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...FileMaker has never had low-cost "client-only" licenses...
Back in the days of FileMaker Pro 5, when I first envisioned buying my own copy, I thought the $249 price tag was very reasonable for what you got, and comes as close as possible to the above description. Given that I am not a business, and therefore need only a single copy, there is absolutely no way I could say the same of the current $540 price.
 





Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Yes, but only for individual licenses, as I understood their store.
Actually, there is a perpetual license option for "teams", as well, but it's not cheap.
Go to FileMaker Store: FileMaker Server (on-premise) and click the "Perpetual" tab, to get
Warning about Perpetual Licensing
Please note that Annual licensing is the most popular choice. Annual licensing allows you to pay for and use the licensed software on a year-by-year basis. Product upgrades and updates are automatically included with this option. Perpetual licensing is triple the price of Annual licensing.
Then see prices, e.g.
  • $540 per user (5-9 users)
  • $396 per user (50-99 users)
  • 100+ users: Contact us...
 



I am a long time user of FileMaker - switching from FoxPro after purchase by Microsoft years ago and Microsoft's disastrous attempt to "Microsoft" (it literally would not run and was withdrawn for 6 or more months). It eventually became Access.

I don't understand the current hullabaloo about the current pricing plan (annual fees). This pricing plan has been in effect for more than two years as has my billing. At this point, my principal use is as a non-profit - also annual billing at a reduced rate but still very substantial cost.

Our use of FileMaker is with a very large collection of photographic images (c. 150,000 images). We are looking to use Filemaker Server to put the collection on the Internet.
 


FileMaker and Apple continue to operate in a fantasy world where everybody lines up excitedly to apply the latest greatest updates to operating systems and installed software. The real world of small business does not operate this way; for reasons of stability and cost, most small businesses are not running the latest operating system, and may in fact be two or three back. Denying security updates to these people as an attempt at leverage to get them to upgrade is a fools' errand: 1) many people simply won't do it, and 2) those people will be insecure, which ups the potential for 3) security disasters and debacles for end users.

FileMaker's byzantine licensing and compatibility policies are already challenging to support in the marketplace, and mom-and-pop shops really hate being told that they have to replace their computers (so they can get the new macOS), in order to get the new FileMaker (just so they can stay secure).

They also hate it when they are told that they cannot simply add a new staff person to the existing, stable workgroup, because compatible products are no longer being (legitimately) sold: the choices are a) to upgrade the entire office to a new version (obsoleting computers along the way, etc.), meaning $thousands in software costs and $thousands in IT support costs, b) to go without... or, c) to buy unsupported old versions on the grey or black markets. Yes, I am saying that support policies like this drive people to software piracy, and no; I don't like it.
 


I queried customer support at Filemaker about single licenses. I've been using Filemaker for a long time but it's only used for my own needs and never for multiple users.

The email reply was: "We will continue to offer individual licenses of FileMaker Pro Advanced and will support the current version and one version back."
 


The email reply was: "We will continue to offer individual licenses of FileMaker Pro Advanced and will support the current version and one version back."
I assume this query was made after this policy change was announced? I see nothing in the official announcement that gives particularly concrete support to what you have been told.

If it is true, however, I wonder if offering upgrade pricing is included in their definition of "support"? If you happen to be further behind than that, are you then stuck paying full price in the event you want to upgrade?
 


Maybe I'm pessimistic, but unless I am misreading things, a "perpetual" license is about to get a lot less valuable by their definition of the term. Sure, it will allow you to legally run the software as long as it remains possible to do so, but even updates that are strictly for security will stop 12 months after your "maintenance agreement" ends. It still sounds like a subscription in all but name. Not cool.
How long did pre-subscription perpetual licenses typically maintain software updates for any single version of this program?
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More information from MacInTouch archives:

upgrade versionqualifying versionsupgrade price
FileMaker 17FileMaker 14+$197
FileMaker 9FileMaker 7+$179
FileMaker 8FileMaker 6+$179
 


Actually, there is a perpetual license option for "teams", as well, but it's not cheap.
Go to FileMaker Store: FileMaker Server (on-premise) and click the "Perpetual" tab, to get

Then see prices, e.g.
  • $540 per user (5-9 users)
  • $396 per user (50-99 users)
  • 100+ users: Contact us...
Perpetual licensing also has discounts for a multi-year contract -- e.g., that $540/yr/user for 5-9 users becomes $237.67/yr/user if you choose three years. And the $396 for 50-99 users becomes $174.33/yr/user for three years. Both examples are 56% savings over a one year contract.
 



Why would someone choose a multi-year “perpetual” contract instead of a cheaper subscription?
1) As protection against surprise price increases in future year annual subscriptions.

2) Because you *own* a perpetual license, and can keep using it (without future updates or releases if you choose not to pay maintenance) even after the term. Not so with Annual Licensing, as far as I know: you lose the right to use the software if you stop the subscription (at least that was the case in the past).

