Using FM as prototyping tool

If the aim is to develop something from the scratch to client NOT with FileMaker, have you ever used FM to show client how the app could look and feel?

I have talked with several fm devs who develop also with another techs, and I’ve heard they’ve said often FM would be a good prototyping tool.

I do it myself when I have some idea and want to explore how it could work but never used that with clients.

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Sure; in bigger companies where they may already have FM somewhere in the organization then positioning FM as the ideal RAD tool to create a quick tactical solution to give the business side what they want while the IT side can buy time to develop the solution in their 'official technology stack for a more strategic long-term solution.
That's for solutions that are projected to be a around for a decent amount of time. If the solution is not meant to be around for long then similarly you can position FM as a good 'throw away' solution.

For actual prototyping where there is sufficient time and budget to develop in the 'other' technology: no. Almost never. With Agile/scrum-based workflows the client will actually see working models in the final technology and there is no need to first build prototypes in another technology.

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I only have a few years of FM experience, but I have yet to find a good protoyping process for FM (even when the goal is a FileMaker solution). The process of building new files, tweaking data structures, and getting the design right feels more cumbersome than it would be if I were working on a more code-focused platform. I've sometimes feel frustrated at how long it takes me to style and alter FM designs compared to writing CSS (but I could definitely be missing some tools or techniques that cleverer people have figured out).

I do think it COULD work for testing out visual designs, but I'd hesitate to say it would be super helpful for UX prototyping because the kinds of layouts and experiences you can make in FM differ from what can be done on other platforms.

Personally, I think I would feel like I would have wasted some work time if I spent time developing a design in FM then needed to completely rewrite it on a different platform.

When I think about the kind of tool you are talking about, Figma, Sketch and Adobe Xd come to mind.


FM is a great tool for functional prototyping. GUI prototyping is more tedious in FM. There are quite a few post in the ‘Ideas’ section of the Claris community with suggestions of how this could be improved. I would be grateful for a concise outlook on what we can expect in the near future (1-2 years).

Sometimes, throwaway solutions tend to have a long live :slightly_smiling_face:

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