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Viena

Please, advice : FM or not FM?

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Hi all!

I'm seeking for advice about if choosing FileMaker will be a wise solution to the following situation. I'd appreciate any help with this, Thanks!

- An international K-12 school. We need a central information system to manage mainly students and academic information, but it will be desirable to include library, inventory, and even accounting information in a future. The idea of purchase a commercial product has been rejected due to some reasons --> we need to develop it

- Number of people with expertise in computers (I mean, professionals): 3

- Number of people with "free" time to work in the project: 1

- Experience of these people in FileMaker Pro: 0

( FileMaker Pro is a rare option for databases systems in our country (we are a MS paradise, for good and bad ) --> zero expertise in the country )

- There is a very simple FM application in use at the moment, to manage the registration and information of the new students. This was provided by one of the Maths teachers, who created it and is the strongest supporter of using FM. This small application has proven to be easy to use and modify, even for the Registrar manager, who is not a high computer skilled person

- We want a system which provides information through a web interface to teachers, students and even parents in a future. So, do we need an unlimited license?. I will have to install a FM server or I could live just with the FM Pro?

Please, any comments or experiences would be very, very appreciated. I am the person who will be developing this system, and so far, I am not sure if push for something that I know well (sql server/asp, etc), or take the challenge of learn FM. But, as far as is not only a personal decision, I must be aware of the risks that we are taking....

Thanks in advance

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Given the information, FileMaker would suite your needs. I have not seen a solution that could not be developed by a single person in Filemaker Pro.

Filemaker is both cross-platform (Macintosh, Windows, Linux, Web) as well as international, in a wide variety of languages.

You will need to purchase FileMaker Pro (client) licenses, Filemaker Server Advanced (which includes the web publishing engine). Filemaker Inc is very easy on schools as far as pricing goes and especially if you are in a new or untapped market.

Filemaker is very easy to learn, the new Filemaker 7 has greatly expanded the relational model to more closely match those of other SQL type engines, while still maintaining the legendary ease of use.

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Welcome to the FMForums!

If you haven't already done so, look into the "Samples" section of the forum for previously constructed solutions to common FM requests. I have learned more by browsing other people's problems and solutions than I ever did reading a book on the subject.

Above all, if you decide to go with FileMaker, keep coming back to the forum. These people can save you days of headache and will usually come up with more than one way to solve a problem.

Paul

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Viena:

Welcome aboard. The great thing about FileMaker is that it is so simple to implement. You can start with the basics, and work your way up. The great thing about the FM Forums is that there are so many people here to help in the learning process.

You don't mention which version of FMP you're using, but if you're using 5.5 or 6, you can stick with it at that level, and yes, you'd have to buy Unlimited if you want to publish to the web (or just via the browser) for a large number of users (which is what your case sounds like.) If you're going to upgrade to 7, you'll have to buy one version of Server or another - I couldn't say which, as I haven't even bothered to look at Server 7, as I haven't had the time this week...

-Stanley

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I was in your position several years ago in our medical office and have been very happy with the choice to develop in FM. Being cross platform has saved us as the hospital runs in the MS world, as do I think 70% of all FM products.

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I find you post interesting as I have developed a rather extensive program for schools and have some idea of what you are looking at as you proceed. The program I developed took care of student and parent demographics including such as names, addresses, telephones, ethicity, sex, lunch status, learning disability info, attendance and tardies using 9 weeks system, discipline tracking, test score tracking, individual classroom printouts, parent handbook info, average daily attendance and membership for all state required groups (Kansas), and much, much more. I found Filemaker to be tremendous for this purpose and have worked with it since about Filemaker 1 or so. I also did some junior high and secondary programs that did much of the above and added teacher input of grades thus producing grade cards, GPA and Honor Roll per nine weeks, etc. Some of my grade programs had grade cards where teachers entered the grades from a Server setup and the attendance flowed automatically into the grade card. I have not worked with FM 7, but since you are just starting, I would think it would be great. You would definitely want to use FM Server if you are going to network. My best advice to you is to set down with all concerned and make absolutely certain that you have agreement as to what types of data you need to track and what kinds of reports you want to produce. It's much easier at the front end than at the back end of the project. I would mention that I used student social security numbers as the relationship keys, but if that is not desirable, filemaker will generate it's own unique student IDs. Best of luck to you if you continue with this. I would be glad to attempt to answer questions that you might have. In addition, I developed on both the Mac and the Windows platforms and have considerable experience in the cross platform experience. Posted this and then thought of something else which is this: Prior to buying FM 7, ascertain what systems you are using. FM 7 will only work on Windows XP or 2000 and on Mac OS X.XXX. If you don't have these systems and can't afford to upgrade your machines (since you are a school, you probably can't), then you should use Developer 5.5 or Dev. 6. I believe Filemaker is still selling FM 6. I have also seen it on several sites such as Outpost, PC Mall, etc.

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