If you're talking about runtime, you may be out of luck. Only FileMaker pro can create a stand-alone application from your database, and the application cannot connect to a hosted database (ie, non networkable).
I have FileMaker Pro Advanced 12 and File Maker Server Advanced 12. This is worrying news though, as this seems to imply that if I write a solution with FileMaker and install a copy of FileMaker server, then every user on the network will also need a copy of FileMaker as well running! So FileMaker Server, then the cost of ( n*copies ) of FileMaker for the end users.......that's an enormous cost for perspective clients. I wonder if I can apply for a software refund, I had no idea about this limitation and I've only had it a couple of weeks :-(
I've just worked out. If I sold a database to a company with 50 users, then there upfront costs, before my time and the cost of the development would be £14,000, that's probably not good :-S
I think that you might consider some other aspects of the FileMaker Server-Client licensing. I've used every major database on the Mac since 1985. In particular I was using 4D server and client many years ago. I'm a practicing Pediatrician and was using it for electronic medical records.
Reliability is absolutely hands down the most important point about FileMaker. Since I converted PaperCutPro(R) from version 9 to the newest version 10 some three years ago, I have had NO server failures... that's three years of brutal, continuous use in a practice that it networked three office locations and 33,000 patient visits a year.
Flexibility and feature stability are next. I've found over the years that FileMaker carefully researches and introduces features that work and give you the most bang for your buck. Our PaperCutPro(R) solution is a complete practice managment and electronic medical records software. My practice manager alone handles ALL our claims and payment processing, which she says saves us $75,000 a year in labor costs. It takes her only an hour and a half a day at most.
User training is EASY. If we bring on a new staff person in any position in our office, they are proficient in using our solution in a matter of a week or two at most. This is very cost efficient. Plus our staff really LIKE the solution and the software.
On the comparison with 4D, I remember the extreme frustration when it would crash and it would take my an hour to rebuild the database because the whole thing corrupted every time! The crashes happened several times a month. The tools that were introduced in 4D sounded good, but were often buggy and, so it seemed to me, poorly tested before release. Once you implemented a new feature with the buggy additions, you were stuck waiting for them to issue a fix. For me there were a LOT of problems trying to keep up with the version changes which both fixed previous bugs and introduced a slate of new ones. I spent as much time seeing patients as I did trying to fix and maintain my solution.
Now 4D may be different since this was about 12 to 15 years ago when I last tried to implement a solution. I'm thankful for FileMaker because it saves me money, allows our practice to flourish be focused on the patients and not the computer.
I have no problems with the pricing or the licensing because I think I'm getting my money's worth. No doubt there will always be wish lists and wants for ANY software and that won't ever change. As long as FileMaker keeps my productivity and creativity flowing, it is well worth it.
Ron Smith, MD
Talk to your local FileMaker sales rep about their volume pricing. They also have a special program where you buy the software cheaper and then resell to the client.