Why Choose FlockFiler?
When creating FlockFiler, I adhere to the best principles of software design to create a finely crafted product. My goal is not just to have a satisfied customer, I want FlockFiler to be so good that it is enjoyable to use, and people will be enthusiastic about recommending FlockFiler to others.
"We should not have to be tyrannized by application designers who don't
know the first thing about how actual people do their actual work."
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
FlockFiler is better than the rest in many different ways.
FlockFiler is truly easy to use.
Simply fill in your information on screen. Easily see different aspects of your sheep's record with the push of a button. You only have to fill in what you know about the sheep and FlockFiler takes care of the rest.
Lots of things are calculated for you automatically and displayed on-screen alongside of your data entry. This gives you instant feedback. You can always see what's going on as you are browsing your records without having to run a special report. Among the auto-displayed/auto-updated items are the current age, the pedigree chart, all siblings, and all offspring. Of course this information is also available in a report format for tidy printing.
FlockFiler has advanced searching capabilities.
FlockFiler's power to find your information is head and shoulders above the competition. Being completely searchable makes FlockFiler more than just a record keeping program, it makes it a record using program. It gives you the ability to interact with your information. You can ask questions and get answers very simply. These are those questions about your flock that come up so often such as "How many...?", "Which ones...?", "When did I...?", or "What did I...?". Answering these questions is the whole point of keeping records. Answering these questions quickly and easily is the whole point of keeping your records on a computer.
FlockFiler is built using a real database (FileMaker) and puts all of the power of that database at your disposal. You can do very simple searches (e.g., "Show me the sheep named Daisy.") or very complex ones (e.g., "Show me all the lambs with black wool who were not sired by Buster."). You can search using anything that you typed into any field in FlockFiler.
Even though the search capability of FlockFiler is amazingly powerful, the really great part is that you do not need to learn any cryptic query language to find your records. Simply push the "Find" button and then fill in the fields of a blank data-entry form with what you seek.
FlockFiler plays well with others.
FlockFiler allows you to fully export and import all your information so that you can fully share it with other programs such as a spreadsheet, a word processor, or some other sheep software (assuming it has the capacity to import information). It is all too common for record keeping software to store your information but not share it with other programs. FlockFiler follows the philosophy that it is the caretaker of your information. If you want to do something else with your information, FlockFiler is happy to accommodate you.
Similarly if you have been storing your information in a spreadsheet or other software and want to import that information into FlockFiler, you can do that. You can do that if the other sheep software lets you export your information. Unlike FlockFiler, most other programs won't let you export your information.
FlockFiler has fantastic user support.
In addition to the comprehensive written documentation, there is an active online forum where you can share your experiences with other users, search for answers, and ask questions. Plus you can view free tutorial movies online.
Runs on old or new computers, Windows and Macintosh.
Because keeping good records is very important, Cosmic Consulting is committed to providing quality record keeping software to as many shepherds as possible. Even though FlockFiler Lite is new software, it is designed to run well using Microsoft Windows versions as old as Windows 95 and Macintosh OS versions as old as Mac OS 8.1. Of course, it runs great on newer systems with Windows XP or Mac OS X.
As far as I know, FlockFiler is the only sheep record keeping system sold commercially that runs natively on Macintosh computers. There are versions of FlockFiler Lite for Classic Mac OS and OS X.
FlockFiler has friendly data-entry.
When designing FlockFiler, I tried to keep the following rules in mind.
- Do not annoy the user.
- Do not ask the user stupid questions.
- Provide helpful and informative guidance, not mysterious error messages.
- Do not ask the user for the same information twice.
- Do not require the user to fill in everything.
- Make the best out of info that the user provided.
- Keep in mind that the user's information belongs to the user.
- Sweat every detail to ensure a smooth operation because small rough edges will cause long-term headaches for the user. (See rule #1.)
A record keeping program does have to impose some structure to your information, but it doesn't have to be difficult about it. FlockFiler provides for odd circumstances. FlockFiler has free-form note fields to let you fill in assorted information that doesn't fit into any standard data entry field. In some menu selections there is an "Other" option because sometimes your situation just isn't on a menu.
There are many occasions where you don't know all the information of a particular sheep. FlockFiler gracefully deals with empty data fields and does not give you a hard time about it. You may want to fill in that information later or never fill it in at all. Sometimes certain information about a sheep is just plain unknown. For important data entry fields such as a tag number, sex, birthdate, dam, sire, etc., FlockFiler will inform you of the missing fields using a record quality indicator at the bottom of the form. Using this FlockFiler gently informs you about missing things or inconsistencies in your data entry without getting in your way with a pop-up window or other interruption. Interruptions in FlockFiler are only done in the most severe cases where the data entry is nonsensical and you must correct it (e.g. entering a word where a date should be).
FlockFiler is affordable.
FlockFiler Lite gives you a lot of bang for the buck, and it has capabilities not found in software solutions that are many times its cost. Keeping quality sheep records is very important for successful sheep management not only for your specific farm but also for the general health of the sheep industry. Making FlockFiler Lite very affordable allows everybody to have the opportunity to keep good records.