1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 21, 2016 10:19 AM by jbante

    FileMaker & Other Programming Languages


      Hello all,


      I'll keep my question short. How many of you have quit doing FileMaker development to try out another programming language or environment, but then returned to FileMaker because you preferred it? The majority of my career has been in FileMaker development, but it's easy to look at other languages like Java, PHP or C# as superior because of their flexibility and power. However, the grind of coding in those languages seems very tedious. Learning those other languages is appealing because of their opportunities, but I'm having a hard time giving up the simplicity of FileMaker. What has made you stick with FileMaker or come back to it later? Do you ever regret not learning a full programming language?





        • 1. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

          I haven't left Filemaker but I have try out other languages.  I was a FoxPro developer before I started with Filemaker, but I use XOJO, LiveCode, and Java to name a few.  No reason to limit your self to just one, it depends on the job.   

          • 2. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

            If you had a choice between a FileMaker job or let's say a Java job, what would you choose?

            • 3. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

              It is always good to have other tools in your belt, there is a lot to learn from other environments.  But to me it is not a "this OR that" question.

              There is never going to be one tool that is good for all jobs, so the more tools you have the more jobs you can tackle....

              • 4. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                restored18 wrote:


                Do you ever regret not learning a full programming language?


                FileMaker is Turing complete, so in that very important sense it isn't any less "full" than any other development environment. Anything another programming language can do, FileMaker can do, too. It may have to be done differently, or the performance characteristics may be different, or it may take more or less effort to do it with one set of tools vs. another; but it can be done, and considering these kinds of tradeoffs is by no means unique to comparisons involving FileMaker.


                I'm considering switching to other tools, but not for any reason that has anything to do with the tools. I'm concerned more with the market of problems customers are willing to pay me to solve. FileMaker Inc.'s marketing positions FileMaker as a tool for quick & easy solutions. FileMaker is also useful for problems that only have hard solutions; but that's not the marketing focus. Most customers come looking to have that promise of easy solutions fulfilled, and most consultancies are happy to share that focus. If the solution is hard, 90% of customers and 80% of consultancies are happy to leave that problem unsolved. There's plenty of value in this approach for a lot of people, but it isn't for me. FileMaker projects are systematically understimulating for me. I can solve interesting problems with FileMaker, and I can earn a living with FileMaker, but I haven't found a way for those to be the same thing.


                I'm not quite sure what next thing I'd jump to, yet. Xojo has the same problems for me as FileMaker does (at least superficially): it's marketed as quick & easy. I don't need programming itself to be hard — full-time assembly programming is not on the table as an option — but anything that opens the conversation with "quick & easy" is likely going to have a community with the wrong motivations for me. Java certainly doesn't share that, but Java is still mostly used for the same kinds of problems as FileMaker, just perhaps at different scales. Web development is a very large and diverse world, but most of it still has similar problems. There are very few web development jobs where the economics incentivize focusing on hard problems, and fewer still that you could get as a switcher. There's a lot of activity in the web community about making it easier and easier to solve more and more boring problems; and as long as there's money in it, good for them. The Web does at least value finding optimum solutions more than FileMaker, so that's some promise. I'm focusing my attention where the communities focus more attention on the problems being solved than the tools used to solve them. Python and C (including ++, but not #) are solid candidates. Swift will probably get there soon enough, too. I'm open to other suggestions.

                • 5. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                  no regrets, as i've learned several full programming languages. I prefer the ability to be creative (UX/UI) and coding at the same time. That's what keeps me in FileMaker. That is also the reason I work in the web world (creativity and coding). Truly a treat when FM meets web.



                  • 6. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                    I programmed in Filemaker for years then because of limitations switched to Servoy for a couple of projects. More complex and much more difficult to use .  . . but, you can do virtually anything without being limited by Filemaker functionality.


                    The problem with Servoy is that is an Eclipse plug-in  and also heavily reliant on the several versions of Java. So every year there is a new version that requires multi-thousands of changes in your code that must be made caused by the several platforms that it uses. It always seemed that a change in Apple's Java, or Sun's version would break something. Then massive scrambling to get a work-around functioning.


                    It is many times faster to program an application in Filemaker if you can work within its functionality.  And each year FM adds some additional functionality.FM also does a great job of keeping your old code functioning after an upgrade without massive rewrites. (most of the time)


                    I'm a big fan of Fliemaker as you might guess.

                    • 7. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                      jbante wrote:

                      Python and C (including ++, but not #) are solid candidates.


                      Very nice post, Jeremy!  Thanks.


                      Being a C# guy myself, I'm intrigued though with your exclusion of C# and I'd like to know your thoughts there.

                      • 8. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                        Filemaker is much easier put something together but it may not meet all the client needs so as Wim stated the job may require more than one tool.

                        • 9. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                          Sounds like you want to start developing on hardware.  I've done some firmware (bluetooth mainly), and it surprisingly easy yet you do get into good nuts and bolts optimisation at a really low level.  Got something you want to invent?

                          But I love Filemaker for the things you find boring.  I like the programming but mostly I like the big thankyou's and watching people shave hours off of their daily routine by automating their mundane tasks.

                          • 10. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                            Thanks for the response Jeremy. I agree that it's easy to focus on the tools and forget that the heart of programming is solving a problem. If the problem being solved is boring, then the tool will be as well. I've had my eye on Swift as well and have thought about doing some training in that language.

                            • 11. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                              I very much agree with you, Beverly. Some of my favorite projects have included/required some created UI design and that's something I would miss in certain languages.

                              • 12. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                                Any in many ways there can integration when needed that you might not have with other 'environs'.

                                • 13. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                                  That was very interesting Jeremy. I see what you mean about the quick and easy marketing stuff. I think FMI and Xojo mean different things. For instance, FMI means quick and easy for end users to create something and Xojo means quick and easy for programmers.


                                  I'm not a C programmer, but I love to code. FileMaker is really amazing, but all the work arounds, no true data separation, and not being able to move 'code' around from solution to solution is a big pain. I find Xojo to be quick and easy when compared to C, php, and Java. The Xojo IDE is kinda a hybrid of those systems and FileMaker as you can drag and drop controls, but then code what you want to do with those controls. Xojo has really high code reuse, has real data separation, and is much more affordable than FileMaker.


                                  Xojo isn't for everyone though. My Mom could never use it, but she could use FileMaker. I think Xojo is excellent for developers though.

                                  • 14. Re: FileMaker & Other Programming Languages

                                    I didn't quit FileMaker, I migrated to FileMaker having programmed in Omnis 3 and 4D some 20 years ago, FileMaker has a much wider acceptance.

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