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Inspector Pro and Base Elements

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#1 MSPJ  enthusiast

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:48 AM

I've been evaluating both Inspector Pro 3 and Base Elements 3. I'm a very small developer, so for me, either of these tools is a significant investment. I've been surprised by the lack of any comprehensive review of a recent version of either of these tools, let alone a thorough comparison. This has made it rather challenging to find my way into either tool.

Both tools are very powerful and would seem very useful. There is a quite a lot of overlap in their capabilities, though the interface design is different. Unfortunately, they both suffer from lack of detailed documentation, tutorials, etc. As a result, the learning curve is steep, and I suspect it would take a user a long time to actually realize the full potential of either tool. Inspector Pro has several video tutorials on specific features, but they are only moderately useful as they are not terribly clear either logically or visually. Better than nothing for sure.

So far, I've found a few small things that are easier to do in one program vs the other -- for instance, finding script triggers is much simpler in Inspector Pro. Finding script steps attached to buttons is easier in Base Elements. I'm sure there are lots of other things like this that I haven't found yet, but unless you specifically need one particular thing, this may not mean that much to you.

As has been said in other places, Inspector Pro uses a more scripted UI - a bit slicker, but less like native filemaker. Pretty much personal preference. Inspector has more reports but I haven't looked at them enough to say how useful they are.

One significant difference is that Inspector pro has some very interesting graphical visualization tools for looking at the schema. However, these are available ONLY in the mac version. I've asked the developer if they will be added to the Windows version - he said they are looking at it, but did not commit that this feature would be added to the Windows version. Both versions cost the same amount and have the same version number, which I find disturbing, as the Mac version clearly has significantly more features. I've seen other apps with a similar difference between the mac and Win version, and they deal with it by keeping the Win version at a lower version number and charging less, which in my mind is more appropriate. I assume that if the Win version is ever brought up to the same level as the Mac version, it will happen as an upgrade which will cost additional money - to get the same features. That bothers me, but that's a personal opinion.

In terms of support - I have asked both developers several questions as I've evaluated their tools. Folks at Inspector Pro have responded to some, but not all. Nick at Goya (Base Elements) has been phenomenally responsive. I give a lot of points for that, as I'm not even a paying customer yet.

Right now, if you're a Mac user, the visualizations in Inspector pro might be a reason to prefer that tool - but you should look at them and see how helpful you find them (I can't tell since I'm not on a Mac).

If you're on Windows, I'd say they both have strengths, and it may come down to what particular capabilities you most need. I wish they'd both work on their documentation. Base Elements definitely wins on the support perspective.

As I continue to evaluate them, I'll post more if I find other helpful differences.

Michael

#2 dansmith65  veteran

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:17 AM

I use and like BaseElements. Did you see this manual? http://www.goya.com....elements/manual

Like you said, Nick at Goya is very responsive. I've posted multiple feature requests or bug reports at http://baseelements.tenderapp.com/ and all, or at least most, have made it into the product.

#3 Lee Smith  I like the v13 layout tools

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:16 PM

If you haven't already reviewed this video, you might find it interesting as Matt Petrowsky reviewed both products. This is free-video so enjoy.

http://www.filemaker...oper-tools.html

Lee





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