Release Cycles and Adoption

I read the FM 19 Roadmap thread with interest. I am unfortunately unconvinced a more frequent release cycle will be beneficial. I am simply unsure. Let me explain.

I recommend my on-premise customers that they consider releases only if they contain desirable features or fixes. Why? Because they spend resources to test releases to ensure their mission critical solutions still work. Some of my customers are strict about that.

Is it business as usual with the new release cycle? Claris has a history of only supporting the last three major releases. This is already a bit of a pain point with some of my customers. What will the new support policy be now that there is no more concept of a major release?

Things differ for FileMaker Cloud customers. They can not choose a release. One of my customers is already moving away from FileMaker Cloud for that reason. How can customers manage QA when they can not predict the outcome of one their solution's component?

This is a new environment for me. I am interested in information or insights on this topic. I am especially interested in how this can affect end users of SaaS platforms similar to FileMaker Cloud and how issues can be mitigate, short of moving to on-premise.


Some clients want the no-hassle automatic updates that come with SaaS, Paas and Iaas. That's exactly what they are after. Others don't and require full regression testing on everything. The beauty of the platform as it stands is that you can offer both.

The new release cycles are going to be a big adjustment and we'll have to see how it shakes out. From a testing perspective, testing should also be easier and faster because each quarterly release will not be as big as the one yearly one we're used to.

Solving the installation process to accommodate faster client roll-outs is something they are trying to solve to help with that too.

If you go to the Claris YouTube channel, and watch the keynote videos from last year’s DevCon, you will see what the support cycle is.

It is 2 years for each release.

How does a FileMaker release with a less changes makes for faster QA testing for my customers? They still need to perform regression testing regardless of the quantity of changes made by FileMaker.

For us, we will simply chose the build to test, and install that. We likely won't update every quarter. We then have 2 years of support before we need to test again. Though we may do it 2x a year.

Hmmm… So we go from three to two years. Unfortunate!

They do, but with each new release there will be fewer features that could break. I would assume that by now your customers have automated some of their regression testing. Instead of doing it once a year with many potential breakpoints, they could do it twice a year and take advantage of more incremental feature benefits.

So instead of performing one test and workaround dev cycle of 20 hours (5 test, 15 fixes), for example, a customer would now perform three or four test and workaround dev cycles of perhaps 10 hours (5 test, 5 fixes). I get the impression I misunderstood something.

We're making it too abstract; typically IT departments are more willing to test smaller releases than big ones. There's different kinds of testing:

  1. the testing that the infrastructure folks do to make sure that FM itself installs correctly, doesn't crash and doesn't interfere with anything else --> with fewer new features and more incremental changes, this will go easier for them and give them more confidence
  2. the testing of the actual FM solution functionality; that's typically done by the developer and the business. This testing doesn't usually change much with this change in release cycles, but here too should go faster because the changes are more incremental and should have less potential for disruption.

And if you don't believe any of this and don't want to get on board then that is fine too; you can still deploy once a year and treat that version just like the usual yearly release. It really doesn't change anything for you unless you want it to.

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Yeah, considering the new 2 year support, the only people that should be dramatically affected are those who stay on one version of FMS for longer than 2 years, and even then it's not like FMS will explode, it'll just stop receiving active support.

A quarter release should, IMHO, reduce the last-minute rush to finish features and get them into the product. I.e. currently they have one chance per year to release a feature, which puts a lot of stress on dev/testing. But I think it depends how well Claris adapts to the agile approach. Frankly, agile projects do seem to go a bit better in my experience than the ones with "grand openings".

Anyway, one of my clients lags one version behind and does only one install per year, and the new release cycle shouldn't affect them. They'll just target a specific stable version (like @jormond said), do a test upgrade, and then set a date for the production server upgrade.


Basic question -- I have FMP 16. Will I be "allowed" to upgrade to FMP 19 or would I need to get a $500+ new product license? If so, I'll just get 18.


I believe Claris has an upgrade offer that runs through September whereby anyone with FM12 and up can upgrade at 50% off. I don't think it is available in their online store, you can call their sales and if they don't offer it, call one of the FBA Platinum partners so that they can process the request for you.

The offer has been running for a bit now and chances are that if you take advantage of it now you'll get 18 with a free pass to 19, in essence get two versions. But I'm no licensing expert so check out your options by talking to sales or a Platinum partner.

It used to be so easy. Just click upgrade for $197 or something close to that or just order from Amazon.

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