Fabulously easy to use Database software
I use it to manage contacts and expenses and I have built the database that a photo library use to run their business every day! I cannot fault this software!
I first started using this years ago when I ran an art department for a publishers, and wanted something more robust than Excel to manage the data! I instantly fell in love with this humble but powerful software!
Once you get past the "If Then" stuff it's a doddle to set up very complex seeming databases that analyse, your data and build reports for you!
If anything it's pretty minor they could use an idiots walk through to get you over the initial hurdles of understanding logic queries, but even without this, this software is so elegantly simple even a moron like me managed to get by!
The only database you will EVER need
We use Filemaker for all of our database and customer relation needs. It is extremely easy to set up and teach users how to navigate. Much different software integrate very easily with Filemaker. Filemaker is a dream to work with. If you can imagine it you can create it with a FileMaker layout. You can even use it to set up your website. Users can also access your databases via a web interface with no need for a license. Another great feature is the mobile apps which run very smoothly.
Ease of Use
Licensing prices . Fees to obtain newer and better versions.
Software that has turned into ransomware.
You are offering an upgrade price so it shouldn't matter what version you are using, you should be able to upgrade if your software stops working because is no longer supported with the operating system you are currently using.
Excellent software and easy to use. Have been using this software for the last 25 years.
The software has suddenly turned into ransomware. Windows 10 is no longer supported by Filemaker, I now find myself in the position of being forced to buy completely new software in order to access my files. It wouldn't be so bad if I could upgrade but no apparently I can't upgrade from my version to Filemaker Pro 19.
Decent for storing TV and Radio ads
The storage and the automatic saving feature - whenever you type into FM, it is automatically saved without you having to click any additional buttons.
Buggy at very random times - it will load and revert back to the original copy instead of the most up to date. Does not happen often at all, but when it does it's a setback.
Filemaker - no longer user friendly - will be forced to retire it
When I started using the program, I watched two videos created by MacAcademy and was quickly able to do countless things with the program. It is used as my letterhead, for printing labels for mailings, for record keeping as I communicate with hundreds of potential clients, invoicing, contracts and so much more. i used this program as my primary app on my computer. I used it more than MSWord, or a spread sheet. It was my phonebook and diary - now... I hardly ever use it anymore it has become so difficult to deal with and disfunctional.
My wife did the very first PR release in the 1980's of Claris FileMaker when it was first created for market. I am one of the very first users of this database program. i have used the program since it's infancy. It is a strong relational database program able to handle the largest most complex tasks. It is also very versatile. it is sound in its structure, does not crash, does not loss data and once it is programmed it is pretty easy to use.
It has become so complex, that even after paying $1,000 for a three day training on how to use all the latest necessary features to program the the program, I am incapable of doing it myself. It is disgustingly hard to change anything from a users side without being a very computer savvy programmer. This makes it so it is no longer user friendly to me. It is also very expensive to buy the latest upgrades and the older versions eventually become obsolete when you upgrade your operating system. I am disgusted with how difficult it is to design and write a usable layout for myself anymore, and I spent over $4,000 having a programmer do it for me, and it still is not doing what older versions used to do with no problem. It is time for me to export my 20,000 comtacts into a new database that is more user friendly to program and addapt.
Response from Claris
Thank you for your feedback and for being a long time FileMaker user. We are sorry to hear you're finding it harder to use FileMaker than in the ways you have in the past.
We take pride in helping problem solvers like you address real world business challenges using our software.
We are committed to helping you build skills and find success with the platform. As such, a member of our customer success team will continue to work with you directly.
Overall ease of use if familiar with WYSIWYG programming, otherwise can be difficult to manipulate.
We are able to build our IT assets database using this software. We are able to replicate our insurance claim form within it to pull information from our asset record and have another layout for the repairs. We are able to seamlessly find a record, make a new insurance repair record, click a button to email our insurance provider, print mailing and asset labels, and communicate back to the user with just three layouts including the labels. Our previous database, before being rebuilt was 53 layouts but was able to be streamlined to just the three using some slick little boxes that keep a record of repairs on a single device, and by using buttons. This makes filing insurance repair claims much quicker than filling out their excel and PDF forms by hand and also gives us a location to keep our own record.
