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Filemaker Comparison


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I would like to get some insight from the community on the power and usability of Filemaker from both a developer and end user. I officially come from a Microsoft background, so I know the scripting language, the interface layout. I am more inclined to use Access over Filemaker but I have heard good things in regards to Filemaker compared to Access.

I need to do a couple of 'advanced' tasks. I would like to check if these things are possible through Filemaker.

I need to have an automated sync into the database drawing data from MYOB. which i assume is quite possible.

I would like to link into Outlook.

I may need to link into a content managment system (CMS) further into development.

I have had a play around with the 8.5 trial and found it difficult to use. I prefer a developers enviroment to develop within and filemaker seemed to force and end user interface upon me. Also the layout designer seemed difficult to use. My question here is if that is across to the full version or if the trial is missing some of the features?

I am also interested within the online community and support available through out development. I primarily depend on the internet and an online community to learn and develop off. I know that Access, and especially its scripting language, is mature and that the internet hold a wealth of knowledge. I wonder if filemaker has an active internet community and how easily knowledge is passed around?

This seems to have turned out as quite a large post. If I could get some insight into filemaker and it's community this would be valuable in making further decisions. Thankyou Brendan

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I may need to link into a content managment system (CMS) further into development.

Assuming its sql based, should be fine, with FM 9 it integrates pretty seamlessly as an ODBC source, just like with access. Difference is you don't have to deal with any SQL in FM.

I would like to link into Outlook

Will probably run into some issues there unless you're willing to look at using a plugin. Then again it depends on what specifically you wanted to do with outlook...

I need to have an automated sync into the database drawing data from MYOB

Assuming MYOB is ODBC compliant which i believe it is you shouldn't have any issues with this.

I have had a play around with the 8.5 trial and found it difficult to use. I prefer a developers enviroment to develop within and filemaker seemed to force and end user interface upon me. Also the layout designer seemed difficult to use. My question here is if that is across to the full version or if the trial is missing some of the features?

1) 9 is out now and it's more fun - boasts SQL integration (i know access has had it for ever) and some other stuff - look at the FM 9 section.

2) Unfortunatley that is the interface you will be forced to deal with. I would actually say fortunatley for the most part because I for one find it much easier to use than Access which I am forced to deal with from time to time.

3) I think you will simply find that FileMaker does some things very differently to access and it may not be immediatley apparent. Maybe go into more depth as to what you can't get a grip on exactly?

I am also interested within the online community and support available through out development. I primarily depend on the internet and an online community to learn and develop off. I know that Access, and especially its scripting language, is mature and that the internet hold a wealth of knowledge. I wonder if filemaker has an active internet community and how easily knowledge is passed around?

1) Unfortunatley FileMaker support from FileMaker Inc is extremely lacking unless you're a huge client - don't expect help from them. Then again you probably don't expect Microsoft to pick up the phone and help you out with developing your access DB.

2) I too do a lot of learning myself and rely on the web as a primary source of information. I think you'll find that on this forum specifically (take a look at some of the responses) most of the people are very nice, and intelligent (except for maybe Harry and Ender :) jk jk) and usually go out of their way to help each other.

3) Stuff may be a bit quieter this week as they're all off to Devcon, but still - take a look at some of the posts.

Anyway, hope that gives you some kind of overview, I forgot what i was talking about half way down the page, so if I didn't make much sense or forgot to cover something, lemme know.

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Hi genx,

:iagree::goodpost:

Hi [color:orange]independentCreations, and welcome to the Forum.

FileMaker and Access are different enough, that you will have a learning curve. There are some excellent after market books on FileMaker (see the resource section for book, video, etc. that have been recommended by the members). You are not the first one that has looked at moving from Access to FileMaker, and if you were to do a search for [color:blue]+Access +FileMaker, you should find plenty of praise, and bellyaching about their move. Just remember, it isn't Access, and it isn't going to change to Access, so you are going to have to get use to doing it the FileMaker way.

BTW, I think you will find the Forum one of your better Resources.

Lee

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MS Access is very powerful if you are an expert in VBA and SQL. I am new to FM but when I first used it I thought it was too simple. I have since seen A full commercial Accounting system written in FM so it must be able to do complex stuff.

