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What is a good open-source, i.e. free, database app with a decent front end that's likely to be around for a while? I'm guessing open-source and its format will live longer than anything proprietary.
if you are interested in moving to the cloud, Airtable might be an option. They have a limited free tier.
 


One thing to watch out for: do not put your FileMaker 11 files in folders that are being shared with iCloud (e.g., Desktop and Documents and their subfolders, assuming you have that feature on). The automatic save feature in earlier versions of FileMaker does not play nice with iCloud, and it will crash hard.
Thanks for the info. On the other hand, a friend used to keep his local Filemaker databases in Dropbox. Since he was the only user, he just had to make sure he had that Filemaker file active on only one computer at a time. (By the way: I was not a fan of this, even though he did not have issues.)
 


"Back in the day" I used dBase II to develop "relational" database applications for the bank where I worked. These were local use only, e.g., safe deposit box management, customer marketing. The "real stuff" was outsourced and running on a remote mainframe.

I used recommended field verification tests. I used indexes linking tables. The dBase "shell" crashed. Computers crashed. Human time verifying that data wasn't mangled was an unexpected cost. The indexes grew nearly as long as the tables they supported. Changes in the input layout, reports, or data to be captured required "programming" as features and changes were added. That wasn't trivial.

As soon as PCs advanced enough to enable moving the data from dBase to the Microsoft Works flat file database, I did that and changed my role from "developer" to "tutor." Productivity increased as staff learned to develop their own reports and summaries, and to print mail merges to selected subsets of customers. (I do point out that the kind of "mailing list" databases for which we used "flat file" databases would not have handled the "real stuff" - customer records which used database relations and then needed a mainframe to tie together a customer's checking, savings, loans, and the customer's often multiple transactions in each type.)

The Microsoft Works database (and I presume AppleWorks, too) functioned much like a spreadsheet. Once set up with defined fields, data of the right "type" could be imported via copy and paste from the Works spreadsheet. Works reports could be saved to spreadsheets and that data then used to create an entirely new database much as if directly generated by the report.

That copy and paste flexibility is missing from the database module in LibreOffice, and from Kexi, which functions in much the same way as LibreOffice Base.

I find the data sorting and filtering features of LibreOffice Calc (and before we abandoned it, Excel) sufficient for the needs of my current workplace. If you want to go further than your own format for spreadsheet as database, the "Document Foundation" offers a LibreOffice PDF Guide: "Calc as a Simple Database."
 


Took a chance on an eBay item of FileMaker 17 at less than $25 and it turned out the serial number worked fine, ran updates with no problems and works fine under macOS 10.14.6
I am a long-time FileMaker user, mostly personal databases now but I have a lot invested in my FileMaker Pro (FMP) apps (money and time). I run FileMaker Server on a Mac Mini and can access it using FMP version 15 (3 seats). Always worried that a macOS upgrade will ruin everything that is working fine.

On a whim, I, too, took a chance on eBay to explore purchasing another "seat", this time FMP Version 16. Works fine. Price: $19.00.

Does anyone know how this is possible? Are these legitimate codes or are they re-used, pilfered or otherwise illegitimate?
 



On a whim, I, too, took a chance on eBay to explore purchasing another "seat", this time FMP Version 16. Works fine. Price: $19.00.

Does anyone know how this is possible? Are these legitimate codes or are they re-used, pilfered or otherwise illegitimate?
Illegitimate.

So…in response to Paul K's post, I took a five-dollar flyer on an eBay FMP 17 from a three-week-old seller account with no apparent sales to date. eBay contacted me within hours:
eBay said:
We're writing to let you know that we've removed an item you recently won due to concerns with the seller's account…
The seller's eBay page and the product page were all deleted. My payment was returned the same day.

The next day, I took a ten-dollar flyer on another copy. The seller contacted me promptly with instructions to download an installer from a Google drive instance and an activation code. A web search revealed the code is listed (with two others) at several "cracked software" websites.

A little more web searching reveals that one can find an occasional website that leaves install images and activation codes in an obscure location. One example is a company that peddles a Filemaker-based product. So, it's conceivable that someone swipes this stuff from the web or their employer or vendor.

The copy I downloaded seems to be virus-free. A web-based virus checker indicated that it had seen the same checksum for other copies of FMP and revealed what is likely the original vendor-provided filename. With this information, I found another copy (at the previously mentioned company) whose checksum matched my download, so I'm guessing it's a fair copy.

So, knowing what I know now, I could hypothetically start selling the same thing on eBay, probably in violation of eBay's rules. Still debating whether to get my money back or to consider this a ten-dollar research project. In any event, I'll be looking at the $540 single license or an alternative product if I ever need it.
 



As a counter data point, FileMaker Pro 12 crashes often on High Sierra, to the point of being unusable. On Mojave I can't even open the database without it crashing.

So those who are successful using FileMaker Pro 11 in Mojave, count yourselves lucky.

FileMaker Pro 12 works excellently in Windows 10.
 