I like the granularity of the software and the fact that it can be almost limitless in the possibilities. We use this software to keep our IT asset database, and when we lost the member of our team who managed our database to retirement, we found ourself in a quandary the first time it did not function as needed due to a change in our insurance company's requirements. I was able to figure out the software on my own and rebuild our database in simplified form within three weeks, and fully import all of our assets. Layouts are easily modifiable and integrate well into other applications, like mail. Scripts were easily definable through a little trial and error for this novice. Additionally, the fact that multiple people at our organization can be viewing a single record at once is quite helpful, even if only one can edit at a time, which is easily understandable. Overall, a solid product.
In terms of cons, Filemaker, while robust, is not very friendly for new users. It is easy to override data that is not locked, and when items are locked, they tend to not be able to function in scripts as well as unlocked data. Additionally, while the data in fields may be requisite for locking, with the chance of change being a rarity, it is not fragile enough to warrant it be locked and unlocked in layout every time. A protective middle-ground would be nice to be able to implement with the click of a button rather than having to write a script to go "Are you sure?". Additionally, my IT director of several years was unable to rebuild or modify our database without issue despite 16 years of IT experience and many more years than myself with FM. My background in WYSIWYG programs like Adobe GoLive prepared me for their natural, if sometimes clunky, nature. I wish the software was less clunky, and more user-friendly, because it would be great for general IT users.
Complex Relational Databases for Non-Complex Creators.
A simple way to throw a database together in minutes for a mailing list or tracking inventory. With the same ease of use, you can have a complex structure for a relational database. Filemaker has allowed me to create what I need myself. Without hiring or outsourcing, I was able to save a great deal of money.
I've been a user of Filemaker on and off since it's early days as a Claris product. The number one pro in my opinion is the ease in which you can start using Filemaker Databases. The templates out of the gate are well built, have a nice UI and give you the freedom to make them yours easily. Beginners can use the templates to get a taste for the Filemaker development structure while not having to climb a steep learning curve to get an app or database off the ground. Deployment is one click for simple web use and a few more clicks to deploy on a hosted solution like Amazon Web Services. For the expert user, complex systems can be made in a shorter amount of time and a GUI can be in place at the same time. Single developer and teams can all just in can create some thing truly functional and efficient.
The ease of use allows you to really create what you wanted not what you are able to achieve due to a learning curve. Help is readily available in the forums and through their customer support. I have received database files as example of how to fix a problem I was having. They really go the extra mile to get you up and running fast.
There is a vast library of plug-ins from third party vendors that close the gap on development time. Days if not weeks of time can be saved with one plug-in. They don't come cheap so be sure you need it. There is are also a multitude of free add-ons and plug-in to add functionality to your databases.
Licensing is a little steep for a small business or single user. The add-ons are also a bit pricey. When looking at the cost to develop, you really need to budget and make sure you only buy what you need.
Awesome tool for our rentalhouse
I can't imagine an another tool that is so helpful for us. As a developer/user I can easily fix a lot of things on the fly while I am working. Not the best thing, but for small and annoying corrections it's ok. (Like layout fixes)
There are a lot of tutorials and learning materials online. It helps us to save hours and hours every day.
Filemaker gives us a really easy to develop environment. You can start with a blank canvas, sketch up something, use it, and refine it. Even if it called low code, you can do a lot of advanced things.
I wish I can have more help from the support. Our company wants to step up and invenst into this platform. Maybe I should reach out the awesome community instead of our direct contact.
We had troubles connecting different kind of databases to our current solution. You have to really know what are the limitation of the software.
Great Platform For The Right Use Cases
I use it daily for development tasks for a platform that my company runs on. We are always adding features as user requests come in, as well as modernizing legacy features to make use of better ways to accomplish given tasks that available with newer versions of the platform.
Feature set is quite large.
Very easy import/export of data.
Great tool for proof-of-concepts for large systems, or for small to mid-size applications.
Initial login interface is not very customizable. To truly make a custom login, you have to essentially "log in" with a dummy account, go to a specified layout, and then re-log in with the credentials supplied by the user. This opens up potential security holes.
