It largely depends on what you want to do. There are a couple of commercial solutions for QuickBooks integration; two that come to mind are 123Sync from Excelisys (http://www.excelisys.com/123sync.php) and FMBooks Connector from Productive Computing (http://www.fmbooksconnector.com/).
If all you want to do is send email, then internal FileMaker functionality may be all you need, either on the client or on the server through the Send Mail script step. If you need fancier email (such as HTML mail or multiple attachments), then there are also commercial products to fill the gap. 360Works offers an email plugin (http://360works.com/email-plugin/); CNS Plugins offers SMTPIt (https://www.cnsplug-ins.com/Plug-ins/smtpit_Pro); myFMButler has AutoSender (http://myfmbutler.com/index.lasso?p=371).
So I guess it would boil down to, "What do you want to do with QuickBooks and Outlook?"
Not entirely sure what they want to do at this point. But thanks for the input. I will pass the info on to them about 123 sync.
Right now they have 2 FM DBs and use QB and Outlook and the goal is to try and go with one solution. Basic mail is not an issue at all with FM but I'm not sure if they want to integrate in a way with Outlook, so that they can also view replies in FM. From what they have told me so far, sounds like inreality they could just use FM for the QB features they use.
Personally I prefer to not use plugins in my solutions.
Thanks for the info.
I sympathize; not a big fan of the complexities plugins tend to introduce myself. Nevertheless, sometimes, it's the only way to get the functionality you need. If they do indeed want to parse incoming email, and they want two-way integration with QuickBooks, I'm not aware of another way to do it. The mail thing you might be able to do if Exchange Server has a web service (I don't know if they do), but two-way communication with QuickBooks ... I'm not aware of a method without using a plugin. Someone else might be.
Of course, if you could talk them into just doing everything inside FileMaker, then the issue goes away.
I have just done my first ever integration with FMBooks Connector which was simple as pie. Worked first time and within an hour I had the basic functionality I needed and enough understanding to be able to do the next steps in the project.
There really is no point not using a plugin, the cost of ownership is probably an hour of development and even though I am certain I could work out how to create and parse the required XML there isn't anyone in their right mind who would pay me for that amount of time.
I'm not sure if they want to integrate in a way with Outlook, so that they can also view replies in FM.
There are plugins for this but you can also do it in two other ways:
- OS-level scripting triggered from inside FM
- or create a custom Outlook-add-in that talks to FM (instead of FM talking to Outlook).
It can get complex is there are multiple versions of Outlook to support and if you need to support Outlook on Windows and Mac.
Keep in mind that the Productive Computing plugin (and likely the other plugin) cannot be used on mac OS.
But that said, I agree with jrenfrew. The plugin is fairly easy to use and IMO very powerful. Their forum moderator is extremely responsive if you do get stuck.
Thanks for that bit of info. To tell the truth I despise plugins and am loathe to use them. This particular company is a non profit with not a lot of $$. They have some FM experience but want some assistance. I told them I would put a feeler out. They had trouble even setting up QB and now that it is working the way they want, they do not want to abandon it.
If this was another company perhaps larger with some cash to spend I would advise to just build in FM because I'm pretty sure they can actually get what they want. I can easily do that for them if they had the budget (if they were not adamant about using Outlook and QB. I feel they THINK they need QB and Outlook but from the conversation we had, I doubt they really do.
As to you information, good to know. I don't know the platform they are using; it may in fact be MacOs.
Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.