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Hey Independent and fellow FileMaker-Ins,

I started in the business using Omnis, Fox Pro and 4D all with strong languages and frankly thumbed my nose at this upstart database called FileMaker. The name itself just screamed “To simplistic for prime-time”. Back then a company owned FileMaker called Nashieba. I probably spelt it wrong and I’m going back to somewhere around 1985 I think. Plus, how good can a database be without having to read page after page of code right?

In 1992 I selected FileMaker as my development tool of choice and in 1997 my exclusive choice. I made this choice for a number of reasons but primarily it came down to two.

1. Development time.

2. FileMaker was making the right decisions on functionality and data engine characteristics.

I could elaborate on those points but no need to further bore everyone. I admit it’s difficult for me to be unbiased when it comes to other database platforms. I think the only thing I really want to say is FileMaker has never let me down. Sure, I wanted them to give me this and that as a developer and was disappointed when I didn’t get them. But the one thing they always gave me and what’s most important is a “Rock Solid Platform” that I can count on for me on my clients. As for Access, it always felt to me that it was trying to split the difference between FileMaker and Fox Pro and kind of failed at both! Maybe unfair, just my overview.

Yes, I get calls every once and awhile about my selection of FileMaker and had one just the other day. This irate lady called screaming at me saying “You’re such an obnoxious idiot”! I mean what can you do or say about something like that? I just said “OK Mom I'll call you later”… :)

I will now tell you in advance it’s probably a good time to stop reading this post because it has absolutely nothing to do with FileMaker and everything to do with Genx. Thought you slid one buys us didn't you?

Genx Said: Most of the people are very nice, and intelligent (except for maybe Harry and Ender : jk jk) and usually go out of their way to help each other.

That’s just so wrong on so many levels… First of all anyone who really knows Ender and me would never confuse us with “Nice and Intelligent”! : And to those who say “these guys are passive aggressive, chronic and manifested by sullenness”. I say it’s mean spirited. True, but mean spirted! The worst thing about this unprovoked attack is the inclusion of my close personal friend Ender. Sure he’s inarticulate, insufferable, with little lucidity regarding FileMaker. But he’s my friend! :P

Genx I have only one word for you… Dingo! :laugh2:

Harry

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Lol, "Dingo ate me baby". Was kind of hoping I'd slip that one by while you guys were away :) .

Define# Dingo: "A Finnish rock band formed around 1984 which fused Finnish melancholy with catchy pop melodies. Dingo's hit number one was Autiotalo. It soon became very popular. They even formed a separate youth culture in Finland, the Dingos. The craze however lasted only a couple of years and Dingo broke up in October 1986. It regrouped in 1998 and continues to perform occasionally. ..."

I perform when I need to alright!? It just happens that I don't have to perform more than occasionally lol!

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Hello Independent. I'm also a Microsoft Access and SQL veteran. You'll definitely find some architectural and usability differences when developing in FileMaker.

First, the trial version of FM Pro 8.5 is the full standard version, so you're not missing any features.

Architecturally, things are somewhat jumbled up between the data layer, the presentation layer, and the programming layer. For example, if you're trying to pull some data from a table, you have to switch to Find mode and you have to go to an appropriate layout on which to perform the Find. You can't just run a SELECT statement "out of thin air" as in VBA/SQL.

Also, in order to create a total/subtotal field in a report, you have to have create an actual summary field in the database table itself. This database field is used as the total field on the report layout. And, it seems necessary to use global database fields often in order to hold values for scripting purposes.

I'd say that table occurrences are similar to Access views, but as far as I know, you can't create a table occurrence on joined tables.

I've found it difficult to implement data normalization (ID field, name field) because the existing picklist feature doesn't really support it, so I wind up having to use a hidden field and a button action, and even then it doesn't work right in Find mode.

For development, note that you cannot easily copy layouts from one database file to another. You have to open the layout in your dev file, open the layout in the production file, delete the elements in the production layout file, then copy and paste the elements from your dev layout file. This is really tedious!

The Advanced edition of FM Pro can't copy layouts either, but at least you can copy table structures and data back and forth.

If you have to start learning FileMaker, I recommend the FM Pro 8 Missing Manual book by Coffey & Prosser.

Good luck

David

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I've found it difficult to implement data normalization (ID field, name field) because the existing picklist feature doesn't really support it, so I wind up having to use a hidden field and a button action, and even then it doesn't work right in Find mode.

There are plenty of techniques to get around this. Perhaps most prominant is the "hidden field" technique.

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