Using the native security virtually eliminates this gap, but leaves little to no customization of initial user experience.
The FileMaker platform is still not easy to replicate asynchronously, and it does not scale all that well to multiple widespread locations without serious effort.
Its a very good software. You can easily developper other programs and have access to your BDD
Its very easy to develop with and I've created many applications for the enterprise that I work for.
You can easily developper other programs and have access to your BDD
Make links between tables and between files its easy
It is posible to create the scripts in order to simplify further jobs
The script must be done in the langue of your OS. I work in France, so mines are in french, that dificults the job when i have to search for help in forums cause the scripts that I've found are allways in english and then i have to translate the syntax. NO ALLWAYS EASY
Simple database software, that can be used for so much more
Organisation, and minimising of repetitive tasks
Filemaker is extremely adaptable. It can be used by a small one-or-two computer setup, right up to a huge conglomerate. The software remains the same, and enables your business to grow without having to keep changing software.
They are constantly updating the extra functionality; with the latest revision there is more possibility for engagement with other applications, enhanced security, and a re-designed interface for PC users.
I have been using FMP for the last 10 years, first as a tool in my business, and latterly as a developer with many companies. It is as robust today as it was when I started, and keeps getting better.
Enabling the use of FIlemaker on a large-scale for a small company is very difficult. Let me explain...
Company A provides security guards to Clubs, Shops, Companies, etc... They have a full-time workforce of 10 employees, and then 400 security personnel on their books as either casual or part-time employees. The 10 full-time employees utilise Filemaker Pro to book jobs for the part-time and casual employees, the software is also used for vetting potential new recruits, invoicing companies, and keeping a history of who has worked where, and any comments from either side about that.
An extra function would be to allow the part-time and casual employees the ability to see part of the Filemaker database, so they could access their upcoming jobs and leave any comments. With iBeacons, a safety system could also be utilised to make sure they are on patrol at a certain time in a given location.
With Filemaker's current structure, each casual worker would need their own license to make this extra functionality easily happen, which of course is prohibitively expensive.
But if that is the only drawback I can think of, then they are doing just fine!
Filemaker has brought to light data service saving hours of data manipulation producing tears of joy
Keeping Data secure and yet available to our employees gives them a sense of in control. We use the data to produce a daily log of their activity and then use that data to bill our customers. It is so much better than trying to find the data from their individual reports and then creating the reports on a monthly basis. Now we simply hit a button and the reports are done.
I love how as a developer we can see our users appreciate the software because it makes their jobs easier and gives them the sense that they can concentrate on other things rather than the record keeping.
Our users are happier and excited about bringing the qualifiers of the data to light so they can justify their work. In an app that tracks trouble requests, a log is created to show all that the tech people do to facilitate repair issues. No longer are those in charge wondering what their subordinates are doing. They can just open the app and see what they've accomplished.
I love that if you can think it, Filemaker can produce it. Given the time to develop motion, you can get the software to repeat that motion over and over. That saves time and time is money. I love how it provides mental exercise while developing but also is intuitive when it comes to building a custom application that the whole business can take advantage. After an introduction to a new "app" built in Filemaker, it isn't long that all departments ask "what could it do for us?" And the answer is "what do you need". It is so versatile. Integration with things like email, Google, Office can lead to great productivity.
The think I like least is the capability in reports to do some word processing capabilities. But it's still a great Form library. But I wish it could insert a page break that would be understood while printing a report.
Filemaker Pro Developer for many years
Filemaker applications can be hosted online (cloud), on premise on Filemaker Server and locally on the Filemaker client. The applications that I've build with Filemaker run for 10+ years already on a Filemaker Server multi site environment and is in use by 25+ people on a daily basis.
Filemaker is regularly updated (major versions usually once a year) which introduces new features. These updates make Filemaker better each round, for instance the latest upgrade introduces sensory perception for IOS devices and a new administration console.
Finally, the development and implementation costs of Filemaker Pro applications are very low compared to enterprise database solutions making it really attractive for SMB. The licensing is server and client based and there is also a subscription based license to be paid annually.