Soliant wrote up a useful overview of FM licensing (but this was 2016):
FileMaker Licensing Options
FileMaker introduced annual licensing in 2013. Paying the equivalent of 1/3 of the perpetual upfront cost annually entitles you to all the benefits of a perpetual license that has a current maintenance contract: access to new versions of the software and to FileMaker support. A key difference is that you do not own the software; i.e. if you do not renew the annual license, then you must uninstall the software.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Today's update from the Apple subsidiary formerly known as FileMaker:
Srini Gurrapu said:
Transformation is all about flow.
... In this era of artificial intelligence, the stitching together of manual and automatic processes, both on-prem and in the cloud will unlock business outcomes never before possible. Ultimately, the goal is to get the entire business into a “flow state” and supercharge your innovation.

Claris Connect offers automation with no boundaries with the ability to connect cloud and on-prem resources seamlessly in a flow. For those using Claris FileMaker, automation is seamlessly integrated with modern apps and built on Claris Core - sharing the same security, agility and global availability built on the unified cloud fabric.

We look forward to the amazing transformations we will create together. To request access, please visit us here.
#AI #Claris
 



This is such corporate-sales-mumbo-jumbo! "Flow state"? "supercharge your innovation"?
My observation: "Transformation" was corporate-speak introducing a new process to justify bringing in new hires and laying off the older and more highly paid employees who kept your work flowing.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My observation: "Transformation" was corporate-speak introducing a new process to justify bringing in new hires and laying off the older and more highly paid employees who kept your work flowing.
Actually, I believe, in reality it's the opposite: FileMaker can't find programmers willing to work on the old code....
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Mumbo-jumbo free version: Claris Connect is IFTTT for back-end developer APIs.
But see also:
Microsoft said:
Build Custom Business Apps | Microsoft Power Apps
... Power Apps drives business transformation

Power Automate | Microsoft Power Platform
... Microsoft Flow is now Power Automate—a versatile automation platform that integrates seamlessly with hundreds of apps and services.
Reduce repetitive manual tasks with UI flows (preview), a new robotic process automation feature of Power Automate.


List of supported connectors | Power Automate
Anyone else hearing an echo here?
Claris International said:
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More about Apple's new Claris initiatives and competition:
Claris said:
ARN said:
Claris launches workflow automation tool beta
Apple-owned Claris has opened beta access to Claris Connect, its new tool for linking third-party apps such as Slack and Mailchimp to automate workflows.

... Claris Connect functions in a similar manner to other workflow automation and integration apps such as Zapier and IFTTT, sometimes referred to as integration platform as a service (iPaaS). It lets users create automated workflows, with trigger events in one app kicking off actions in another.

A drag-and-drop interface is designed to make the platform accessible to users with a range of technical skill levels.
 


I'd like to see Filemaker announce an initiative of improved customer service.

I called the "New Sales" section three times today and each time received a recorded message saying they were busy and to leave a message. There was not even an option to hold on and wait, which I would happily have done.

I finally left a message and 5 hours later I'm still waiting for that call back.
 


I finally left a message and 5 hours later I'm still waiting for that call back.
Well, it took over 30 hours, but I finally received a call back from Claris. Sadly, it was a non-stop conversation about how silly I was to want a perpetual licence and their "overwhelming customer feedback has been everyone wants subscriptions".

After several minutes I tired of the salesman telling me how wrong I was and eventually hung up. I can only hope they were recording the call so they can see what their sales people are doing.

For those who are currently seeing perpetual server licences in your stores, I suggest you buy them now. Apparently Australia is the first country to eliminate them, but from next year, every other country will follow suit, and it will be subscription only (if you need FileMaker Server).

This call was so bad, I'm now completely reconsidering our use of Filmmaker. If this is an example of the customer service we get for pre-sales, I shudder to think what it will be like when they already have your credit card number and a subscription.
 


I shudder to think what it will be like when they already have your credit card number and a subscription.
That particular problem serves as a big reminder to use a credit card and not a debit card for such transactions, if not for all online transactions!
 


My ladyfriend used FileMaker Pro 11 to manage a very simple database, containing information about her cookbook collection and tested recipes. The database files all have extension fp7, perhaps indicating that they were created or updated to a format used by FileMaker 7. She is currently on a 2016 MacBook Pro, running macOS 10.14.6. FileMaker Pro 11 probably won't run on this machine, and she can't afford their current enterprise-targeted products. She is certainly not a database nerd, nor am I. Is there any cheap (or free) and easy-to-use product that can convert and run her files? Valentina Studio?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... She is currently on a 2016 MacBook Pro, running macOS 10.14.6. FileMaker Pro 11 probably won't run on this machine, and she can't afford their current enterprise-targeted products. She is certainly not a database nerd, nor am I. Is there any cheap (or free) and easy-to-use product that can convert and run her files? Valentina Studio?
FileMaker Pro 17 looks like the minimum for macOS 10.14 compatibility.

You can export data in a standard format from the old FileMaker and re-import it into a newer/cheaper database, but you'd have to re-do the forms/layouts and any scripts involved.