Not an endorsement, but this one popped up as a post-FileMaker possibility:
I picked Ninox to replace FileMaker. It's way more capable than I am at databases (and consequently had some surprises for me). But I was able to get my exported FileMaker tables into it fairly easily. Most of my data files were flat, but I was able to export one pair of related tables and remake the link inside Ninox.

For me, one positive feature was being able to access my data files via iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

I almost never print anything from my database files, so I have no notion of how well Ninox works in that regard.
 


Virtual machines are a good choice. The other thing that has changed is the power of the host computer. The advent of OSX using Intel processors, plus the great increase in computer horsepower, has made virtual machines a valid option, especially for Windows. Virtual machines used to be painfully slow and useful only when there was no other option. That is no longer true.

Mac OS X 10.6 running on Parallels is quite fast. Also virtual machine software, like Parallels, has the capability of communicating between the virtual machine and the host native operating system. You can even set up Dropbox or a similar cloud drive on the Mac machine, on the main Mac computer, and on a Windows 10 virtual machine and thus easily move files back and forth between the main machine and virtual machines of all types. That is, virtual machines are quite flexible and can communicate across platforms. One can run a virtual machine in the background and simply go back and forth without rebooting either the main machine or the virtual machine in the same manner as going back and forth between two applications.
Dropbox does not support the desktop application (10.6.8) anymore. You can still use the web browser but it is not as convenient.
 


For what it's worth, you can still buy legitimate copies of FileMaker Pro 16 (the last version available without the expensive "Advanced" features). An Amazon search shows boxed product selling for $120-150.
With fingers crossed, I ordered FileMaker Pro 16 from seller "Macdeals". What I received is what appears to be a legitimate FileMaker full license key card, instructions where to get the FMP 16 electronic download from FileMaker.com, and a "courtesy copy" of the FMP installers on CD. The CD isn't needed, because you can get the most up-to-date installer from FileMaker.

The license key works and FMP 16 doesn't crash on Mojave, so the 32-bit software crisis is averted. The price was pretty good, too; it is the same as I paid for the full version of FileMaker Pro 11 back in 2012.
 


After reading this thread, I also ordered FileMaker 16 from MacDeals via Amazon. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm glad to see that it looks to be on the up and up. I ordered it partly to have a recent version to run on Mojave, but also to save money on a perpetual license for FileMaker 18. A single perpetual license "for individuals" is $540. But an upgrade from v16 or v17 is $197. So I'll be getting two versions (v16 and v18) for almost $200 less than just v18! I was the resident FileMaker expert for research at a big pharma company (Roche) in the 1990s and 2000s, until they moved away from keeping project databases in Filemaker. I then mostly stopped using it, but I'd like to start using it again. I'm interested to see how well Filemaker 16 and 18 handle converting my old relational .fp3 databases.
 


After reading this thread, I also ordered FileMaker 16 from MacDeals via Amazon. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm glad to see that it looks to be on the up and up. I ordered it partly to have a recent version to run on Mojave, but also to save money on a perpetual license for FileMaker 18. A single perpetual license "for individuals" is $540. But an upgrade from v16 or v17 is $197. So I'll be getting two versions (v16 and v18) for almost $200 less than just v18! I was the resident FileMaker expert for research at a big pharma company (Roche) in the 1990s and 2000s, until they moved away from keeping project databases in Filemaker. I then mostly stopped using it, but I'd like to start using it again. I'm interested to see how well Filemaker 16 and 18 handle converting my old relational .fp3 databases.
Interestingly, I had to try to open a FileMaker v1 file in FileMaker v18 and it said it couldn't open it, so I had to go looking for what it can open:

How do I open FileMaker Pro files created in earlier versions?

Basically, 64-bit versions of FileMaker will only open v7 or later files. You have to use FileMaker v7 to FileMaker v11 to convert older files, and they are all 32-bit applications. And those versions won't even open the really old file I have, as it has to be converted up to FileMaker v6 first, then up to FileMaker v11:

Converting older FileMaker Pro files to the .fmp12 file format

FileMaker do (currently) keep trial versions of FileMaker v11 and FileMaker v6 available to download (see the link above) and they will be usable in a Virtual Machine (although a couple of them are in the old Stuffit .sit format). If anyone has old FileMaker files, it will be a very good idea to download those installers and unpack them now, while they are still available, and archive them in case you need to use them in the future.

For reference, here are my step-by-step guides for virtualising macOS:

Virtualising Mac OS X 10.6 Server
Virtualising OS X 10.8
Virtualising OS X 10.11
Virtualising macOS 10.12
 


Interestingly, I had to try to open a FileMaker v1 file in FileMaker v18 and it said it couldn't open it, so I had to go looking for what it can open:
How do I open FileMaker Pro files created in earlier versions?
This is great - thanks for posting these comments on opening older databases! I have recently built a Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server VM, and installed FileMaker v5.5 and v7. FileMaker v7 is converting my fairly complex relational fp3 databases without issue, so it looks like I can do fp3 -> fp7 (on my Mac OS X 10.6 VM) -> current FileMaker Pro. Not too bad - fortunately I don't have that many databases I want to open.
 



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