Version: FileMaker Pro 12.0
- Cross-platform; Win/Mac/iOS (one file works on all)
- FileMaker Go for iOS is FREE!
- Friendly learning curve.
- Fastest database dev tool. i.e. Days and weeks months, vs weeks, months, years!
- Searching is extremely fast and flexible.
- Wide array of great template starter solutions in bundle will serve the needs of most beginners.
- FM Pro/Advanced may be used as an ad-hoc db server (9 clients/5 IWP).
- Support for SQL Select queries! (Use free BaseElements plugin by Goya for Insert/Update/Delete)
- FM Server Advanced IWP (Instant Web Publishing) serves 100 virtual web clients with little to no changes to layouts and scripts.
- FM Server/Server Advanced gives you Custom Web Publishing which allows you to write PHP web pages to serve up to 200 web users.
- Native ODBC JDBC allows access to external SQL databases.
- Using Actual Technologies driver(s) allows FileMaker a live connection to most SQL databases (MySQL, Postgre, SQLite, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase).
- FileMaker GO cannot be used to create files (But it is FREE after all!)
- Learning relational database theory and filemaker training should be a serious consideration for complex solutions.
Searching related data should be scripted carefully to prevent decrease in search performance or SQL should be used as an alternative.
- FM Server/Server Advanced sweet-spot is <=250 users. Advanced removes this cap, but good hardware and good database design becomes important. HD and RAM I/O are key, so SSDs and good RAM can help a LOT. Using multiple servers and mirroring/syncing data to distribute the load is preferable for very large deployments.
- File size is limited to 8TB. But if you only store 1 table in a file, (server allows unlimited files) 8TB is quite a large.
- FM Server was never designed to be a web server to thousands of users at a time.
- Filemaker Pro should not be used purely as a front end to an external SQL database due to performance/load issues.
One of the most amazing features of FileMaker is this: Adding new fields to existing table schema, changing field names, table names, layout names, etc is free (wont break anything) since everything is referenced via internal ids under the hood. As long as you are not using literal strings to refer to anything, you are golden.
Using the Actual Technologies drivers, allows you to use FileMaker's ESS technology to add External SQL Sources directly to your FileMaker relational graph. You can even add additional 'shadow' calculation fields to the filemaker side of the external SQL tables to make external SQL tables even more useful. Example: A calculation field could be created to combine all name and address fields into a single result.
3rd party plugins allow you to go far beyond what FileMaker is normally capable of. Example: web services, REST, Ajax, Ruby, Etc are all possible. You can even tie PBX phones into FileMaker.
Great community support: FileMaker Technet, FM Forums.
Other Dev Resources: filemakerstandards.org, modularfilemaker.org
Unless your needs are complex from the start, the learning curve for FileMaker is very friendly compared to anything else out there.
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