I am after some advice here as I am finding I am unable to make a clear unbiased decision alone.
I have recently got back into FileMaker development after a length absence from v6/7/8etc etc. I moved an application back then to a web based for a variety of reasons.
1 - It was the "thing to do"
2 - I didn’t want any hassle of installing software at client’s sites
3 - Easier updating
4 - I wanted to use SQL back end.
Anyway, to be honest Filemaker lagged behind in those days and lacked a lot of the things developers needed when you compare to visual studio etc.
However things have changed significantly now and technology has changed (again).
Anyway I am in the process of revamping this web based application and I have been playing about with the front end in Filemaker to this SQL database.
I am finishing myself writing classes in c# to save records and perform other mundane tasks that are taking days, playing about with fidgety CSS to make nice dialogs, jQuery etc. etc.
Then I look at filemaker pro and realise I can do that pretty much in about 30minutes (if not less).
It makes me think hard about this but I have this fear that the saved time upfront in Filemaker could be lost later with the more beefy deployment requirements in terms of licenses, installs etc.
I must admit just emailing a URL is quite handy with a web based product.
The real issue is that my clients don’t need it web based, they are local councils and they all use the package on their desktop pc! That’s it.
The occasional user accesses it from a remote spot with their IPAD but of course FM go easily solves that issue.
Also with a web based asp.net application there is no ongoing license costs for myself, just a windows hosted server that is pretty cost effective.
I am just worried that I just not considering the users because I have learned a few things.
1 - They don’t care! Half of them don’t even know they are using a web based product.
2 - They will find a filemaker solution more friendly and responsive, let’s face it, I use outlook every day and would hate to use web based mail, calendar etc.
3 - Quite often the browser needs updates, add-ons, security, compatibility mode etc. the browser still is a piece of software that needs installed so the nothing to install thing is getting over rated. I’m fed up trying to offer a one size fits all solution, I am of the opinion now that I should be saying to clients that this product needs you to buy these licenses and install this product on each users pc, if you don’t want to bother then I’m sorry I can’t help you. I.T departments sometimes don’t want to be bothered installing things for their users but that’s not a good reason to provide a less functional product.
Has anyone came across a similar dilemma?
PS, I realise I am asking this on a filemaker forum, it’s still the best place for me to hear opinions from people who have dabbled in other technologies too.
Also filemaker web direct while promising is NOT an option at the moment for this product.