5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2015 9:24 AM by mikebeargie

    Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?


      I am hoping that there will be experts out there in FileMaker land who can help me make a decision about the product.  I have recently retired and want, as part of my 'keep young' drive, to develop an ipad database-based app.  This is not for resale (although I might distribute if for free if it works), but merely to keep my brain young.


      I should explain that I am an IT professional of many years standing (since the mid 1980's), and early on in my career I was a database designer and programmer using such long-defunct development enviroments such as Ingres.  I say that to explain that I understand the basics of database design and programming, and also relational databases.


      So - I want to develop an app that runs on an ipad that essentially is a database that allows the user to make some basic changes to preferences and data.  That database should be fed from a central server, and the preferences sent from the ipad app to the server.  The central database should be updated from web sources automativally (I hope) and also updated by me.  I will therefore also have the develop the server system as well as the app.  So, in summary


      Server application collects data from web sources and feeds server database


      I can access server aplication to update information about held data


      iPad app is opened on iPad and sucks data, based on locally stored preferences onto iPad and updates local database


      iPad app allows user to review data, update it and their preferences, and link to other web sites based on information uploaded


      So - can I do this using the tools availble to me in FileMaker without having to write complex C (or similar) programmes?  I am happy to write what used to be called stored procedures or other macros or equivalent?  If there are any 'gotchas' on this, I would appreciate being told.


      I must say, what I have read so far leads me to believe that this is possible, but I would like to know that what I am trying to do is do-able before I spend lots of time and money.  And what bits of FileMaker will I need?

        • 1. Re: Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?

          1. Yes, I believe it is possible but strongly recommend working with a FileMaker Server Program which I more expensive but could be reasonable if you need to have many users on the system. I shifted two years ago and would not turn back.

          2. I would suggest that you attend an Apple Store Business Introduction Session on FileMaker and ask more specific questions. That launched my interest in this aspect.  The security is excellent too.

          • 2. Re: Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?

            You can save on the FileMaker server software costs by using AVLA (similar to how adobe creative suite licensing works now), instead of purchasing the full retail. Also, there are numerous filemaker hosting services that will host your file starting around $30/month.


            A great resource to use for iPad syncing is FMEasySync, which is a free solution that is native filemaker and is designed to sync tables from a server to a standalone file on a device.


            One thing I'd highly recommend is the training series, finding an authorized trainer in your area should be easy if you learn better in-person. Also, once you get going you'll have specific questions, if speed is in your best interest, then you might want to retain the services of a consultant that does "mentor training". EG, purchase a block of five hours and have a certified developer working with you on your project towards your goals.


            to conclude, what you want to do is possible, just know that your iPad users will need to download the free filemaker go software from the app store, and then you will load a file via that software (two part process, as opposed to deploying your app to them directly).

            • 3. Re: Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?

              Thank you for your response - very useful.  I did look for the Apple Store Business Introduction Session on FileMaker, but that seems to be no longer available.  There are a number of, I suspect, similar training sessions available that I will try.

              • 4. Re: Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?

                Mike - thank you for your response.  Your idea of an experienced mentor is a very good one - I will just have to find someone who has the skills.


                In your comment about FileMaker Go, do you mean that I would always have to fire up my software through FileMaker Go, or I do it once and thereafter it is independently available

                • 5. Re: Should I use FileMaker for a retirement project?

                  You can create a desktop shortcut in iOS that launches your file via URL, but it will always launch through FMGo, not independently from it.


                  If you’re interested in mentoring I work with a few great developers that offer it (myself included), feel free to contact me privately.