Quick setup for FileMaker 15 & Postgres on a local Mac

Discussion created by OllyGroves on May 15, 2016
Latest reply on May 20, 2016 by LSNOVER

Quick setup guide for FileMaker 15 & Postgres on a local Mac


  • This is a rough quick start guide to help others setup a local development environment with Postgres (via Postgres App) and FileMaker 15 desktop using the new Actual ESS Adapters for FileMaker 15
  • I'm guessing will be fairly similar process for Windows but I'm not over that side of the fence much.

Download & Install Required apps


Download & Install 'Postgres App' for Mac (Free)

  • For ease of use I'm using the 'Postgres App' rather than full Postgres Server installer.  The 'Postgres App' runs locally as a Mac App (wrapping a self contained Postgres Server) with a Menu Bar icon for quick access.

  • Download here - http://postgresapp.com/


Download the Actual Technology 'ODBC drivers' & new 'ESS Adapter'

  • Actual ODBC Drivers Pack (has trial mode, to buy its $39.95 for local machine or $299 for FileMaker server)
  • Actual ESS Adapter (Free on Mac, $39.99 on Win)
  • Download here: http://www.actualtech.com/download.php
  • If on Windows, believe you use the official Postgres ODBC driver for Windows (which is Free) & licence the 'Actual Technologies ESS Adapter' instead ($39.99)
  • Probably best to install these drivers after you've setup your Postgres database(s) - see below.


Download & Install a Postgres GUI client (to create and manage your Postgres databases)

  • GUI clients make managing Postgres a little easier, however can use Postgres 'psql' Terminal Console to manage if so inclined. (quick access to that via 'Postgres App' Menu Bar Icon)

  • Postico: https://eggerapps.at/postico/

    • native mac app, same guy who maintains 'Postgres App' above, integrates nicely with it out of the box.
    • Simple UI with useful features like copy & paste from excel/csv into Postgres table 'content'
    • $39.99 but fairly open ended trial with a few limitations (you indirectly support his 'Postgres App' project if do buy it).
  • Some Free Postgres GUI clients


Connect your Postgres GUI client to 'Postgres App'

  • 'Postgres App' connection settings are: -

    • Host: localhost
    • Port: 5432 (default)
    • User: (Your OSX Username)
    • Password: blank
    • Database: (Your OSX Username)

    • If your GUI client requires a URL, use: postgresql://YOURUSERNAME@localhost/YOURUSERNAME

  • Tip: with 'Postgres App', you use your OSX username to connect to databases. Will need it when connecting via a Postgres GUI app & when adding ESS source to your FileMaker database.


Add Postgres Database(s) and Tables, Columns & Content to local Postgres Server.

  • Fairly easy once you've connected your GUI client to local 'Postgres App' server. If not worked with SQL database before would recommend using 'Postico' GUI client as I found it the least difficult to get rolling with.
  • See your chosen GUI client / Postgres help for further support using Postgres databases.


Install the Actual Technology ODBC drivers & ESS Adapter on your Mac

  • Note: Best to setup a test Postgres database above before doing this bit, as need to point the ODBC System DNS at it.
  • Install the Actual Tech ODBC Pack Drivers first
  • *Setup up 'System DNS' datasource for Postgres via 'ODBC Manager' app in Mac Utilities.
  • Install the Actual ESS Adapter and point it at the previously created ODBC DNS

  • *the Actual Technology quick start instructions help here.


Add your Postgres database to your FileMaker database with ESS

  • Open the FileMaker database you wish to connect to the Postgres Database
  • Go to File > Manage > External Data Sources
  • Click New, Name it, click the 'ODBC' radio button.
  • 'Specify DNS', should see & choose the 'Actual ESS Adapter' data source you created above when installing (if not create in 'ODBC manager')
  • In File > Manage > External Data Sources 'Specify Username and password': add your username (OSX Username if using 'Postgres App'), you won't need a password unless you've set it up in the 'Postgres App'. [Tip: this stops FileMaker prompting you for a Postgres password each time you open you FileMaker file]
  • Go to FM relationships graph, add a TO, choose a table from your recently added ESS data source
  • That should be it (ie. you should now be able to read, write, add, delete data from your Postgres database tables within FileMaker)
  • Tip: Use 'Refresh Window' in FileMaker to update changes if you add data via your Postgres GUI client.


Please comment below if any errors, additional Windows information, etc.  There maybe a few as I quickly threw together while setting up today.