I have been using Filemaker for a number of years here at work, but want to take our department database to the next level.
Until now, we have been working with one database that we either copy to our desktops, modify and return to the server, or sometimes opening multi-user mode, which has generally been extremely slow. I assume that if I were to use Filemaker Server, things would improve on the speed front, but don't know for sure.
What I want to do, and want to be sure Filemaker can't do it before I abandon it, is create a custom application that uses a database as the backend. I don't want to work in Filemaker anymore, but instead want to write a program to enter and manipulate data in the database. I get the sense from the filemaker website that one can program Java front ends, but I think I'd to try and write my program using xCode, as I don't think Java will be robust enough to do what I need to do. Is this possible?
Also, I want to use a client/server model, where individual users can work on the database locally, without network connections, and then come back later and sync the changes they've made in with the server version of the database. I can't quite figure out how to make filemaker do this.
And, maybe it's just me, but I just can't wrap my head around Filemaker's relationship paradigm. I know a little Access and Openbase, and like their use of tables with primary keys. As far as I know, multiple database files have to exist to do the same thing in Filemaker? Why? How do people deal with tens of filemaker files? Do they create packages, or move the files together in folders, if they need the database to move from computer to computer?
Maybe I need to learn more of the advanced function of Filemaker. I really like scriptmaker, and notice that Openbase doesn't have anything near as friendly. Are there any really good, deep books on the advance functions of filemaker? Websites?
I'd like to stay with the database we have been using for years, but worry that it's not robust enough to do what we need to do.
Any help would be appreciated.