Yes and no. It depends on your expectations as a user, we as a paid supplier intend to be here for a long time, releasing updates when things break. With free plug-ins you don’t know that.

What features would make the next version FileMaker perfect?

Get rid of Table Occurences/contexts stuff and make it so simple so that anyone can understand FileMaker again. I think they lost something with the FileMaker 7 release.

Any tips for people who want to make a FileMaker Plugin themselves?

It is not that easy to make it work as you want it. And in general: always test every possibility, execute every branch in your code to see what happens.