1 2 3 Previous Next 136 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2017 9:55 AM by schamblee

    Sell a product using the Runtime


      Hello everyone,


      ** This post is not intended to criticize FileMaker's decision to abandon the Runtime. I am looking for a viable solution.


      This question is for those who create and sell a management solution using Runtime.


      I build management solutions using the FileMaker platform. Each of my customers are happy and they all buy FileMaker licenses.


      In parallel, I have built a management software for psychologists that I sell on the site www.lepsy.ca


      We now know that the Runtime will be removed eventually and is no a long-term solution.


      The purchase process for the LePsy software is very simple:


      - The client downloads a demo version that runs for 30 days. This allows the customer to see if the software is suitable for him. My intervention time: 0 minute.


      - If the customer likes the product, it buys it using a payment process via Paypal. This payment process communicates with my automated system to deliver an activation code. My intervention time: 0 minute.


      The business model is simple. Runtime is perfect for this solution.  The client is completely autonomous and does not need me. This allows me to continue working for my other customers who purchase FileMaker licenses for other projects.


      Currently, the solutions available to me are the sale of individual licenses for my clients. I also have the option to use the SBA program.


      In either case, I will considerably increase my intervention time since the customer will need me for the purchase of FileMaker license. My time on administration is therefore much higher. This reduces the profitability and the viability of this solution.


      Also, I do not know how I can offer the free trial if the client absolutely has to install FileMaker Pro on his computer.


      To those who sell a management product like mine, what are you going to do to preserve simplicity and accessibility for the customer ?

        • 1. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

          If you're not already using the SBA program, it sounds like you should definitely be doing that. Since SBA commitment usually starts with a pre-purchase of a block of licenses, you would already have licenses ready to distribute to new clients.


          As for runtimes, I've always used them for trial and demonstration purposes, but that's where the line of usefulness is drawn for me. I never have, nor recommend, selling standalone runtime applications as a marketable product. It's a combination of limitations and kludgy workarounds to get a viable product.


          At last wind though, filemaker was "evaluating" runtimes after community feedback. Even though deprecation was announced in FM14, the feature did remain in the 15 product line.

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          • 2. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

            And it wont stop I guess in filemaker 16. The fact is that the runtime is a nice feature for 1 person company like a psychologist, a doctor etc. I dont find any limitations at all except the fact that is single user. It has exactly the same abilities with the filemaker pro version.

            Francois how do you handle potential copy paste? your activation code locks your application in the pc?

            • 3. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

              Runtime is perfect those customers.  Runtime can't generate PDF but it's not a problem for this solution.


              Michael, when customers activated their software using an activation code, they can't modify the registered name of LePsy software.  And this name goes on printout forms (Invoices, report, stats, etc).  So, if the customer copy and paste the solution on 25 computers, this is not a problem for me.


              I blocked access to the structure and integrated a dual authentication process.  When the user enters his password, the system checks the FileMaker account AND check the account on a table.  In this table, user name and password in encrypted.  It is therefore impossible to access the data or the structure according to the known methods. Yes, it is possible to protect data in a Runtime.



              SBA is a very good solution .. but I think this will bring me a great administrative task. 



              I'm disappointed to lose the simplicity and automation that Runtime gives me for this solution . That's why I am asking this here.  FileMaker told me that hundred of FBA partner found a new business process to replace Runtime.

              Perhaps a FileMaker GO, computer version, would be an interesting possibility ?

              • 4. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                "Perhaps a FileMaker GO, computer version" I really want this....

                I assume you mean you have removed admin access and you protect yourself for a client giving your program to another client because he will have the first client name on every forms.

                Meaning another client could use your application but it wouldnt have a good "feeling" am I correct?

                • 5. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                  This is where the hardest "push back" from the FileMaker community has come from on this issue--the use of demo versions to sell consulting services, solutions and FileMaker Licenses. To date, there is no truly equivalent replacement for that capability and until there is we will protest the removal of runtime capability.


                  FM GO doesn't work for this as it limits the demo to iOS devices and screen sizes.


                  Using the trial copy of FMpro could be used much of the time, but only if the user has not previously downloaded a trial copy. Having to go to the trouble of requesting a trial copy in such cases will kill some sales due to the inconvenience. The fact that we cannot "bundle" such a trial install with the demo further makes this impractical.


                  I do recognize that for limited budget customers, buying a license from FileMaker AND a custom solution will price them out of the market in many cases. But I suspect that in this case the "powers that be" see something that only rarely generates revenue for FileMaker Inc. from a product (runtimes) that costs them some degree of resources in development and support--which has been further complicated on the Mac OS side in recent releases due to security measures that have been set up on them.

