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Avid Acces user switching to Filemaker.  What are the differences and limitations?

Question asked by JoeBuratti on Apr 11, 2013
Latest reply on Apr 12, 2013 by philmodjunk


Avid Acces user switching to Filemaker.  What are the differences and limitations?


     I have been using MS Access for years now and am advanced in its design and VBA coding, but I am curious about Filemaker.  I have a few questions regarding the differences and limitations of Filemaker in comparison to Access. 

     First of all, I undestand that filemaker has scripts where Access uses VBA.  I can see that this is essentially the same concept here, but I see that in Filemaker, there is a difference between a script and a function.  What is that difference?  In Access I have many, many custom designed VBA functions where one or more parameters are passed to it and it returns another calculated  value based on those original values. Can this be done in Filemaker with simple scripts, or do I need the advanced version to create the actual function, and again whats the difference? 

     Another procedure I have learned to acomplish in Access VBA is to generate XML documents and POST to a URL, which returns another XML document where I can then parse and extract other data, still within VBA.  Can this be done in Filemaker?  And if so, im not looking for detailed instructions, but can someone point me in the right directions on how to get info on doing so? 

     A third task I can do in Access is access system variables and win32 API's functions.  For a simple example, I have an Access database deployed over 4 PC's.  I have a "function" that determines the computer name that is accessing it, and enables or locks certain features of the DB based on that name.  Can Filemaker do this also, or any other similar tasks?

     Finally, I have a robust Access database which does all of the above mentioned tasks, and also interacts with QuickBooks.  I would like to re-create this database in Filemaker.  I have researched that Filemaker CAN interact with QuickBooks via FMBooks, a 3rd party quite expensive paid plugin, but I was wondering if there was any other "free" way to communicate?  In Access there are 2 options to connect to QuickBooks.  1) Purchase the QODBC dirver and have access "link" to it as if QuickBooks were any other ODBC database, or 2) What I currently use, which is the QuickBooks SDK/API.  Its a free toolkit provided by Intuit/Quickbooks, for developers with the know how, to create custom applications that interact with QuickBooks.  This is done free of charge, and only requires a few .dll files to be referenced in Access VBA.  What I am asking is, is there something similar to this for Filemaker, where I can reference those same .dll files and write custom procedures to interact with QuickBooks?