The history of 3rd party support for FileMaker

I was going to reply to @jormond mention of the no longer developed "FMXraySpecs" product, but it seemed off-topic in the MBS thread.

I've only been around since FileMaker 13, and I always enjoy hearing about the history of programs and the communities that surround them. I've seen/heard many posts/podcasts on the history of FileMaker itself, but I'm curious about the history of 3rd party support for FileMaker (plug-ins, modules, etc...).

Any FileMaker vets have a sense of how that scene has waxed and/or waned over the decades? Is more or less vibrant at the moment?

I would also be interested in the history of unofficial FileMaker communities/blogs (like FMForums and FileMaker Today). Generally those seem less active, but I'm not really sure.


I started with FM when FM 3 was just released and this was around the time that internet became somewhat mainstream. All dial-up at the time so there weren't forums like this one. There were email lists like Blueworld, Dartmouth, FM Experts,...

When internet speeds got better and we got rid of dial-up then forums like these popped up. The official community one was named TechNet for a long time. is still the most active one, FM Forums used to be a lot more active than it is now. There's nothing more toxic than a high noise-to-message ratio and that's when you see people migrate between the forums.

As to tools: there has always been a lot of creativity in the community, some tool vendors have been around for a long time. Some tools are only around as long as they serve a very specific purpose (like my FMrobot).
Plugins: those have been a vital part of the FM ecosphere for a long time. In the future however I see them being more and more replaced with micro-services since that allows the use of external functionality across more of the product family.


Woooo, someone will be very happy to read this !

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I feel like that space is more vibrant than ever. Just like any platforms have their "mods", FileMaker devs are creative when they see a problem they have, knowing many other devs are bound to face the same problems. Some products will exist just for some time, while others will remain for quite a while. If someone was able to list them all, the list would be very long ( I'm tempted to start a wiki on that).

Some people will choose to give it for free, trade your email address for it or even turn it into a licensed product, many occupy the same "space" with an offering slightly different from one another (just think about how many "wrappers" we got for the data migration tool).

Personally, I would not even fit plugins and similar products aimed at extending FileMaker's feature set in that list, I would limit that to dev tools only (noting aimed at learning a specific technique either). With just that, plenty has been done, and plenty more will come.

Concerning unofficial communities, my guess is that on top of what is public, there must be a great deal of groups that use something on a "members only" basis: distribution lists, slack, facebook groups, ... often having converted over from whatever platform they were using prior to that.


Yep, once you create your first micro-service and see how powerful it is, assuming that's what your posting meant, you'll be a believer also.

I believe that's why folks like @WimDecorte don't comment on my micro-service postings since he's already using them. :slight_smile:

FileMaker is great, but FileMaker + micro-services is ... incredible.

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