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Help me sell FileMaker Pro!

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Hi. I administer a MS Access database at my place of work. I really wanted to give FMP a good shot (for many reasons... I'm an apple user, I like how FMP handles all multimedia files, accounts/privledges setup, etc.). So I went out and purchased Dev 7 (with my own money... $500, now that's dedication to apple!). I have been toolin' around with it for about two weeks and I have to say it's getting harder and harder to sell it to my boss.

The main sticking points are as follows:

(1) You can only have five internet / intranet connections

(2) I read somewhere that you can't deploy run-time apps over a network (which to me, defeats part of why you want a run-time app).... I have different physical locations I wanted to pipe into one.

(3) I see that certain functions (namely spell check) isn't availble on the web. This is like the final kick. That means I'll have to try to talk my boss into spending money for individual licenses on every computer.

(4) The rest of the problems are just getting adjusted to the basic differences in FMP and MS Access

I am, however, really, really impressed with the accounts and privledges setup in FMP. Instead of making a 'manager's copy' and 'line worker's copy' (which I currently do now). You can just make one copy and set what you want for who you want.

The bottom line is that I thought I could actually cut costs by deploying it over an intranet, but with only part of the features available on the intranet, it doesn't seem worth the cost to switch with having to buy individual copies across the board.

I like FileMaker Pro, and like computing in general, there has to be more options than just one (microsoft). But if they really want to be competitive, I feel they have to be a little more user and cost friendly to even have a shot. Afterall, Access comes bundled with MS Office... FMP is a stand alone product that is not cheap.

Can anyone give me suggestions / hope of selling this to my boss... or should I just stay in my Microcrap Access world?

Thanks much,


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Filemaker is ways too costly smile.gif I think you should stay with Access. In a way, Access will give you more flexibility and you will miss SQL after you moved to filemaker. Access also is so much cheaper for a small to mid-size business environment because you can use it with PHP (or any other languages) to publish on the web.

It's a different story if you get the filemaker advanced server edition smile.gif. In my opinion, moving from Access to Filemaker is like moving backward :

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Hi Vandy,

Now that you have heard from H.P. (would that be Hewlett Packard?) , grin.gif you might want to do a search of this Forum for "Access", and you will find a number of thread comparing Access to FileMaker, and the Pros and Cons to such a move. Also, as you might expect, FMI has a few things to say on the subject, here is a reference to an in infoworld article

And, be sure to go to White Papers - Archive section about mid-way down the page




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I think Lee pointed you in a good direction regarding the while paper. As to H.P. response about being cheaper for a small to mid-size business I would have to disagree with. The last white paper TCO paper that I saw from the Aberdeen group indicated the exact opposite and that is before FM7. As to HPs point about PHP; take a look at resources from FMWebschool and their Visual FX.php. The fact of the matter is the FM is moving toward not away form open source and industry standards which I believe will be of great value to those deploying on the web. Perhaps if you posted a few more details about what you are currently doing with Access we could all chime in and help overcome what could be viewed as being "undoable" in FM and related technologies.

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H.P. is the short-cut for my name, Ha Pham smile.gif


With the previous version of Filemaker 7, it might be cheaper to deploy solutions for small to mid-size business. For small to mid-size solutions, I think the development time in both the previous and current Filemaker version is shorter comparing to non-filemaker solution.

WIth regards to pricing, Filemaker 7 is much more expensive compared to Filemaker 6 with respect to deploying multi-users solution. To be able to use PHP or other languages with Filemaker, you have to purchase Filemaker Advanced Server. That means if the solution is to be published to the web, there's almost no alternative except purchasing the Advanced Server edition. You can still use the built-in Instant Web Publishing, but the that feature has ways too many limitations.

If the solution is not web-based and to be shared in the internal network, it still is very expensive. Assumming the company has more than 5 users, you would have to purchase 1. the volumn license of FIlemaker pro (cheaper than purchasing individual license if there are more than 10 users) and 2. the server edition to host the solution. If there are many users in the company, it is cheaper to go with Advanced Server edition and host on the Web (which most likely you would use PHP or other scripting languages to expand functionalities).

Moreover, it is expensive if you need additional functionality that is not built-in in Filemaker. Most likely you would have to either write or purchase a plug-in to get the additional functionality. It is more difficult to write plug-in in Filemaker compare to other solutions because Filemaker doens't have the built-in programming language for you to do that. There are not many free plug-ins for filemaker, while there are many free codes for languages such as PHP/VB/etc... that achieve the same functionality as filemaker plug-ins

If I have to develop small to mid-size single-user or non-webbased cross-platform (Mac & Win) solutions, I will definitely go with Filemaker. Otherwise, it is cheaper and more flexible to go with MySQL/PostgreSQL/Access with PHP/Python/ASP(VB)/JSP.


Ha Pham.

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Vandy here,

I think H.P. has illustrated two points of my concern extremely well. (1) FMP's web publishing feature, while nice, lacks in many functions. (2) The lack of good web publishing capabilities means purchasing many user licenses and (3) The only viable alternative is the very expensive Server Advanced... which still doesn't address the lack in function.

And Ken, here is a short run down of what I am doing and what I want to do. I work in a security based company where we log daily activities and use various reports. Limited calculations, basically flat file stuff. However, daily reports of many kinds have to be generated. Currently I use MS Access (NOT ON THE INTERNET) and have two separte sites running separate applications. Each site has 5 to 10 users. Our company seeks to expand to a third site with the same amount of terminals. All in all that's like 30, maybe 40 terminals. I think I will actually have to keep all three databases separate from one another as I am not that experienced to handle something that big.

I have about 10 to 15 tables in each database, with the biggest table handling about 75000 enteries per year. I want to incorporate picture/videos as well.

So there it is, a short description of what I have.

What I want to do, or thought about doing was switching to FMP for the media-friendl(er) applications that FMP offers. I also thought about deploying it over the internet to save cost of license, but as H.P. pointed out there are some lacking abilities with the instant web publishing (no spell check!).

What do you think.

As a footnote. I don't know much about hard core programming...limited VB., so all that language talk is over my head or not important to me (yet). Like I said, my stuff is basic flat file work.

Thanks Vandy

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If you need help selling FileMaker to your company, go to FileMaker.com, find your regional rep, and give them a call. They will be happy to support your efforts.

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