Basic FM 13 Questions
Having had my fingers burned well-and-truly- with an 'upgrade' to FM12, can anyone say if the layout design features in version 13 have re-installed the layout design features that were taken out in Version12? http://forums.filemaker.com/posts/b4c3104f08
I've just read a post pointing out that layout designs shown in the advertising aren't available as standard layouts as the customer thought, and I sympathise. I have a broadly similar question:
We have many solutions that use photos that are reproduced across many layouts - Staff ID photos, for example, or Catalogue pictures (both of which are examples in FM Inc's advertising, from memory). As Filemaker files explode in size when pictures or files are embedded in container fields that is not a recommended practice. But one of the features that is listed as not functional using WebDirect is linking by reference. So, how does that work? Unless I'm missing something, almost none of our solutions will work with WebDirect, even if only for that reason, and our use of document-management also in that way would strike me as a very common feature of Filemaker solutions. And linking files by reference to a common source doesn't work on the iPad anyway, as the iOS doesn't support it.
Are the images shown in the advertising materials linked by reference, or embedded?
The pricing increase seems a bit Draconian. Our typical customers have 6 or 7 users. That meant a cost of (I'm rounding) about £1680 in licences. Now, with the FM Pro-hosted clients down to 5, that cost shoots up to £2544 - a 50% increase, for no additional usable features (see query above, for example.) Actually it's for less useable features, as we regularly exploited IWP for light or occasional use, which has been withdrawn, and the much-lauded ExecuteSQL feature launched in FM12 has been deprecated. Am I right that, at least for these typical customer-sizes, the cost to licence FM 13 will see a serious hike?
On top of that, our customers, in a perfect demonstration of how a little knowledge is dangerous, want us to simply extend their solutions to be Web- and iPad-accessible. On further questioning they have no idea what they would want to use it for, as they can already access the solutions remotely using the full-fat FM licences they've paid for. They want it because they have picked up from the FM advertising and mail-shots that solutions just work 'seamlessly' and 'immediately' from one platform to another. That they have come to that simplistic conclusion is understandable, but is way, way off the mark. A solution can be designed to work, and look well, on a desktop environment. A solution can be made to look well and function in an iPad environment. But to suggest that one 'seamlessly' carries over to the other is a nonsense. Every user has to be checked to see which platform they are using, then directed to a screen that is either designed to maximise the use of the screen space, or to accommodate Fat Fingers. We have to figure out if the orientation is landscape or portrait, we have to check which script functions work on their platform, and either re-design to the lowest common denominator, or else implement checks and alternative platform-dependent solutions. Our customers think we are taking the financial mickey when we tell them how much it will cost and the features they will lose. They blame us for 'mis-understanding'...
I think Filemaker should make it really obvious that designing for the desktop is one job of work, designing for the iPad is a completely separate job of work that is of the order of the same size over again (for budgeting purposes, Dear Customer), will not give them the same experience as using FM Client, and to suggest that the two platforms are simply one solution is like suggesting those guys you see hobbling along in the 3-legged-race are 'one entrant'. They are better described as two separate entrants tied together in the middle.
In short, I'm really keen to see, and buy, a Version Release that adds features of real value that I can exploit with my customers. In reading through the feature list (and restrictions list) introduced in FM 13, I see features removed that we use, and features added that are of limited or zero use to us, or that we are already able to achieve with earlier versions. And it comes with a big price increase. I would welcome pointers from anyone who can see the obvious opportunities that I'm missing.