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Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"?

Ever since Apple killed AppleWorks 6.x and saddled us with iWorks (Pages, Numbers, et al), the one deficit in this transition was an easy-to-use, easy-to-create, visual database program. Filemaker was far too expensive and far too complicated for users who just needed a simple visual database program. Yes, Filemaker tried with Bento, but quickly abandoned it without any reason. And, yes, a few (very few) companies have picked up the vacuum left by Apple, and apps can be found in the App Store, but really, was there ever a simpler visual dababase program than AppleWorks 6.x?

I still use AppleWorks via Snow Leopard Server under Parallels, but I really don't enjoy paying $79 per year to Parallels just to use one software program because no suitable database application exists anymore in macOS.

Sometimes I wish Apple would just separate itself from its iDevices and iWearables, and spin off a company re-christened simply "Apple Computer Inc."
Just my 2 cents.
 


Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"?
It will be interesting to see where Filemaker/Claris are headed, but I'm not encouraged [by them] saying they're heading away from solutions on local servers with perpetual licenses to subscriptions of "around $50 a month per user" (which here in Australia is closer to $75).

I wonder how many individual users would be willing to stump up that much every year - always in the knowledge it will only ever get more expensive.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"? Ever since Apple killed AppleWorks 6.x and saddled us with iWorks (Pages, Numbers, et al), the one deficit in this transition was an easy-to-use, easy-to-create, visual database program. Filemaker was far too expensive and far too complicated for users who just needed a simple visual database program. Yes, Filemaker tried with Bento, but quickly abandoned it without any reason. And, yes, a few (very few) companies have picked up the vacuum left by Apple, and apps can be found in the App Store, but really, was there ever a simpler visual dababase program than AppleWorks 6.x? I still use AppleWorks via Snow Leopard Server under Parallels, but I really don't enjoy paying $79 per year to Parallels just to use one software program because no suitable database application exists anymore in macOS. Sometimes I wish Apple would just separate itself from its iDevices and iWearables, and spin off a company re-christened simply "Apple Computer Inc."
Just my 2 cents.
As far as easy databases go, Bill Atkinson's brilliant HyperCard seems like it might be the best example. Long abandoned by Apple, HyperCard does have a few modern alternatives, such as LiveCode. As far as AppleWorks goes, there is a database included in LibreOffice. But, as far as FileMaker's future, it looks like an expensive, corporate approach, though the Claris website doesn't even work after yesterday's big announcement, simply redirecting back to FileMaker, which is pretty pathetic with such a major announcement.

Meanwhile, Panorama X from ProVue is an innovative and cost-effective Mac-based professional database development app.
 


Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"?...
I use Claris CAD under SheepShaver, but, unfortunately, I don't really expect an update.
 


As far as easy databases go, Bill Atkinson's brilliant HyperCard seems like it might be the best example. Long abandoned by Apple, HyperCard does have a few modern alternatives, such as LiveCode. As far as AppleWorks goes, there is a database included in LibreOffice. But, as far as FileMaker's future, it looks very much like a very expensive, corporate approach, though the Claris website doesn't even work after yesterday's big announcement, simply redirecting back to FileMaker, which is pretty pathetic, with no details about any of the "new" company's products or prices. Meanwhile, Panorama X from ProVue is an innovative and cost-effective Mac-based professional database development app.
Panorama X from ProVue is an excellent database app, quite a bit more powerful than FileMaker and a bit less expensive.
 


It will be interesting to see where Filemaker/Claris are headed, but I'm not encouraged [by them] saying they're heading away from solutions on local servers with perpetual licenses to subscriptions of "around $50 a month per user" (which here in Australia is closer to $75). I wonder how many individual users would be willing to stump up that much every year - always in the knowledge it will only ever get more expensive.
I think (hope) they are talking here about corporate users with multiple 'team' members. This currently works under subscription. Individual users can buy a permanent licence, though it's around £500 (partly so expensive because now only Filemaker Advanced is available, which has a lot of extra facilities I, for one, don't need)

I'm still on OS X 10.9 Mavericks and Filemaker Pro 10 (having converted some years back from AppleWorks) and heavily reliant on it, so an upgrade in my OS or a new computer becomes that much more expensive.
 