The pros of Filemaker Pro heavily outweigh its cons but here is a few:
- Performance of applications is nowhere as good as that of enterprise solutions, especially when multiple clients from different sites connect to an on premise hosted server.
- Filemaker has its own scripting engine, which is pretty good, but some functions/operations can be a bit difficult to implement due to its limitations which is easier in SQL.
Useful but complicated
It's solving my inventory problem. I ended up using an off shoot of filemaker pro which was organized by a fellow artist for my inventory needs. This was exceedingly useful because she had already sat down and done all the complicated set up work and I'm reaping the rewards.
This has allowed me to organize all the work I have physically in my apartment as well as the work that is consigned. It has helped me keep track of the production costs so that I know how to price the pieces for sale. It has helped me easily pull up the titles when sending out proposals. The list could go on and on. It's a vastly useful software if you can get over the initial hurdle of making the database a reflection of your personal needs.
I regularly use this software for inventory reasons, especially in relation to art. With that said, it allows you to build your own layout and database to adapt it to exactly what you want it to be. When fully adapted it works beautifully. Using it in the context of galleries or other spaces where it has been set up is a dream. It allows relatively easy searches in many categories, allowing you to create very specific, isolated keywords to find things later (such as their price, year created, subject matter, title, name of creator etc). It's very useful.
This software is not easy to set up. I did a trial run at my house, as an artist myself, to see if I could use filemaker for my own inventory needs. Once I had the software downloaded, I found it exceedingly complicated to begin to create the boxes/ qualifiers with which I wanted to be able to add data. I don't consider myself a novice with softwares. I think I'm fairly capable on a computer and even after watching a few YouTube tutorials I ended up giving up on the prospect of using this at home. It seems more relevant for businesses where there is someone well-versed in database softwares to adapt it to yoru specific needs.
The Best Database Software for Small to Medium Businesses, AND for Beginners Starting Out
We have done our timekeeping in FileMaker for over two decades. We developed numerous other business solutions that have had a significant impact on our ability to be profitable and become more efficient at everything we do as a company.
I tried learning databases with SQL and MS Access. It wasn't until I started using FileMaker that I really began understanding how databases work. Although FileMaker is VERY powerful, it caters to beginners in a way that no other software does. The ability to grasp how databases function, how to build them, how to maintain them, and how to develop a solution for yourself, or others, is unmatched. I learned databases with FileMaker and that has helped me understand how SQL works and how databases in general work. All this to say that the thing I like the most about FileMaker is how easy it was to learn along with how powerful it is to develop in. I can make something small for myself, or something huge for a client.
FileMaker's weakest spot has to do with user interface (layout) tools. Although there is a very good selection of controls available, it pales in comparison to what you can get with other software. Even a free version of Visual Studio will provide you with a lot more layout controls than FileMaker. Although this is FileMaker's biggest weakness, it also means that you aren't overwhelmed with options when designing layouts. That feeds into FileMaker's strengths of being easy to learn.
Fantastic prototyping and database system
At my old job at a translation company, I built an entire "company management system" from scratch over the course of 10 years. The database(s) handles everything from employees, customers, timesheets, project management, invoicing, subletting workstations (they also ran a small office hotel).
A lot of functions were built into the databases to offload a lot of manual tasks to the scripts.
Importing Trados project translation data the project management database, allowing the invoicing, translator payments and project data to be easily calculated. This was previously a manual process and calculation which took more than an hour to gather and process. I wrote a parser in Filemaker that parsed the Trados Project data file, which contained all the data anyway. Thus reducing several hours of (manual) labor per project to mere seconds. There were many of such special functions that was offloaded to Filemaker scripts. Also wrote an SMS/texting script (which used Envaya SMS on an android phone), allowing easy contact with the translators from within the Project Management database. Quick and easy communication with the translators without having to look up their phone numbers all the time.
The most powerful part of FileMaker is its scripting platform.
