7 Replies Latest reply on May 13, 2016 3:40 AM by beverly

    Filemaker or Access?


      Hi all,


      I am new to Filemaker but heard that Filemaker is easy to create custom database application.     I like to give Filemaker a try instead of Microsoft Access in our workplace but have the following questions.


      1. Can anyone compare Filemaker to Access and what are some of the PRO and CON? 

      2.  What is the advantage of using Filemaker server instead of using FM to access SQL server directly?

      3. Any one know a good resource that will help me present Filemaker to the others in our workplace persuade them to give FM a try?


      Appreciate the help,


        • 1. Re: Filemaker or Access?

          a brief comparison at the fmp 12 version level

          FileMaker Pro vs Microsoft Access | FileMaker

          a very detailed comparison, but based on quite old versions



          Using FM to access SQL server has some limitations, based on the ESS technology.  The biggest for me is the inability to access binary objects (akin to container fields in filemaker) via ESS.


          Wim Decorte is a good resource who is active here and wrote the white paper above.  

          • 2. Re: Filemaker or Access?

            The resources above are excellent.


            I am guessing you have MS Access already and you can download FM Pro 30-day trial. Give both a go for an hour or two and you will see the difference immediately. As a developer, I still cannot understand how to get Access working and make a proper database!

            • 3. Re: Filemaker or Access?

              Thank you for the input.  Though the above resources are a bit of old, it would help me get started.  Also,


              1 - Does Filemaker have any performance and security advantages over Access?


              2 - Users are requesting using mobile phone app to access Filemaker.  How easily is it to create custom app for Filemaker?


              Appreciate the help,


              • 4. Re: Filemaker or Access?

                I have no idea for performance but security wise with FMP you can create user roles with restrictions down individual field. It's not that hard but with Access, I know that it's a pain to setup users.


                Your desktop version of FileMaker solution would work on the iPhone or iPad using FileMaker Go app. There is no equivalent for Windows phones or Android but you can use WebDirect. Note that it's usually the case that you need to make alternative layouts for use by these devices. There are plenty of videos on FM website or youtube to get a look and feel of how sharing with FileMaker works.

                • 5. Re: Filemaker or Access?

                  You are correct that blobs are not supported in ESS, but it is possible to import a SQL blob field into a FM container field using the Import Records script step with an ODBC data source.



                  • 6. Re: Filemaker or Access?

                    I think the answer to your question depends largely on the scope of the project, the scope of the end-solution and the budget earmarked.


                    From your 4 questions, I almost would recommend MS Access over Filemaker, for the fact that everyone already have the software on their desktop that could be the FrontEnd (FE) to open the BackEnd (BE) of a stand-alone split Access db or connect to the free SQL Server Express or even MySQL Community Server. But then the time save developing the solution with FM will counter any licensing cost for FM products.


                    Security wise, FM can ties with the Active Directory or use its own internal username/password for granular access against the data; likewise, Access offers internal security and also a HIPAA compliant security if couple with SQL Server Express. A slight advantage to Access/SQL Server/Azure SQL, but not much depends on the scope and implementation, but definitely much easier to understand in FM.


                    As /u/velistar mentioned I believe FM ease of creating an iOS mobile app helps it shine over a more complicate Access/MVC programming that needs steeper learning curve.


                    Let us know which one you decided to go with.

                    • 7. Re: Filemaker or Access?

                      MySQL is available on all platforms, Access is not. No interface built into MySQL, though.


                      -- sent from myPhone --

                      Beverly Voth