Hello. I don't know if this is the right spot (or tag) for this question, so feel free to move it admins. My company is looking into joining the FBA, and specifically the SBA program to sell a solution. Is there anyone on here that is a part of this program that could answer some questions we have? Yes, I've talked to Claris, but they have been incredibly slow getting back to me and not super helpful.
I'm not into SBA, but I would suggest listing your questions. Of course for things like this, you may still better to wait for the official answer from Claris.
I'm an FBA but not an SBA. Still willing to field any questions that you have.
My main questions have to do with iOS app distribution as part of the SBA. Are there any special privileges that come with the SBA program in terms of iOS apps? Maybe an easier way to get into the Apple Developer Enterprise Program? If you are currently a part of the SBA, what iOS app distribution methods do you use? Are most customers fine using an MDM Solution? What, in your opinion, would be the best way to distribute iOS apps to customers that buy your solution?
Hi. We are both FBA and SBA, but I'm afraid we have as yet to distribute an IOS app via the SDK. We're working on a large system at the moment that may require this, but we got lost in the legal side some time ago when we initially looked at it.
You may find it useful to read through my post from a year ago at:
There's a lot published by Googling 'ios distribution filemaker', for instance FileMaker 17 iOS App Software Development Kit (SDK) and deployment using the Apple Developer Enterprise Program — Datatherapy and I do suggest you cast an eye over Xgode | 24USoftware
Thanks for that link. Unfortunately, it appears that we will not be able to distribute either, for much the same reasons you mentioned in that community thread. A majority of our target customers will be small businesses, so having them sign up for anything (enterprise program, in the business app store, etc.) won't fly well.
Anything short of simply downloading an app either from the regular public app store (which is less than ideal) or from a website is too much to ask most people IMO.
Also, as an update on my conversations with Claris, I've talked with multiple partner managers, and none of them had even heard of the Developer Enterprise Program.
hmm, I think everybody only benefits from this option:
- Code has to be approved and signed to get uploaded to a store
- Download performs great, at least better than I could manage from a private site
- The download is managed in one place and links stay consistent
- If usage is limited to your customers, data could be delivered after login in via app to your site with some kind of license key
I have one customer who distributes his thick client for iOS via Apples store and connects to the database server to put the app to work afterwards in his own universe.
2 cent from Holger
As far as I know you can have a FileMaker iOS SDK based app in the public App Store. The app can ask for a login on startup, where you could do an insert from URL to trigger a script on your server to query the server for that user name.
Then redirect the app to connect to the FileMaker database on that server with given credentials.
So there may be one app for your company which is used with various databases from several clients. Just like your own branded FileMaker Go.
I did think of that option, and I am currently looking into it. My biggest problem with the App Store is found in this thread: FileMaker Community (English) As far as my testing has shown, this is still an issue. I cannot get an app into the App Store, because turning off background location services crashes the app, but if I leave it one Apple rejects it, because I'm not using it.
We're in the SBA, and we've had positive experiences all around.
I know exactly what you mean. We spent a lot of time creating the simplest possible set of instructions for installing on desktops and iOS. We've reduced it down to a 5 line email that links to two 1 minute video tutorials (one for desktop, one for iOS).
Our clients are not tech savvy, but we're in a good place with installation. Upgrades are a bit more difficult, and I hope FileMaker adopts a more modern approach with the next release.
Do you need it to be an SDK app? If you are just trying to get the file onto the iOS device, there are other options. File in a container field, placed on a web server, MirrorSync, etc. The iOS SDK does restrict it some, because you either need to copy it over through iTunes, or have an MDM handle the installation for you.
There are also a few services that allow you to host the file with them, and then you can install from there. Depends a lot on your risk tolerance.
It does not necessarily need to be an SDK app, but going that way is a lot simpler. I have looked into some of those options, but as far as I've seen, Apple will only allow you to install apps those ways (web server, etc.) if you use Ad-hoc distribution, which requires knowing the UDID of every device, or if you are part of the Enterprise Program. Claris recommends distributing via the Enterprise Program, but the enrollment requirements are so strict it's a wonder very many people can use it. 100 Employees!? How does Claris expect all of us reach that.
Also, most of our target customers' employees use their personal phones for work, so they would not be thrilled about an MDM solution.
We are in the enterprise program. It's just money. We don't have 100 employees.
But that is also if it's the iOS SDK. Define what you mean by "is a lot simpler". I wouldn't describe it that way at all.
Building an app with the SDK is a lot simpler than anything else I have encountered, because it's just developing with FileMaker with a few additional steps.
Oh, I got where you are coming from. The other options involve just using FileMaker Go. Downloading the file and opening with Go. Sorry, I should have been more clear about what I was describing.
My main problem with that though is that it doesn't offer us branding. Having the FileMaker Go app on your home screen as compared to our logo isn't anywhere near as good. If I'm going to sell my solution to someone, I'd like them to see my logo, and instantly know what app they are opening. With FileMaker Go sadly that's not the case.
There are services that allow you to install a .app file by hosting it for you and handling the MDM side of it for you. As I mentioned before, just consider your risk tolerance for using a third party service for that.
But it still seems like it should be possible.
I very much feel your pain. That's one of the reasons I was so excited by the new "AI_LAUNCH_CUSTOMAPP" option for the desktop install version. Clients click the icon their dock, and our solution opens.
Nobody knows the FileMaker icon anyways, so the reality is that their icon is our icon in the mind of the customer. Of course they still see "FileMaker"... but nevertheless, I was super pleased.
For Go, we were really happy when iOS replaced force touch with long press (which all iOS devices support). Now our instructions to the client for opening our app don't require them to open "Filemaker" and then find our solution under "recent". Instead they long tap the FileMaker icon and tap the solution name.
It's not perfect, but it has sufficed for us.
I'm in a similar boat here, but the difference is that we are looking to release a FileMaker app with the SBA program (FMP19) -- no iOS yet, although we might later. Specifically I am looking for assistance how to build the installer so that the customer can simply download the package from our website (no FileMaker Server involved, as this is a desktop-only application), and install the software (auto enter license key and auto-open our solution). If anyone has an experience with this, please contact me at: removed by admin. I need specific instructions how to create the installer.