As far as AppleWorks goes, there is a database included in LibreOffice.
Unfortunately, the database in LibreOffice (and OpenOffice) is about as easy to use as Microsoft Access (which is to say, not very). I have tried the database in the open-source products and find it wanting, both for function and instructions. Mail merge is a real pain. Perhaps for some more 'literate' users, it is OK, but for the less gifted, not so much.

I still run a ClarisWorks database on my (very old) iMac under Snow Leopard (via remote). For a simple, non-relational database, nothing could be easier to use.
 


Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"?
"FileMaker: already owned the name "Claris", so they are reusing it. The company needed a new name primarily because they have more than one product, so just the name of a single product isn't a good idea for the whole company. There is no deep mystery here — that is basically it. It is also cheaper than doing a new trademark search and putting together a team to "discover" a new name without conflicts.

They acquired Stamplay and now have multiple active products and services, so they now need a company name to span the multiple groups of products and services they are currently running.

Stamplay seems to be a way of getting data out of "data buckets" that folks are already using. I think the notion that the company is pushing people into the cloud misses the point the acquisition has leverage in. This is aimed at folks who are in the "cloud" already and need to 'do better' with the data they have collected. Filemaker [data] could also be woven into that. So could other ones in various hybrid mixes of location and storage mechanism.

Does old-style, single-user, non-network storage have synergy with Stamplay? No. Then it isn't coming back if already retired.
Sometimes I wish Apple would just separate itself from its iDevices and iWearables, and spin off a company re-christened simply "Apple Computer Inc."
Just my 2 cents.
Those iDevices and iWearables are computers. What Apple has shed is that "computer" has a specific form primarily defined in the 1980's. Additionally, if there were close to zero synergy between Apple's products, maybe they could push "Mac" off into a subsidiary like Claris/Filemaker. The coupling is not that low at all. iOS and macOS share a very significant fraction of code. The Wi-Fi/bluetooth subsystem often has substantive overlap. Biometrics and secure enclave solutions have more than substantive overlap. In-house CPU/GPU/cellular modems again have high overlap from a semiconductor 'division' that isn't a detached subsidiary.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Those iDevices and iWearables are computers. What Apple has shed is that "computer" has a specific form primarily defined in the 1980's.
I don't think iTunes and games and app stores and videos and television and accessories and AppleCare and iCloud and other "services" are "computers", though, and that's very clearly what Apple's all about now and where it's making a larger and larger proportion of its money. (Presumably, that's why the company is no longer called Apple "Computer" Inc.)
 


Unfortunately, the database in LibreOffice (and OpenOffice) is about as easy to use as Microsoft Access (which is to say, not very)
I've used Access (some), and it's squishy easy compared to the Libre/OpenOffice twins' "Base", if only because it is possible to directly, er, access, define, create, and edit individual data tables.

I have found a use for Base in LibreOffice, and that's to import a LibreCalc spreadsheet as a new database. What that accomplishes is to extract the values from a spreadsheet and lock them down. Somehow, spreadsheets with calculations infrequently have "wandering" results. Perhaps that's because of "upgrades" to the application, perhaps it's quantum randomness, I've not been able to identify a cause.

Calligra offers Kexi as a cross-platform free and open alternative to Access. I found it very similar to the "Base" module in Libre/Open.

LibreOffice documentation of its mail merge function isn't great. It is possible to use Calc sheets as the source as we do it at work. This document may help:
JB on Programming said:
How to use Libre Office serial document (mail merge) functionality
LibreOffice's mailmerge functionality is a nice feature that allows you to create any kind of serial document, while all documentation seems to indicate that it is only usable for creating e-mails.
Symphytum is a cross-platform "clone" of Apple's abandoned Bento database. If you liked Bento (I found it very confining), you may like Symphytum, which is free and open source. Mac and other downloads are available from this site on GitHub: Symphytum

In my banking years, I did some relatively simple programming in dBase (safe deposit box management, customer grading and contact, document location). In spite of my time investment, I was always seeking any opportunity to replace my (barely adequate) programs with affordable and functional alternatives. By comparison to Filemaker, I found dBase easy. The data tables and indexes were easy to design, and the programming interface to create user menus to access tables straightforward.

