Why Mac?

I always liked macOS better than Windows and FileMaker development is no exception. Here is why I like coding on mac even if most users/customers tend to use Windows based systems (in no specific order):

  • Spawn a new instance of FileMaker. The same version, side-by-side. Not pro vs advanced, not 18 vs 17, the exact same thing.
  • MBS checking for variables declarations. This means if I mistype a variable name, because MBS does not see the variable declared above, it will highlight it in the script (with optional system notifications you can dismiss). This saves me on the debugging time. So much that I now create an empty declaration for variables I will be using in the script (otherwise a variable used in the calculation of the script step that defines it will show the highlight).
  • MBS autocomplete for "declared" variables.
  • Monodraw: this application (for mac only) is a bit like visio, but it uses regular characters to draw the shapes. You can use ascii or another character set. I will use it sometimes to paste a diagram on the FileMaker graph using a regular note object (formatted to use a monospace font). The native graph only allows 1 path between any 2 table occurrence, so trying to represent an ERD with it is next to impossible.
  • Clip Manager: I know there are other ways to handle the xml clipboard contents, but clipboard manager hits the sweet spot for me. They have a windows version, but because it was released after and does not have the same version number or the same name (Clip Manager Express), I suspect it may not have the same feature set (if anyone can confirm it would be appreciated)
  • Custom Keyboard Shortcuts: there are many ways this can be useful, but my favorite one is to keep a shortcut to remove any custom menu and fall back on the standard menus.

All this, plus an application I use as an alternative to text expander, makes it so I have a strong preference to work with my own machine and not via some form of remote control of another workstation.

Do you like to work on Windows or Mac the most? Please look at this poll and share with us what makes you go for one or the other?


In the early 90s I started out with an Atari ST. On this machine I learned coding in C and Assembler.
Moved over to Mac in '93 because Atari had stopped innovating and I was looking for something with a graphical Interface. DOS and I never became friends. After university and research, PCs with Windows became staple in companies I worked with. Privately I moved on to Linux on PC and Laptop. Macs did not offer a reasonable price/performance ratio at that time.
Coincidentally, my first contact with FileMaker was on Mac with FMP v3. Looong time ago.
In 2013 I started my own business, moving from Windows and Linux to MacOS with a MacBook Pro Retina.
Never regretted the change. MacBook Pros are incredibly reliable machines and MacOS has many useful features that make a developer’s live easier (i.e. shortcuts). FileMaker on Mac offers the Mac touch-and-feel and does not suffer the constraints the Win version regrettably has. As a development server I am using a MacMini server (late 2012). Super machine.
Variable declaration checking with MBS plugin is invaluable! This alone is a good reason for working on Mac.

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Hi @Torsten, thanks for sharing, I feel like your answer is doing double duty and would qualify pretty well for the backstory topic!

Oh, THE question.

I have been using Windows for decades, not a problem at all. On a specific project I worked full time during 8 months on an iMac 27’ late 2015 - I must add that was not my first time on macOS.

Developing FileMaker on macOS is very good. A good point also to the Magic mouse, there is noting like this on Windows. I dislike trackpads mostly because those we find on Windows portable are horrible. But there is hope: Microsoft have quite good ones on the Surface models, and other manufacturers are starting to provide good trackpads.

In short, I can work on both Windows and macOS, each one having there benefits and drawbacks.

On a Mac you may start the computer in many modes: booting normally, installing macOS, wiping the disk, etc. Very good . . . but then how can one explain that from a company, Apple, that hates so much bad user interfaces make it so hard to boot into those different modes by needing to use ALT and/or CMD and/or OPTION plus a letter ? Why not a simple interface from witch to use the keyboard to pick a choice ?

A case for Unsolved Mysteries ?

we are working on Windows, macOS, partly linux (we stopped that, I was hoping that there are better tools available ie for xml - but nope…)

Our nativ environment is macOS. It is ‘habit’ - but IMHO, text processing is much better, pdf is just there AND there is no update routine that stops my work…
The integration is better (Yes, ‘Office’ has a superbe integration), ie copy a list of files and put that list into filemaker, etc.

