I was recently asked by another site to do a FileMaker Pro review, and I think it only fitting to share my FileMaker review here for our readers as well. 🙂
By David Thorp
What do you like best about FileMaker Pro?
FileMaker Pro takes the core tasks involved with managing, storing and processing information and simplifies them into an intuitive user experience. The best thing about FileMaker Pro is how broadly useful it can be to almost anyone with nearly any level of technical skill. Even as a seasoned FileMaker Pro developer, I marvel at how useful it can be for daily tasks or short projects.
There are many levels of FileMaker Pro, accessible with increasing time and experience invested in learning the platform and using it to create solutions.
Anyone with some time, talent, curiosity and a copy of FileMaker Pro can create a custom software solution which addresses complex business needs; moreover, they can do it in a fraction of the time and with significantly less technical skill than could be produced using a traditional application development framework. Even the basic beginner can open the program straight from the box, and quickly produce incredible results, and that has always been FileMaker Pro’s claim to fame.
However over almost 30 years it has developed and grown into a serious rapid application development environment for quickly and relatively easily building professional business applications that scale very well. These latter applications require a greater level of skill and experience, but the point is FileMaker Pro is a lot more than just a “simple” database for beginners.
As consultants and custom software developers, my colleagues and I with Excelisys have used FileMaker Pro to develop high end professional systems which manage processes, cataloging, inventory tracking, ordering, invoicing, payments, project management, event management, contact management, all manner of reporting, administration, quality assurance, and the list goes on – for companies with anything from one to hundreds of simultaneous users accessing this information and managing even millions of records of data.
In recent years FileMaker Pro has evolved from just a desktop application with some web connectivity to a comprehensive platform for creating cross-platform desktop, web, and mobile applications.
What do you dislike about FileMaker Pro?
The diverse and powerful feature set of FileMaker Pro make it a “blank slate” in many ways for development. Therefore, because it’s so easy for end users to begin creating solutions quickly which address basic business needs, they often skip the planning required for developing more complex solutions required by more fundamental problems.
For professional developers like myself, it can be frustrating to see a client who’s spent a great deal of time creating a solution that’s not technically sustainable and then expects to work with that solution to help them achieve a complicated objective.
The middle ground between DIY development and the need for professional custom development is sometimes murky territory, and this is an area where FileMaker Pro’s greatest asset in its friendly, easy-to-use approach can become a liability if users don’t watch out for how complex their needs are and stop to consider when it might be time to ask for help from professionals, like those at Excelisys and any number of other consulting firms specializing in FileMaker Pro development.
What business problems are you solving with FileMaker Pro? What benefits have you realized using FileMaker Pro?
I’ve solved problems as diverse as the businesses of my clients from manufacturing to tourism to design firms to any number of other industries and applications. Each has a basic need to see what material, intellectual, and human assets they have, and mange the way they flow in, out and through their business.
One of the more universal problems that I’ve used FileMaker Pro to help solve for many companies is moving their processes away from time-consuming paper-based systems and into a single system which simplifies the way information is collected, stored and processed from forms.
These efforts make the work lives of those users significantly more efficient, and invariably improve their bottom lines. For any serious business trying to make a profit, the time and costs saved by a well designed, professionally developed application/solution always offsets the investment that goes into it. With FileMaker Pro that investment is usually significantly less than with other platforms, which nearly always makes it the best choice of platform for the solution.
For which purposes do you use FileMaker Pro?
Relational Databases, Custom Applications on desktop, mobile and web.
Recommendations to others considering FileMaker Pro;
There are many FileMaker Pro pros and cons, but for small applications, just dive right in! For complex professional solutions, be sure you know how to plan and design your solution properly. If you’re not confident in that, then hire the professionals, but be comforted that the professionals using FileMaker Pro can likely deliver better results faster than with most other application development platforms.
About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go database solutions, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel and MS Access to FileMaker Pro conversions/migrations, iPhone and iPad business solutions, and other various database frameworks and web technologies that automate your organization’s data solution needs for use on the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235.
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