We got a solution for a customer where people from outside the company need to get access to some forms, country-wide.
Since there are ‘connections’ needed, we did the math and compared the total price with a third-party solution that should be replaced (a pure web based application, mySQL, php, etc.)
For a hundred connections, the costs per year are about 25K in our country, renting. Server-stuff not included.
Then, we asked for the costs of the current solution: 27k, yearly. Servers included
Good! We hope that we do not need 100 connections - it will be more than 50 for sure
There is something (just a little thing) I have to address, thought:
The money for the current, third party application goes fully to the software company that created that solution.
I’ve been thinking about this recently too.
Once upon a time FileMaker was seriously competitive in what it could provide. That isn’t the case now. Not only are there a lot of great SaaS that are industry specific and fully featured. There are also large code libraries that reduce the overall effort of putting something new together. And there are ways to combine things that really belong to FileMaker’s sweet spot - like Zapier.
If I use FileMaker to develop a product my clients will have to pay ongoing fees to FileMaker. As an FBA I get a small percentage. The cut that I get is very similar to me on-selling a product for a SaaS provider.
However, in the case of FMP, I have built the FileMaker product - it is all my IP - and I’ve spent a lot of time/effort doing that.
If I develop in Vue/React/Node I have a slightly greater overhead in development but I’m operating in a completely different space. There are no extra client/server software requirements. There aren’t extra hardware requirements. There aren’t limits on scale. The ongoing profits after cost of provision are all mine.
Agreed, there’s no cheap way to deploy that kind of thing with fmPro/Go/Web Direct.
FileMaker has never really been good for developing public-facing apps. People have always turned to the web publishing capabilities for those solutions.
The Data API + node red is a great option. Lui de la Parra’s devcon video was inspiring.
FM BetterForms offers a nice framework for integrating websites with FM and only costs like $50/mo. I’ve worked a bit with it and it’s pretty cool.
Typeform/google forms + Zapier can also easily do the trick if you’re just collecting input, and these can write directly to FM with the DAPI.
Frankly, I think there is a solution available, backed by FileMaker that would be far cheaper than 27k/yr.
The first problem here is the number of concurrent users. From the profile of the endusers, it is likely that 20 will exceed very soon, maybe we can go with 50, 100 should be enough.
If the users are forced to logout too soon (etc), they will refuse to use the tool…
The second problem is, that one of the users needs to alter the forms since changes will be quite frequent. We got layouts that fit this need - but not with an ‘open web’ based solution.
We have the knowledge to produce a solution based on html/ruby/etc, but:
- to get airborne, quite a couple of forms/examples are needed
- the customer needs to run a test very soon
- several external ‘sources’ like hospitals, insurances, et all are involved, just waiting to ‘kill&grill everything’
So, plan B will be a solution based on open source methods - but still with a fms
If we do the math with an ‘open source’ method, yearly cost (would be cheeper than fm rental) would go into our wallet - but dealing with the quick start-up and the ability for end-users to alter the forms (layouts) makes it harder
In short: FM licenses for end-web-users are much too high - but not without any reason. Depends on details…
Yeah I hear you. I think the fact that you’re still leaning toward doing it in FM vs super cheap options like typeform + zapier suggests that FM is a good value for what you get, primarily in dev cost savings. But hey, if Claris wanted to lower their prices I wouldn’t complain.