There are some interesting FileMaker migration/conversion tools, though I haven't used any.
Also, for what it's worth:
 


... a very simple database ... She is currently on a 2016 MacBook Pro, running macOS 10.14.6. FileMaker Pro 11 probably won't run on this machine, and she can't afford their current enterprise-targeted products.
If you already have a license/installer for FileMaker Pro 11, I would give it a try. I'm currently running 11 on macOS 10.12 Sierra without any problems. Version 11 is a 32-bit app, so it won't work on Catalina (macOS 10.15), but it may work on Mojave (macOS 10.14).

The fact that FileMaker won't support the platform doesn't necessarily mean it won't work. Especially if you're not using advanced features like web publishing.
 


My ladyfriend used FileMaker Pro 11 to manage a very simple database, containing information about her cookbook collection and tested recipes. The database files all have extension fp7, perhaps indicating that they were created or updated to a format used by FileMaker 7. She is currently on a 2016 MacBook Pro, running macOS 10.14.6. FileMaker Pro 11 probably won't run on this machine, and she can't afford their current enterprise-targeted products. She is certainly not a database nerd, nor am I. Is there any cheap (or free) and easy-to-use product that can convert and run her files? Valentina Studio?
How about using a VM to run FileMaker Pro 11? Per the FileMaker site, this version will run on Mac OS X 10.6, which I think is still available from Apple as the server version. Either VMware Fusion or Parallels should work.

It seems to me that we are entering a time when the continued 'progress' of operating systems and the obsolescence of perfectly good solutions is making the VM route for maintaining the usability of programs/solutions much more inviting. Changing between databases is never straightforward. A VM would allow her to continue doing what she does for a long time with the only learning curve being the setup and use of a VM.
 



... The database files all have extension fp7, perhaps indicating that they were created or updated to a format used by FileMaker 7. ...
FileMaker changes the extension when they change the file format radically.
.fp7 was first used with FileMaker Pro 7, last used with FMP 11.
.fmp12 was first used with FileMaker Pro 12 and used through at least FileMaker Pro 17 (I didn't upgrade to 18). So a database created in FileMaker Pro 11 would have an .fp7 extension.

FileMaker's stated macOS requirements only include the latest releases and don't get retroactively updated, so the requirements for FileMaker Pro 11 won't include Mojave.

I've lightly used FileMaker Pro 11 in Mojave with no issues. From what I've read on a couple of FileMaker mailing lists, many people are using FileMaker Pro 11 in Mojave without issues.
 


This is a question I have been pondering for a while with no good results:

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.

I'm thinking something probably based on SQL or ODBC. Flat file is fine. Don't really need relational for what I'm aiming at. I am, or actually was, a long time Filemaker developer who got tired of their relentless, not-worthwhile updates that they want to charge you an arm and a leg for, and their recent seeming abandonment of individual users. My goal is to not be suddenly left without masses of searchable data available to me. My demands are not too great. I understand what I'm asking for will be a big comedown from Filemaker.

I basically want a limited, or better, graphical user interface; ability to show single record or list views with selected fields; ability to search for data in a record or just in a specific field; and basic formatted printing ability. I had hoped there might be some front ends for the NeoOffice/LibreOffice Base module, but I haven't been able to locate anything other than just the most basic data input. I haven't tried MySQL.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
 


If it's really a simple database, FileMaker Pro 11 may work for her. It works for me on a dead-simple database in macOS 10.14.6 on a maxed-out 2018 Mac Mini, and it worked for me in Mojave on a mid-2012 MacBook Pro Retina.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... 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....
Perhaps consider MySQL or MariaDB (with a handy database manager, such as Querious or MySQL Workbench) plus ProcessWire (if LibreOffice Base doesn't work for you) or, alternatively, maybe look at LiveCode?
 


FileMaker Pro 17 looks like the minimum for macOS 10.14 compatibility.
... I had FileMaker Pro 14, but in testing, the app would open but crash when either opening an existing file or starting a new file.

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
 


How about using a VM to run FileMaker Pro 11? Per the FileMaker site, this version will run on Mac OS X 10.6, which I think is still available from Apple as the server version. Either VMware Fusion or Parallels should work. It seems to me that we are entering a time when the continued 'progress' of operating systems and the obsolescence of perfectly good solutions is making the VM route for maintaining the usability of programs/solutions much more inviting. Changing between databases is never straightforward. A VM would allow her to continue doing what she does for a long time with the only learning curve being the setup and use of a VM.
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.
 




I've lightly used FileMaker Pro 11 in Mojave with no issues. From what I've read on a couple of FileMaker mailing lists, many people are using FileMaker Pro 11 in Mojave without issues.
FileMaker 11 will run on Mojave, but it is not very well behaved; it takes a long time to launch, and there are graphic anomalies. If your database is relatively simple, it will be fine; if it is especially complex, you may have issues, including unexpected quits.

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.

While we're on the subject of FileMaker... my tests show that FileMaker 15 will run in macOS versions from 10.10 Yosemite all the way through and including 10.15 Catalina; as such, it gets the prize for maximum compatibility. FileMaker 15 will open all .fmp12 files, but it will not open such files when hosted with FileMaker Server versions 17 and 18.
 


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