10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 19, 2015 2:29 AM by GuyStevens

    What do I need to buy?



      What do I need to buy?


      I just sent this to pre-sales support. I'd also be interested to hear what this community would advise (it may be less expensive?):


      I’m going to need to replace our databases since Filemaker dropped support for Bento (and I'm finding it doesn’t work properly on Yosemite). We are a marketing agency (myself and my wife is all, just the two of us).

      We each have a late model iMac in our office, a third iMac is in the house and there's also a MacbookPro Retina in the office which we take out with us sometimes if we are away from the office for extended periods. The three iMacs run Mavericks, the Macbook Yosemite. We each have an iPad (latest iOS). Everything is on the same network.

      We currently run Bento on all the Macs and the iPads.

      The iMac in the house holds the databases and acts as a kind of informal server. There are five libraries:

      A web/FTP access library with 427 records, each record has a single password protected field (same password for each).

      A document filing library with 264 records (where things are in the filing cabinets)

      A quotes library with 1773 records

      An advertisements library with 1358 records

      A file archive library (we archive all our files to DVD and this tells us where they are) with 3881 records.

      These are all simple flat file databases. They were all initially created in AppleWorks (or even Omnis before that) but I had to move them to Bento about three or four years ago after Apple dropped AppleWorks and it wasn't going to work when we did a hardware & OS upgrade.

      Currently the iMac in the house holds all five. We use Bento's 'share' feature so that we can each view and update the 'master' libraries from all three iMacs. (We can no longer do this on the MacBook because the 'share' function doesn't seem to work on the Yosemite driven Macbook Pro but we would like this functionality restored).

      We also have the libraries synced to the iPads (although it suits our purposes having them 'view only' from the iPads so we don't sync back to the 'master' databases).

      When we are away we take a copy of the databases with us either on the iPads and/or on the MacbookPro, in case we need to refer to them (on the Macbook we just export/import a Bento backup for this, the iPads are already synced).

      This setup is perfect for our purposes. However we have to migrate because of Filemaker's decision to kill Bento.

      So we're being forced into an alternative solution, probably based on Filemaker (I've been searching since the Bento announcement but haven't found a more suitable alternative, including Tapforms). We would like the same accessibility to our data Even if it's done in a different way. (I've often thought a 'Google Drive' type cloud-based solution would be perfect but there just doesn't seem to be anything like this out there for simple databases; not that I can find anyway.)

      I need to know what we need to buy and how much it will cost for the software. I should be able to set it up myself, I'm not into code but am able to get my head around configuring most things Mac.

      We are, of course, very small, the databases are simple and we have a limited budget.

      Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

        • 1. Re: What do I need to buy?

          In the Filemaker world you would need to decide how you want to host your file.

          If you only need it to be available in your internal network then Filemaker Pro is enough and you can share your file using Filemaker Pro with your other devices on your internal network.

          You can try this out by downloading a demo version of Filemaker.

          If you want to access your Filemaker file from outside your network, and so over the internet from literally anywhere in the world, you would need to host your file on Filemaker Server. That is a separate program that needs to be installed on a dedicated computer that's always on.

          You can install a server yourself or use Filemaker Server hosting from a hosting company.

          Then you need Filemaker Pro on all the computers and Filemaker Go on the iPad.

          If you want to connect with multiple Filemaker GO and or Web Direct sessions then you also need to buy "Concurrent Connections."

          I imagine this is all a little bit lofty for a small company.

          If you want to learn how to make a simple Filemaker Contacts database you can follow my free course on Udemy:


          If you open your file in Filemaker Pro on your laptop then you could share it with other people in your network.

          You could then also take your Filemaker file with you when you go.

          But that moment, the other person can't access the database. Because it's no longer on the same network.

          If you want to know the price, go here to calculate what all of this will cost:

          I hope this helps.

          • 2. Re: What do I need to buy?

            Hi Bob,

            First word of advice: don't purchase license(s) right away if you can tough it out a while.  The current version 13 is getting long in the tooth and will probably be replaced sooner rather than later.

            Secondly: get a least one FileMaker Pro Advanced license.  It costs more than FileMaker Pro but has several useful features for developers. (Yes, based on your own description, you are a developer.)

            Thirdly: Maximize the iPads.  FileMaker Go—the client on iPads and iPhones—is free whereas each Mac requires a FileMaker Pro ($$$) — unless you buy a FileMaker Server license and use WebDirect ($$$$).

            Finally: FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Pro Advanced can act as an ad-hoc server for up to 5 clients (Mac's and iPads/iPhones).  This means that each iPad and Mac can access and edit the database records on your iMac.  There are many who will strongly advise you to use FileMaker Server instead because of the many features (like auto backup, etc.) that it provides.  But Bento didn't have these either, did it?


            • 3. Re: What do I need to buy?

              Finally: FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Pro Advanced can act as an ad-hoc server for up to 5 clients (Mac's and iPads/iPhones).

              Careful, that "5 clients" includes using the computer on which you are hosting the database as one of the clients. The real limit is up to 4 other devices...

              • 4. Re: What do I need to buy?

                This is great information, thank you. Sharing the databases locally is all that is needed. As you say a hosted system is out of our league. So if I go for the former, given that we have four Macs between the two of us, how many copies of FileMake Pro am I going to need to buy?