My favorite of all those simple databases remains the one included in Microsoft's Works — so easy, it was possible to train users not just how to enter into database forms but how to create and utilize their own and to generate reports and use for mail merge and to extract to the spreadsheet. I understand Works still runs on Windows 10, even though Microsoft discontinued it in 2009. I've managed to get it running in Wine on Linux, but not very usefully.
 


I've used Access (some), and it's squishy easy compared to the Libre/OpenOffice twins' "Base", if only because it is possible to directly, er, access, define, create, and edit individual data tables.
Having used Access back in my "working" days, I would have to agree that it is more straightforward to use than the open source products. I did quite a bit with it back then (even linking it to outside sources), but now, seven years later, the memory has slipped a bit and, after examining the free offerings, they seem more confusing than I remember Access. And, of course, Access is not available in a Mac version, so it becomes even more convoluted to use it in a Mac environment.
 


Here is my short wish list for Claris / FileMaker:

1) A FileMaker Go app for Android OS. FileMaker has had a client for Windows since the beginning, so the logic for not supporting Android is increasingly un-convincing; meanwhile, we are hamstrung, unable to publish apps for more than half the smartphones and tablets out there.

2) Built-integration and sync with iCloud contacts and calendar. Since this is all-Apple, this should be a no-brainer, but it still doesn't exist; expensive and cumbersome 3rd-party plug-ins attempt to fill this gap with only partial success.

3) Fix the server licensing, which in recent iterations has made it increasingly difficult / expensive to expose FileMaker databases to the web. They literally went out of their way to make licensing "anonymous" users more expensive than registered users, to what end I've never understood; this just makes the product less attractive to deploy on the web.

Fix these, and I'll stop complaining about the 40% increase in price over the last 2 versions.
 


It will be interesting to see where Filemaker/Claris are headed, but I'm not encouraged [by them] saying they're heading away from solutions on local servers with perpetual licenses to subscriptions of "around $50 a month per user" (which here in Australia is closer to $75). …
I'm told that there is a post on Filemaker's developer forum by an employee which says that $50 rate is a misprint. The reporter heard "fifty" when the interviewee supposedly said "fifteen". The employee was a bit cagey, saying there was going to be a restructuring of the fee structure as everything is moved to the Cloud. Clarification may be delayed since this is Filemaker Devcon week (in Orlando this year).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch


I've been a regular user of FileMaker since forever (I think I still have version 7 on my hard drive; it's up to 17 or 18 now). Although in the past, I used it for multiple projects, I really only use it for one nonprofit database (which requires a lot of different "layouts" for the data) and some personal things. It's become way too expensive for that. Apple's announcement this week very likely puts me "out" for the future.

I'll continue using my most recent version of FileMaker until it quits working, and then probably turn over the nonprofit project to someone else. ;)

I, too, miss AppleWorks/ClarisWorks' simple visual database. Haven't tried the one in LibreOffice.
 


Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"? Ever since Apple killed AppleWorks 6.x and saddled us with iWorks (Pages, Numbers, et al), the one deficit in this transition was an easy-to-use, easy-to-create, visual database program. Filemaker was far too expensive and far too complicated for users who just needed a simple visual database program. Yes, Filemaker tried with Bento, but quickly abandoned it without any reason. And, yes, a few (very few) companies have picked up the vacuum left by Apple, and apps can be found in the App Store, but really, was there ever a simpler visual dababase program than AppleWorks 6.x? I still use AppleWorks via Snow Leopard Server under Parallels, but I really don't enjoy paying $79 per year to Parallels just to use one software program because no suitable database application exists anymore in macOS.
I miss the original versions of FileMaker and found Bento underwhelming and difficult.

It's not as full featured as you may want, but Tap Forms is very competent, updatable on multiple computers, and easy to work with.
 


I still use AppleWorks via Snow Leopard Server under Parallels, but I really don't enjoy paying $79 per year to Parallels just to use one software program because no suitable database application exists anymore in macOS.
AppleWorks 6 database works in QEMU. I just fired it up to check. Probably in Sheepshaver, too, but I don't have Mac OS handy....
 


