Since I have no option, pretty much, I’m trying to fall in love with FileMaker Pro and its corresponding iPad app. The app is not as useful as the former Bento app where I did all my work, but it has improved from the earlier versions. Of course it cost me another chunk of money to upgrade to version 13. Whatever. I’ve taken advantage of a few of their webinars and will continue to do so, although they are more business oriented than for an academic project (academic in nature but without the academic institution).
One nice feature is that I can share the database in a read-only version with up to five iPad users, which will allow me to share them with family before all the transcribing is done. I’m going to try that soon with my brother to see if it works as described. The containers in the forms also allow me to drop in PDFs of the letter scans, which can then be read by those I’ve shared a file with. I’m working on the style of the database forms to make them as readable as possible. Will I also add the transcriptions to the forms? Maybe.
The layout options in the forms include using templates that fit your devices, mobile devices or computer screens. I’m just using the layout for the iPad, but you could choose a phone layout, as well. To save space in the forms, there are tabbed containers that are like a set of folders that you can flip through without scrolling down the page. I’m trying to get the forms just right before I start transcribing, because that’s when I will be finding topics and keywords to put in the forms to help me when I want to create an index to the letters. I pretty much see me transcribing in WordPress and curating the details in FileMaker Pro (I just wanted to see if I could use the buzzword curating).
Here are a few screenshots of how the data looks on the computer and the iPad:
The iPad screenshots were taken before I made a few adjustments to both the spreadsheet and the form, but I will have to email the whole file to myself and open it in the app to see those changes. I wish FileMaker Go updated on the device automatically, but the file would have to be hosted with FileMaker for that, so I’ll be emailing it whenever I want an update. That’s why I won’t be using the iPad app much nor updating it too often, just for sharing.
I finally figured out how to rearrange columns in the spreadsheet, but it was clunky and not even as easy as in Excel or Google Drive, unfortunately. Still, I’m not complaining; I’m learning to love.