                • 5. Re: What do I need to buy?

                  Either with or without FM Server you still are using a hosted system.   The database will be hosted on either FMP or FMS.  Another note, FMP does not sync automatically. You will have to build your own sync system or buy a third party system.  GoZync is a good option for FMP but can be pricey. http://www.seedcode.com/filemaker-sync-gozync/   360works has MirrorSync but it is for FMServer and there is FMEasySync which is free but it also requires FMServer.

                  If you have an internet connection the devices / computer can share the database and read and write to the main database using FM sharing.   If you put a separate copy of the database on the devices then the data will have to be synced back to the host database.   You can export your data and then import into the main database, but it is more trouble to do it this method.

                  You can use a service such as dropbox to  move your files around to and from devices. Care has to be used because you can end up with multiply copies of your database with different data.

                  The user license agreement states you need a license for each machine the software is installed.  You can have up to 4 additional clients connected at the same time (Concurrent Users) to the hosted database for a total of 5 users.  If it is just your wife and yourself connecting then you should have but two user connected at the same time, so as stated above FMP should be enough to host the database.

                  • 6. Re: What do I need to buy?

                    Thanks Stacy, but I'm afraid you lost me. There's going to be one machine holding the data. There will be five little databases on that machine (or in Bento speak five libraries as described in my first post).

                    Two of us (that's all there is) will want to view and edit the data from whichever machine we happen to be at. There are four machines in total - including the one where to databases will reside, plus a couple of iPads (which are for viewing the data only).

                    I still can't work out how many licenses I'm going to need. Also, when you speak of 'clients' do they use a different application or do they have FMP too?



                    • 7. Re: What do I need to buy?

                      Hi Bob,

                      You can share multiple files at once but you might be better off putting those 5 tables into 1 Filemaker File.
                      Then you can make a little menu to point to the different layouts.

                      What you do then is open that Filemaker File, with Filemaker Pro, on one of your computers.

                      Then you share that file, that's a setting in Filemaker Pro, and then up to 4 other devices can open that file over the network.

                      This means they will all be working on the same opened file and so all changes are made in one and the same file.

                      If those other devices are computers then they all need copies of Filemaker Pro. So 4 computers, is four licences.
                      You might be able to cheat here and buy one license per person. But one license can't be connected to the same hosted database file at the same time.

                      I don't even know if it's possible to use the same license on multiple computers. I never tried that.

                      But if you use an iPad or iPhone you can download Filemaker Go for free and use that to access the database.

                      So that would be one license of Filemaker Pro less.

                      • 8. Re: What do I need to buy?

                        I was speaking in general terms, of course FMP can host more than one database at a time.    I'm not sure where you got lost.
                        FMP does not have syncing built-in to sync databases.  FM has networking built in where a remote computer or device can connect to a hosted database. Syncing is where you have two copies of the same database on two different device, and then you transfer the data between the two databases so they have matching data.   I understand this could be done in Bento.  In FM you will have to have another program or design your own and it can be difficult for a beginner.

                        Sharing and Syncing is two different things. 

                        FM user's agreement states the you need a copy of FM for each computer that FM is installed on.  That would be four copies for four machines.  The CD will allow you to install FM more than once.  As Guy Stevens states you can not connect to a shared database from other copies of FMP that has the same user license.  I have a mac with windows installed and I used the same license key on the Mac and Windows version on this machine.  

                        FM sales department will be happy to go over all the options if you give them a call.  They run deals different times of the year and they also have a annual license instead of the full purchase that may be more reasonable for your budget.   I have not used but I understand you get the newest version that comes out with your annual license and FM has been coming out with a new version about every 1 1/2 to 2 years.   

                        • 9. Re: What do I need to buy?

                          I had a very comprehensive answer from my sales enquiry from Filemaker:

                          "If you are interested in the FileMaker software for your situation we would recommend to look into 2 FileMaker Pro individual licenses (1 for your wife and 1 for yourself).
                          Every individual license of FileMaker Pro can be installed on 2 computers for the same user as long it is not used a the same time, which could be an option when you want to work at home with the database for example

                          Then you will have options to setup FileMaker network sharing with other FileMaker clients (with each other and the iPad (possibly iPhone?).
                          FileMaker Pro offers sharing where you can setup 1 FileMaker Pro license as the host of the database, so other FileMaker 'clients' (FileMaker Pro (separate license required per user) on Mac/Windows and/or FileMaker Go (application for iPad/iPhone which is available for free through the Apple App Store) can connect to the shared database and use it (FileMaker Pro sharing can handle up to 5 connections).
                          The following online links explain more about this functionality:"

                          It went on to synchronisation, migration from Bento, pricing, downloading the trial etc. I was very impressed.

                          So it's going to cost me around £500 to purchase the necessary software which is less than I feared.

                          Tapforms is now also a consideration because it is (shortly) going to offer synching via Dropbox (rather than iCloud which would have been a problem because we use separate iCloud accounts).

                          So I have some testing and evaluation to do but am feeling more positive than I once was about having to move these databases.

                          Thanks for your input and advice.



                          • 10. Re: What do I need to buy?

                            If you want to learn how to build a Filemaker database you can follow this free course:

                            Create a simple contacts database

                            Or check out my Youtube channel.