Goodbye FileMaker

Hi all,

For some time I have struggled to make sense of the pricing strategy FileMaker have pursued - it is "really" difficult to sell in my area of expertise.

Having a 5 user minimum licence for a server based solution and making that a yearly cost before I have even built in my development costs and maintenance fees just make it non viable. The removal of the runtime is an absolute disaster for FileMaker in my opinion - why not have the option but charge a fee every time you deploy a runtime solution?

I have been evaluating alternatives for some time and have now rewritten my core solution in the new development tool of choice.

I always struggled with some of the clunkiness around the way FileMaker used context and specific layouts in order to determine which tables were available - it just seems a clunky way of controlling the scope. Likewise with the scripting and calculation engines - they just seem very dated and difficult to code in.

I do love the ease with which you can pull together a total solution with FileMaker Go etc but the negatives out-way the positives for me.

So good luck everyone - you are all very helpful and lovely people - I'm jumping ship and feel energised by the choice.

See ya.


What’s your new tool of choice?

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Yep, what alternative have you found? Always interested to know if there's a better ship for me to jump to!

I'm using Xojo - I love the flexibility it allows. Love the object oriented language (not scripting but true programming which I find easier).

No end user costs - I pay for a licence which gives me 12 months of updates - after that I can either continue to use the product as is or renew for 12 more months updates. There are zero costs that I must pass onto my customers - it compiles down to machine binary executables for Mac, Windows and Linux (inc ARM variants like Raspberry Pi).

I would encourage you to take a look.


Also develop web apps and deploy those too.

Not to be negative, and I understand where you're coming from as I have not been able to convince any new (or current) client to consider FileMaker either (I like FileMaker a lot, but have resigned myself to only use it for some quick prototyping and for small personal projects.). I wish the licensing situation were different, but I realized long ago there are, in all likelihood, no licensing compromises coming from FMI.

However, you may have problems marketing your skills with XoJo's Object Basic, but otherwise, as long as you're OK with another small proprietary company, it's probably OK.

I looked at Xojo and was impressed by its demo, but I couldn't get past those two items.

My IDEs include: Java, Python, C/C++, and JavaScript (which I probably use in that order)...

But, and I mean this sincerely, best of luck! :slight_smile:


Wether FileMaker or Xojo, the plugin provider is named MBS :slight_smile:

beside the official Xojo forum, there is also a rebel one like the fm soup for Xojo:


No it's fine. My clients don't need to know what I develop solutions in - I work in a fairly narrow market segment anyway - builders merchants, timber merchants and plumbing merchants. Most leverage an ERP solution from a company called Kerridge - most of my work is to build solutions that accompany that ERP system and solve issues that the ERP system makes - interfacing, exporting, data manipulation and providing bolt on hardware solutions for data capture.

Xojo has it's problems too but the power it offers is refreshing - I can create Mac/Windows daemons to handle data manipulation, sockets, serial interfaces etc.

I don't want to slag off FileMaker - it's a great tool and some of the recent additions are super but I have lost 3 recent tenders as the client literally laughed when I presented my proposal - the bulk of my costs were FileMaker licensing costs!

Have fun!


I experienced the "laughing experience" too when I had presented an FMS solution to a prospect. My other two prospect attempts were flat "No ways". Learned my lessons.

Sounds like you have a good path forward. You're right, especially small clients do not usually need to know what you develop in.

Sounds great! Enjoy!


Godspeed! One cool thing about this situation is you still know FileMaker so if you come across a client who does use it, even for just part of their system, you can integrate easily.


One more thing....I do like about Xojo is **NO ROYALTIES or Runtimes ($$$) **.

Xojo's royalty and runtime cost free distribution model (like Java, .NET, etc.) is how I've been successful: creating an app that 1 user or 10,000 can use for free. That model is still what most clients I run across seem to want.

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Indeed. If I sell my customers an annual support agreement, not having that licensing cost from FileMaker makes a huge difference to the cost charged to the customer and gives me more scope to increase my profit margin.

I like that it actually compiles down to a native binary too.


On top of that, it uses Discourse :smiley:.

And reading through couple of threads some people had issues with Xojo as a company. Grass is greener or not after all :sweat_smile:

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No platform is without issues. If a developer/business can cope with those issues largely depends on how the organisation behind the platform is handling them.

Interesting. I browsed discussions in and it appears that this forum is home to a good number of long-time Xojo developers who became uncomfortable with the platform vendor’s grip on the vendor-owned community site. Sounds familiar to me.

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You got it.
I read forums about FileMaker, Xojo, Xcode and a few more.
All have the same complains from long term users about unfixed bugs, the company developing in the wrong direction, deprecating beloved features and introducing new buggy features.

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I got a professional license of xojo, hoping to use that more in the future than today...

Some things are easier with fm - as with all dev apps.. One needs to 'jump in' - as with all dev apps...

We do not fm runtimes, so our business model is different. The main problem with fm is not to distribute royality free apps/modules - but the future..

  • how can we use our custom iOS fmgo crm in the next 3-4 years? (those customers need 'connections', 3x the cost of a normal fm client)
  • do we need to install every new version, users have all kind of iPhones? (go19 needs ios13, where some 17/18 apps are slower than under ios 12)
  • what happens when there are quarterly updates, can I still buy and not rent in the future? Fms18 has still some issues (read the release notes for fms19..) - after 1 year
  • customers can not update every Mac every year, they got plans when to update what workstation, other sw defines that (fm is not the most important application there..) as well


we got installations on governement sites and in the health sector, where we need to qualify the situation (concerning 'how is it in 5 years or so') every couple of months. That question comes because of the ISO certification (yes.. but it is the way it is). Not easy in general, even harder when it comes to fm (fm is not Microsoft...)

Besides of that, we are quite happy with fm as a platform, although we use that in a conservative sense (no javascript, no stamplay, etc. - conventional fm work..). We are very fast when it comes to customer's wishes, new 'must haves' because of ISO/BI, etc.

Fm is very stable here - for years. We had not one single outgage since we moved to fm15 (under 11, there were some issues with fms, needed to restart fms every night, done by non-fm-scripts). Under fm11, we had one issue (once) when we copied cf and scripts from one modul to an other - 'ghost-elements', solved somewhere in the fm12-run. We had to go to the last 'good' backup and re-import the data

Like Markus said - no platform is perfect. I like FileMaker. What I cannot do is make it pay the bills so I have to look elsewhere for options - when it comes to cross platform the available field narrows significantly- Xojo are the nearest, at this time, to achieving this.

The discontent among the the established users of Xojo appears to be mainly around the implementation of the new V2.0 apis. They decided to change the language structure to make it more compliant with programming standards of today and for those with established code bases this left them with a lot of work to move to this latest release.

As a newbie I don’t have those challenges but I can understand their frustrations.


I also made the decision to scale back on FM. Team license will be dropped as well as the developer subscription. Instead, I will acquire a single user license for personal use. This was my starting point a decade ago.
Needing solid RDBMS features, I did not get any of the stuff I need (improved portals, database schema management, improved user UI like better tab objects, among others). All these new connectivity things do not really matter in my applications.
For applications I developed, reliability is above anything else. That I am still concerned about FM's regression testing for new versions contributed to the decision, together with the lack of a known bugs database.

I will stay a member of this valuable forum, working on some small personal FM projects.

P.S. The teams license will expire this month. My developer subscription will expire in November.
Regardless, Claris insists that I deinstall the server app before expiry of the team license. I cannot simply load the DS license in order to replace the team license until November.
So I will deinstall FMS in order to comply with contractual requirements - and off it will remain.