FileMaker greedy and badly-behaved in the background

Discussion created by JohnDCCIU on Jan 26, 2016
Latest reply on Nov 2, 2016 by rrrichie

Product and version FileMaker Pro 14.0.4 (but extends all the way back to v11, and probably before that)

OS and version OS X 10.11 (but same issue going back many OS X versions)


Any and all


Description  FileMaker has always misbehaved in the background in OS X when it's running a long script, greedily stealing enough CPU cycles that attempting to enter text in other apps is not only halting, but typed characters actually don't make it into the keyboard buffer, leading to lost input in whatever the foreground app is.  Even things like trying to do a Command-Tab to switch between apps only works intermittently because the keypress is lost. 


The FMI devs need to correct the FileMaker app to behave properly in the background, ceding time properly to the OS and other apps so that this behavior is eliminated.  I've never seen another app in OS X do this and I'm surprised that the FileMaker app is even able to suck this much out of a system.  My initial conspiracy-theory guess is that the devs used some undocumented APIs (being a subsidiary of Apple helps ;-) that shouldn't be used in order to enhance performance, but at the expense of being a decent app-citizen.


It doesn't matter how powerful the OS X hardware is:  the background behavior is just as egregious on a kick-butt brand-new round Mac Pro with 64GB of memory and a PCI SSD, as it is on a low-end Mac Mini, so it's not a resource issue:  it's an app-behavior issue.

How to replicate  Run the attached FileMaker database on a OS X machine; it will run in a long loop, adding many records, sorting them, deleting the records, then going around again.  The effect seems to be more pronounced when the database  is hosted, but it does still happen locally. 

While the loop is running, switch to any other app, leaving FileMaker running in the background, then continue on with your normal work for awhile, especially doing emails or something that involves text entry, and the symptoms should reveal themselves intermittently.

It's most noticable when you pause for a bit (to move the mouse, to read what you've written, take a phone call, etc).  The symptoms are:

  • keypresses are simply ignored; the keypresses are lost
  • keypresses lag behind, with text appearing later
  • sometimes text that you type appears out of order, as the keyboard buffer gets messed up
  • the system overall is unresponsive at times


Workaround None.