It makes it easy to add many more functions to a database, while requiring a lot less experience with programming than e.g. coding in SQL. Simple IF/THEN/ELSE commands is a godsend, when you need to create a logic for database functions. While making logic statements is also possible in SQL, it is far from easy, and getting data from a field in SQL? You need a lot of commands; in Filemaker, you just select the relevant field or can even make a logic function that selects the correct field.
I could write for hours about the fantastic scripting system...
Only dislike I have, is that I currently do not have the time to delve into some serious database-design and programming, but that is not actually a problem with the software, but stress-levels at work... So unfortunately I do not use Filemaker at my new job, but I remember it fondly from my old job. (and that is a con in my book, that I do not get to use FileMaker on a daily basis). It's not like we do not have tasks that could benefit from a Filemaker Database, but there are just a lot of other tasks that needs doing.
Easy, powerful do it yourself solution
I have used FileMaker for 22 years and am continually impressed with its evolution. It has leap-frogged passed Access as a "home database" and now competes with top-level professional data solutions. FileMaker Go is a pleasure to use. I have built my own Contacts solution that is years ahead of anything in the iOS app store. I wish a customer portal could be built to make dealing with support issues easier. The single biggest request, an Android version, falls on deaf ears; likely because FileMaker is owned by Apple Inc.
The FileMaker platform (desktop, server, cloud, FileMaker Go mobile app) is lightyears in simplicity ahead of Microsoft Access - which I often hear as the "go-to do it yourself" solution. FileMaker is ridiculously simple to use, especially when using a built-in starter solution. FileMaker scales to almost enterprise levels of use. The scripting functionality make creation of custom apps (no longer called "solutions") a very quick affair. FileMaker works with Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and the iOS FileMaker Go App. Pricing is very reasonable considering all it does.
Development of the platform usually runs slower than emerging technologies can be incorporated. There is no Android version of the mobile app. The web app is an acceptable solution for simple solutions, but usually not a good option for apps using complex scripting. Support can be challenging. There is no customer portal to manage keys and payment information.
Excellent database platform. Easy to use and easy to develop for.
After switching to FileMaker Server from another horrible piece of software, we are now able to easily do the development of our databases ourselves. This makes it a very flexible system for us.
FileMaker is incredibly easy to work with, offers generally well documented online help docs, and has a huge and active community of developers you can learn from. We have used FileMaker Server to host about 20 different databases with great results. I don't think I can overstate it enough that it was very easy for us to learn the software. We migrated from an outdated and ill-supported database system where development was only officially supported by the company that made the software. Contrast that with FileMaker where you are expected to do the development yourself because it's so simple. Very glad we switched to FileMaker.
I suppose my least favorite thing about FileMaker Server is that upgrading to a new version requires you to uninstall the current version first. This means you have to take some steps to preserve your server-specific settings before the uninstall/upgrade process otherwise you'll be starting from scratch with your server settings. Some settings can be exported to a file, but for others you have to take screenshots to preserve the settings which is a slight pain. This doesn't affect the databases you've created, but would affect scripts that are scheduled to run from the server.
The best cross-platform rapid application development framework out there!
We have been developing custom B2B apps extensively on this platform for over 15 years and use it internally for our own business.
You can quickly and easily design powerful and sophisticated custom applications that run on Mac, Windows, iOS, and the Web. You develop once and deploy the same base code on all platforms, customizing your forms according to each platform's needs.
Their iOS runtimes take great advantage of Apple technologies like:
the buit-in GPS hardware and external iBeacons for location/geolocation based workflows
the built-in camera for snapping photos and reading 2-D Barcode (barcode scanning)
multi-touch, for gesture-triggered actions and capturing on-screen signatures
Their Server and Cloud products are among the easiest to deploy and maintain.
Their proprietary WebDirect technology is the easiest and fastest way to deploy web-based applications for workgroups that I have ever seen.
Their suite of built-in web-integration capabilities spans the gamut: PHP, cURL, REST APIs, XML, and WebDirect.
Lack of a built-in push notification mechanism, either thru their Servers or via the host OS. Also, their Cloud product could benefit from Load Balancing support.
Powerful database system with easy to learn/use interface, but also powerful development back-end.