I think (hope) they are talking here about corporate users with multiple 'team' members. This currently works under subscription. Individual users can buy a permanent licence, though it's around £500 (partly so expensive because now only Filemaker Advanced is available, which has a lot of extra facilities I, for one, don't need)
We can certainly hope. I've used FileMaker Pro since Version 3, so I am fairly invested from a knowledge point of view. I actually don't mind paying the $800 AUD for the product, provided it can last me several years. It is the premium database app for Macs, and it has outstanding capabilities, albeit often accompanied by an additional slug on the wallet.

If it were to go to $75 a month I'd go to either Xojo or Livecode and use SQLite as the engine - or maybe even just use SequelPro or Querious and set up a MySQL server at home. It would be a PITA but would be workable.

What I hope Claris will take into consideration is that there are lots of people who may have set up small databases of family history, coin or record collections, photos, etc. that they might want to share with their wife or husband at home. It would be a bit rich to make them pay $150 AUD a month for the privilege.
 


I'm still using FileMaker Pro 11 (which still seems to work in Mojave). Like Ralph Begleiter, I only need it to support one non-profit; unlike his, mine is an extremely simple database with only one layout.

I use it to number raffle tickets. I can print the artwork for 8 tickets to an 8.5x11 sheet and then run a stack of those printed sheets through my FileMaker database, which prints the ticket number and tear-off sheet. (I perforate the sheets and cut up the tickets myself – it's a small non-profit, and I only need to print 200.) A "record" consists of the black-and-white data for two tickets, side-by-side, and I have tweaked it to print 4 records to a landscape sheet.

The easy-to-use and precise graphic capabilities of FileMaker Pro make this possible. Previously, our computer-support company handled all of our billing with FileMaker Pro, with a client database of 2,000 or so and up to 8 employees. Since the thing was put together and tweaked over years by us two principals, it was a kludgy relational thing of beauty.

Does anyone know if something like this is possible with Panorama or any of the other apps mentioned here?
 


Re: Filemaker's name being changed to Claris.... I suppose this is a shot in the dark, but does this mean that Apple/Filemaker/Claris/AppleWorks will produce (once again) a database for "the rest of us"?
Unfortunately, that seems extremely unlikely. The last decade or so of FileMaker has been all about adding more features and catering to professional developers. On the bright side, it appears that Claris remains committed to the current FileMaker platform (for example, see VP of Product Management, Srini Gurrapu's blog post), but everything about the announcement points to extending and integrating into cloud-based resources, and nothing points to new desktop apps.

I don't begrudge FileMaker/Claris for making the strategic decision to focus on professional developers (with the increasing licensing fees that come with that), but it really does seem that there is a significant gap in the database market. Several MacInTouch readers have commented on how they use old versions of FileMaker to support small non-profits; current versions of FileMaker are too complex and far too expensive (even with non-profit discounts) to fit those use cases now. I'm involved with one small non-profit that has been using FileMaker for more than a decade, but they no longer can justify the costs of upgrading/maintaining the platform. FileMaker simply is out of reach for small local charities, church groups, and so on.

I'd love to see a product that resembles FileMaker from the version 4 through version 7 era. The product was simple enough that any reasonably proficient user could build useful databases and web-enable them without spending thousands of dollars or having to develop even basic programming skills, yet it was powerful enough to deploy serious, multi-user solutions, especially at the department or small organization level.
Sometimes I wish Apple would just separate itself from its iDevices and iWearables, and spin off a company re-christened simply "Apple Computer Inc."
Just my 2 cents.
It would really be nice to have an "Apple Computer" company again!
 



The venerable Valentina is still chugging along, free for up to 5 connections. I used it once years ago, and recall it was pretty good.
Thanks, Tracy. In fact, Paradigma Software [with which I am associated] has several solutions for both ends. Valentina Server can serve two types of database via Valentina DB Server (our own, ultra-fast database) and Valentina SQLite Server (like it sounds); has a built-in reports system with Valentina Reports Server; and, more recently, can serve Valentina Forms.

