I am a newish FileMaker developer and while I can say I find the platform to be straightforward, and incredibly easy for many things, I do have a few things that make feel turned away by the FileMaker platform as a future developer. I am a youngin so perhaps my views are misguided but I have had these as the following issues with the FileMaker platform:
Regarding local applications that run on FileMaker Pro:
1) Why is it so tedious to deploy applications that run locally? As an ISV it is paramount that these applications are able to be installed on the user's computer. Far too much of my time is spent connecting to a user, making sure they have the right version of FileMaker installed and then installing our application with a third party installer. Why doesn't FileMaker provide an easy way to deploy applications that are locally hosted? IE. I load my app into a FileMaker packager that creates an installer, which, when deployed for the user to use, checks to make sure the right version of FileMaker is installed, if not installs it with our license, and then installs our application in a specified directory for each platform. I would hope a platform that talks about ease of deployability would actually make it easy to deploy a software application. Is there something I am missing? I have developed a third-party installer for windows and am in the process of developing one for Mac but it just seems like something that would save a lot of people a lot of time if they could just deploy their application through something like an installer compiler that FileMaker provides.
2)Why is branding so difficult? Is FileMaker moving toward being like an app store? If it is, #1 should be easy; if not, we should be able to put our logo in lieu of FileMaker's for our final application. For example, when I create a window why can I specify the name but not the ICON to be displayed? Another thing that frustrates me with branding is that the files themselves show the FileMaker logo on the desktop, which can be very confusing to a user if they are, for example, looking for our opener file. Why can't FileMaker files display our logo? I know we can work around this by creating shortcuts and aliases with our logo but it still is frustrating for other files we might deploy for the end user to use directly. For example, I have just made an updater that updates a users Data file to a new Data file. Ideally, a user would be able to just download the file with our logo. It appears unprofessional and untrustworthy when we serve them a file that has a logo they never see nor should, I think, have to see.
I find how FileMaker handles design to be great in a number of ways, what's more intuitive than dragging something into a layout and having the layout actually show that info? It feels like a power point that is a little more complicated. I just wish there were more options. IE providing more animations that allow us to make an application that feels modern. Perhaps this an area I could hear more from the Filemaker Community about?
There seems to be a general feeling for me, while using Filemaker, that there are things that can feel very odd. More often than not when I click a button it doesn't register... A lot of times I have to go hit it again. I expect some of our end users feel the same way.
Again, this is an area I am still learning about, but how do we make the applications we deploy feel more modern? I feel like our software has found a design that looks modern, but it just doesn't feel as snappy as I would hope. With the research I have done on performance it doesn't appear that I am doing anything blatantly obvious. By no means am I an expert, perhaps you guys have suggestions on this?
These have been my gripes with the platform. I know FileMaker provides a lot of really cool things when it comes to functionality, and I would concur. It is really easy to pick it up, especially if you have worked in other development environments. But as someone who is really interested in creating a polished application, I don't find it to be at the same standards I would have for my own application.
I look forward to the responses, and if you think I am wrong/misguided about something I would be glad to hear your response.