Claris is constantly finding amazing solutions for all the most common problems.
The Claris solution is inviting because it appeals to everyone. Except that Claris have set up a little turnstile in front of the shortcut and they are asking us to purchase a family pass before we can use it. @OliverBarrett 's situation
The way we think about Claris, and WebDirect (and all the licensing implications) it is really about our own needs and our perceptions for the software. That question can be ilustrated: how do we roll?
For individuals: skates, boards, bikes
For unique requirements: ambulance
For people movers: buses and trains
Claris FileMaker can do it all. It can be a bicycle and it can be a bullet train.
I am working on an application that will be delivered via WebDirect. WebDirect allows us to deliver our FileMaker application to mobile users. We don't have to re-invent the wheel. It is much easier, faster, and much less risk than using other web technologies.
We have the systems and the expertise to be able to set up a 100% web solution that talks back to FileMaker via the Data API. If it were only a front-end web form for anonymous users we do it that way. Even when there is a need to authenticate, for instance, like checking a booking time, we use standard web technologies and connect via the API. We don't use WebDirect for those situations. When we choose to use WebDirect, it delivers amazing results in a powerful and cost efficient way.
How you use the product is up to you, your needs, and your imagation.
From my recent experience, I can say, not really...
I had a similar dream of using web direct as the primary interface. But that all went to crap when web direct seats were considered to be the same as a pro seat.
Then a licensing rule was added where shared hosting wasn't permitted.
Just got too expensive.
I was recently told that with a site license you get 25 "employee" licenses and 100 WD connections. $2,400/year. To me, that still sounds expensive, but if I had a client with that need who would consider FileMaker, I'd definitively look into it ... assuming it doesn't come with any gotchas.
If I needed it, though, I have no idea how to order a site license since it doesn't seem to be displayed on the Claris site as an order-able option. Based on my recent experience with claris "sales" (prevention), I'd try a reseller I guess. I'm told resellers know more about licensing, anyway...
FileMaker Server Advanced 12 was $3000 flat. Not annual. But now I pay $0.
During the last months I had to help licensing for a customer. Therefor I had several phone calls with Klemens Kegebein from filemaker-magazin.de who has been mentioned by @MonkeybreadSoftware in another current licensing thread. He told me about a site license: You have to tell Claris the total number of all employees, whether they use FileMaker or not. You'll be asked every year if the number has changed. If your company has less than 25 employees you can purchase a 25 employee license. This is the minimum site license.
(EDITED → ) 25 People in your company are allowed to use FMP. Customers and subcontractors are allowed to connect to your databases on your FMS through WebDirect and FM Go. I don't know of any connection limit there.
But you can't provide a solution for one customer and another solution for another customer. The solutions have to be 'your' solutions.
Hope what I wrote is understandable
My solutions wouldn't be for a customer. They would be my solutions where one or more customers could input data. IOW, no "hosting" for clients.
Frankly, with all the added restrictions (to maximize Claris' profit), it gets tiresome to worry about all this.
This is exact the use case for a site license.
I still have a client who uses Visual FoxPro. You buy it once and create as many EXEs (projects) as you want. No royalties, or other BS. Of course Visual FoxPro is long dead (thanks MS...not so much), but people using it still seem to refuse, at their own peril with OS changes, etc. over time, to give it up.
I much prefer this model. Charge me more up front and get out of my face with all these profit games.
I don't have any employees (not sure how I would "prove" employees anyway) so that part of the Site License would be totally wasted. I could use the WD connections, but now we're talking about $2,400 per year. Every year. Yikes.
Remember maintenance? You'd pay about 20% for annual upgrades.
Now its a 100% fee for annual upgrades as a subscription.
It's really no surprise why companies, not just Claris, do this. Profit. Cash Flow. There's a minor benefit for you always having the latest version (bugs), but I don't believe this is the motivating factor from a company's perspective.
My IDE for example is subscription also. But, if I stop paying, guess what? It keeps working indefinitely just at a slightly lower version.
In my view, the WORST model is one used by companies like Intuit where they, in my case, tripled my accounting costs with their new FORCED subscription (only, take it or leave it). I believe companies get away with these behaviors from their monopolistic positions in the market.
It may not be a monopoly position but the cost of change is high. There are other accounting packages, so you are not stuck with Intuit. The same is true for Claris, they are in a contested market segment. However, for many of their clients, the investment in Claris goes far beyond the annual license fee.
The hard part of changing from QB is its payroll. Intuit knows this.
I confirm that people at K & K Verlag are friendly, very knowledgeable and helpful regarding FM licensing questions.
Exploiting a customer’s commitment to a platform is bad, unfair and backfires at some point for sure.
With any ERP/Accounting software, the most complicated part is payroll. It's different for each country. Complicated up to the point that SAP BusinessOne does not provide payroll at all: you have to manage wages with something else. If QuickBook has a very good module, they don't have to do anything to keep customers. In fact moving from one ERP/Accounting system to a new one is always a large and costly project. That alone is enough to discourage from moving to another solution.