You can build Valentina Forms in Valentina Studio Pro, then those forms can be deployed locally or registered on Valentina Server. The 'client' is our free Valentina Studio, which runs on macOS, Linux and Windows. The scripting of controls uses JavaScript. Reports and Forms can also use any number of other databases, including MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and MS SQL Server.
 


I'm still using FileMaker Pro 11 (which still seems to work in Mojave).
FWIW, I'm running version 10 on Sierra. It works fine for everything I do, even though it's not a supported installation.

According to the FileMaker version history on Wikipedia, FileMaker 12 is the first version that is 64-bit, which means that FileMaker 11 and older will not run on Catalina. But I suspect those of us who don't need the latest version can go buy a license for anything later (FileMaker 12-18) and run that.

A quick look at Amazon shows people selling new copies of Version 16 on optical media for $125-150. I'll probably take advantage of something like that when hardware upgrades force me into buying a new FileMaker release.
 


I've used FileMaker Pro as far back as version 2.1. I recall it being simple to use, yet powerful. It wasn't relational then, but I didn't need such functionality. I was frustrated when Apple introduced iWork without a database component. While I know the chances are practically nil, a simple Apple database would be nice... and I don't mean Bento!
 


You might also take a look at Helix RADE (QSA Toolworks). It still exists and is in v8 (64-bit beta). It's a relational database that's icon-based. I've used Helix Server for decades.
 


Sadly for some of us, Mike Wright is retiring, or at least on his 77th birthday has just announced his intention of doing so on his 78th. Happy for Mike.

This after (checks finger & toes) 40* years of involvement in the iData app, from early work with Robin Cassidy and the eminent Mr. Green, of Cassidy & Green fame. Mike joined them when the code was called InfoGenie. I go back to their original RolaDex on the Mac 128K, where it squeezed everything into RAM and was astoundingly fast.

Totally unstructured, yet with instant finds, it has been a life support system and aux brain for me since then, with the tightest keyboard short-cut possible, Control-z, called endlessly.

Alternatives were explored when they appeared, but nothing more productive found.

The code has many hidden powers, and it is even able, with some fiddling, to drop cells over PDF graphics of governmental forms and seed them from a easily built database, more easily done than in some other apps claiming the ability — essentially mail-merge on steroids.

(This triggered when our Australian government required pensioners to submit a 490+ field, 16-page paper financial statement every two weeks! The iData output was a perfect replica. In the submission to make certain it was OK, finished up in discussion with the HOD, who was astounded at how big ‘his’ forms were, and the admin load on old people. 'They' finished up totally revising the Department admin structure, and the load was off us. Thanks, Mike. Your code work has had huge benefits to others.)

And thanks, Ric, for all your help with basic database availability, capability and prices. However, there’s still nothing quite like iData for usability, in my opinion.

I've decided iData 3 will ’see-me-out', as it is still functional in macOS Sierra, and v4 will go to Mojave, but I do intend to buy one more licence from Mike to micro-help him have a new Mac in his retirement. Though why he would want one is a bit of a mystery to this mid-2012 hanger-on to hers. :)

*OK, 41 years. Abacus batteries are hard to find.
 


What I hope Claris will take into consideration is that there are lots of people who may have set up small databases of family history, coin or record collections, photos, etc. that they might want to share with their wife or husband at home. It would be a bit rich to make them pay $150 AUD a month for the privilege.
I wouldn't get your hopes up. I've just been looking into FileMaker Pro to update my website, and to be frank, they've ramped up the greed. I use Version 10 a lot, and it would be extremely difficult to move to another database app. Where, under 10, there was a Standard and an Advanced version, the latter having specialised facilities to do with web publishing that I don't need, there is now only the Advanced version. Where, before, the individual licence allowed one desktop and one laptop computer, it's now $540 for one computer only. If they go subscription I shudder to think of the cumulative cost.

Panorama X, which is a subscription, is at its cheapest deal $300 for 5 years, so if I survive another ten years (to 87) in a non-gaga condition, that's $600 - more expensive than buying FileMaker Pro (and their 'free monts' offer is no use to me, I use FileMaker Pro daily).
 


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