The feature I enjoy most is the capability to use the product cross platform. I have a Windows 10 PC running at my desk, I use an Apple MacBook Pro on the road, along with my iPad where ever, and FileMaker gives me the ability to use my database applications on all those platforms.
Import your Excel spreadsheet, place a few fields on a form, within minutes you have created a user interface as a starting point for what can become a very powerful business application. Using the database manager, you can create links between data tables quickly and visually. Cross platform capable! Run the application on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or use a web interface (requires the server product). Once you start using this product, and it becomes an integral part of your business operation, you can either teach yourself the advanced features, or hire a consultant to help you out as there is a very strong developer community. The development language is a easy to learn scripting language.
FileMaker still struggles to gain acceptance in IT departments, and yet it is a legitimate application development environment with very powerful capabilities.
I have used the product as both a user/administrator, and as developer.
The software is easy to use and relatively easy to learn from a developer's standpoint. It has all of the functional capability one needs to develop a useful database application, such as contact/client management or - in my case - management of an art gallery's permanent collection.
What do you do when you outgrow the system or want to migrate to a more robust database system? For me this is the major drawback of Filemaker Pro - there are no tools to help you export a complete file that can be imported into another database. You can import text fields and fields with yes/no on/off switches, but you cannot export images/photographs.
This is a major drawback if you are planning to use the product for a couple of years before migrating to a standard relational database.
Basically, Filemaker Pro files are proprietary files and are not accessible to standard relational database methods, such as SQL. This is okay if (a) you will not outgrow the product or (b) you have no images/photographs included in the database.
I have been a Filemaker Pro user for years
I was able to overcome old paper inventory systems by integrating an invoicing and CRM system together.
I like the fact that I can create almost anything with this platform. from Inventory Management to client Management, Lead Systems, Invoicing and Product Categories. I once automated a product catalog with this software for thousands of products.
Sometimes the scripting between modules was difficult to figure out, but I was able to find help with thie support and forums.
First data base I ever used!
This database has been used at both my jobs over the last 20 years....so it must tried and true to be used for so long.
I was brought into a job where I had to learn this program on my own. With the "help" tab and a little ingenuity I was able to pick up on the concept right away. I was able to build my own forms from the already set up data base. As years went on we had to change the forms and the information we collected and it was a cinch to figure out without the use of the "help" tab. When I moved into a new job I was able to test my knowledge of FileMaker pro in an updated version. As I had the basics down I was able to figure out how to use it for calculations as well as counts and general use of the database. I had to pretty much put together a balance sheet using a data base. It was interesting and fun to figure out.
I don't really have anything I can remember that was irritating to me that I thought should be done differently.
Just-right database management software
I've been using FileMaker Pro as my database management software for over ten years. I'm dug in enough now with it that I don't expect to change, but I also don't want to.
I came in as a total novice, not a coder or any kind of database professional, and was able to build the forms and pages I needed to keep the info on my contacts organized and clear. It's a lightweight program that doesn't use much memory even for a database with thousands of pages, so it can move quickly and sort easily. I'm still discovering functionality years later that I didn't know existed, but happy with what I have already figured out.
I found it annoying that when I recently got a new computer and had to get a new copy of Filemaker, it couldn't read my .fp7 file, so it had to update the file, which then makes it unreadable on the old software on my old computer. Why couldn't they have just made one universal Filemaker file extension type? But that's a minor complaint.
Build your own... everything!
We use FileMaker for everything. We recently installed an SMS system (as an API tagged to SendHub). We can now send messages, track messages, view threads, and analyze usage - all from within our CRM which was built entirely in-house in FileMaker.
FileMaker allows anyone to create anything. Ok , that's a bit of an exaggeration. The truth is, with a little work, you can build most every kind of database you would need - Payroll, CRM, Time Management, Mass Market Email, Inventory, etc. And what you can't build, you can find skilled developers to build for you. Plus there are add-ons galore, and FileMaker is compatible with any system that allows for an API interface.
There are only three things wrong with FileMaker. They are 1) the price, 2) the price, 3) the price. It's not that the price tag is not necessarily hefty, but the pricing structure makes entry difficult for a small business. Yet, FileMaker is IDEAL for small businesses in every other way!