It wasn't yet a FileMaker Pro–based solution. That would come later — specifically, in 1999. That was the year Rutgers submitted a federal grant proposal to develop a similar software tool for use by partner organizations in New York City — the East Harlem Tutorial Program, Interfaith Neighbors, and the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, all organizations which share the Student Support Services' Program goal of helping at–risk–students to excel. "In the original proposal, the application was conceived as a Windows server–based application accessible only by machines running the Windows operating system," recalls project associate Earl Preston Thomas. "The decision to develop the application as a server–resident, web based system that operated through a web browser was made on the recommendation of the web software developer, Digital Fusion Inc."
FileMaker Pro was identified as the database of choice over applications such as Microsoft's Access because of FileMaker's unmatched user–friendliness, power, and flexibility — and cross platform versatility
Earl Preston Thomas, Project Associate, Rutgers University Student Support Services
FileMaker Pro soon emerged as the driving force behind the tool, for reasons both practical and economic. "FileMaker Pro was identified as the database of choice over applications such as Microsoft's Access because of FileMaker's unmatched user–friendliness, power, and flexibility — and cross platform versatility," Earl explains. The Rutgers team turned to developer Nancy Fedder of Fedder Solutions to clone the basic data structure of the original Rutgers application — and to train the three partner organizations in the ins and outs of the software.