Installing a new machine is smooth compared to Windows - I just remember the last time I had to install a POS on a Windows machine - installing the Epson POS printer driver brought an extra, malware…

Same experience. Macs are easier to set up and maintain. Win machines require a very specific set of knowledge, not always available in smaller companies.

on the other hand, under Windows there are powerful servers - but one needs specific knowledge to set up properly - and around here, it is costly to have it done by professionals

True, Win servers top out at much higher performance than Macs - at a price. MacMini is the perfect machine for small offices running FM-based solutions.

I got 6 Mini’s in my Office, 5 are running fms (different versions), one is my current workstation (the new 6 core one). Customers are running 6 core Mini’s for fms. They were running older Mac Pro’s before (not the ‘Blumenvase’) and have absolutely no performance loss

Problem with the new 6 core Mini: USB-C… it is rubbish. In principle, USB-C is better than older USB - but the adaptors…
I can not boot my Mini with mounting volumes automatically, I lost once a volume because the USB is ‘wobbly’ while working. One of my colleagues is running the same model, he never managed it to boot that beast so that it detects the 2 (Samsung) Monitors (I got 2 older Thunderbolt monitors, the Mini will detect both (mostly) when booting - it will lose one of them every now and then (the second one) while working

Did you check if this is a known problem with new MacMini or a batch of machines with faulty soldering or some other type of default?

I just google’d - but it seems that most people are not using 2monitor setups, do not have external raids

Since I got adaptor problems on my MacBook Pro (Touch bar) as well, it should be common…

MacBook: Using Ethernet will drain Battery from full to empty within 65 minutes (tested that on a presentation…), hooking on beamers is also not ‘safe’- the last time I did a presentation, one friendly guy from the visitors brought his adaptor to me, that one was working…

Interesting. I bought my first mac ever, a 6 cores mini a few months ago. It has only 8g ram (was planning to add more). I wasn’t blown away by performance on the few projects I have been working on compared to my i-5 intel core Lenovo, ssd, 32g ram. Camtasia for Mac was particularly prone to crash, leaving me to suspect ressources shortage.
However the air drop, wifi and overall responsiveness and speed really amazed me.
I currently have both computers share monitors mouse and keyboard via a switch.
I have to find a solution as Mac doesn’t support my fav keyboard configuration.

16G is the minimum. I am running FMS on a 2012 MacMini with spinning disks. Sometimes it made lengthy pauses when it swapped memory. Upgraded from 8 to 16G. Works like a charm since.

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Hi Cecile,

what switch do you use? Do you have a 4K setup?
just installed a 4k Displayport switch from ATEN over the weekend,
output to Apple Keyboard, LogiTech Gaming Mouse, 4K-43" Philips Monitor
input 1 from MBP 2016 via USB-C to Displayport Cable and USB-A to USB-B Cable
input 2 from MacMini 2018 via USB-C to Displayport Cable and USB-A to USB-B Cable
works great and really improves my daily work, switching between machines is a nobrainer now :slight_smile:


I got a 34$ usb3 ugreen switch. My big monitor is connected to pc via display port and to mac mini via hdmi

I flip computers by selecting the monitor’s source and clicking the switch button to reroute the keyboard, mouse, and blue yeti mic.

Regarding switching keyboards and mice etc: if you haven’t tried sharemouse, I would certainly recommend it. It has additional advantages like dragging files between computers (eg Windows > Mac and vice versa).

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Interesting! Atm i flip files through my windows’ public folder via wan. I was surprised how incredibly easy it is with the mini

while I was kind of ranting in the earlier posting…

We have had twice issues with the Mini since the first came out in the year 2005 (january)…

  • the first model (‘plastic box’) suffered by power failures because users unplugged the power cord unwanted. That thing was kind of too easy to unplug
  • the current model with USB-C (not the bus itself but the adaptors…)

The Mini is a very useful machine!

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I have a client that has a database with tons of TOGs and Layouts. When accessed on a PC, one can only see a partial list of the available TOGs or layouts on drop-down lists. I believe I read somewhere that there’s some sort of limitation on the number of items FileMaker can display on a PC drop-down menu for certain things like layouts.

Whatever the reason, this doesn’t happen on a Mac. Besides, everything just works so much better on a Mac that I try to avoid jobs where my only choice is to VPN into a client’s Windows machine running FileMaker.

If I remember well, the cutoff happens after layout #256 on Win FMP.