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                  • 6. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                    Yes, admin access is removed.


                    Also, I remove access to the structure from another FileMaker file.


                    And if password is removed, user can't login in the solution.  This is my "double authentification".  If the password of FileMaker account is not the same to the table .. where I have encrypted password, login is blocked.

                    • 7. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                      In my "Practice", when I develop Custom Software for a customer, they don't need to know how FileMaker works.  They don't need to use Navigation menu of FileMaker Pro or anything else.   Everything they need are in the user interface.


                      A free Thin FileMaker application, like FileMaker GO, can execute my solutions on a server.  FileMaker can make money on FileMaker Server connection.


                      My customer don't need to access the structure, add fields or play with scripts.


                      And when a customer want to edit or create, he can buy a FileMaker Pro Advanced version.


                      So the family can be "Thin", "Advanced" and "Server".


                      And my customer can run LePsy locally .. or on a server.


                      FileMaker Pro can be deprecated ... hehe

                      • 8. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                        I totally agree every software that I make doesnt provide anything from filemaker (menu etc) everything is scripted I dont even allow them to enter find mode.

                        Filemaker must understand that we as developers sell mainly fully locked apps the client doesnt really care about the platform they just love what they see. If you used SQL, java, filemaker they dont give a damn.

                        • 9. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                          So ... FileMaker told me that hundred of partners need to deal with this situation.


                          You go with SBA ? Individuel licence ?


                          How many time do you need to sign contract and other administrative tasks when you replace Runtime ?

                          • 10. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                            I used to be general manager in a conslutling company in the agrifood sector there as a side job I gave for clients mainly databases for traceability in the olive oil and olives. They were small business unit and mainly they had one employer doing that stuff and so there wasnt a need for multiple users aka runtime was just fine (and free). Now, since the summer I run my own company specializing only to building databases mainly with filemaker (I have collaborations if a client needs something that I cant provide in filemaker) Because of filemaker pricing with webviewer, concurrent coneections etc I dont deliver apps for many users (with ios sdk) and the lack of android version is also a problem. So if a client needs an app lets say like Uber another company does the app for android and ios and I built a very nice (and fast) backend office using the sql tables of the app for the company. Usually a FLT licence for 5 users is ok for those projects.

                            Other jobs that I do is for companies that I build them taiilor made solutions there I buy as many licences as they need. Now I have a company that needs 58 licences. The main problem is that they pay for licences that practically use as just a thin client to use my solution. Thats whay I think we should have a thin client like filemaker go (when it was priced) lets say 50 euros.

                            Besides tailor made solutions i also (now) I have started doing something like you for the psychologists meaning now that I have built a very nice solution for dog kennel I want to try to sell it as is. I have talked with winsoft international since I am in Greece about becoming a an fba member and use SBA program. I have yet  to decide what I will do

                            • 11. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                              Hello, I'm new to FM but just want to check the point in this thread.  I am interested in building a database structure in FM Pro to sell to self-employed individuals for individual use.  (By structure I mean a database that does not contain any data and the buyer then enters the data and uses it for their business.)


                              As far as I can tell, this is still possible in FM Pro Advanced 16 using Runtime - am I right?  I don't want to spend a lot of time and effort developing it if I am not going to be able to sell it.  Thanks in advance for any help.

                              • 12. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                                I would still recommend the SBA program that is designed for filemaker developers to sell their "vertical" product (a database that is premade, not one that is bespoke and built from the ground up).


                                Read page 6 here:



                                The SBA licenses would allow you to provide your users with a fully functional license of filemaker pro, as well as offer the advantages of the full feature set of the latest version, as opposed to the stripped down runtime experience.


                                That said, the filemaker 16 product line still includes runtimes, so if you wanted to release your product that way, you can. FM16 will probably be supported until around 2019/2020. But since the deprecation notice for runtimes has not been rescinded, you may eventually hit a wall where you can not take runtimes further. That wall is non-existent if you use the SBA program.

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                                • 13. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                                  Thanks for the quick reply Mike.  My reasons for not being keen on the SBA option are the same as others have given, i.e. I don't envisage them wanting or needing FM Pro or paying the extra for it, as opposed to just getting the database and using it.

                                  • 14. Re: Sell a product using the Runtime

                                    Bundle your cost for SBA licenses into the price they pay for your product.


                                    I don't want to reopen a hotly debated topic of ethics over not supporting filemaker by only making runtimes. Like I said earlier, if you want to do that, you can. However, the writing has been on the wall for a while now, and I'd advise anyone making vertical market products to decide whether or not filemaker is right for their business health long term; especially if you base your entire business on runtimes.

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