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FileMaker 13 launches with browser-based support via HTML5, new tools for iPhone & iPad - Page 2

post #41 of 47

Daylite can sync with Contacts and Calendar, so the function is available to apps (which use Core Data?)

 

If Filemaker is truly outside of Apple and focuses on the business market, surely they can break with the Apple-like secrecy and tell us whether somebody's working on this, or if they don't anticipate it being available in the future.

 

At the very least, it would stop people like me from whining about it every year when the new upgrade comes out.

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post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
 

Daylite can sync with Contacts and Calendar, so the function is available to apps (which use Core Data?)

 

If Filemaker is truly outside of Apple and focuses on the business market, surely they can break with the Apple-like secrecy and tell us whether somebody's working on this, or if they don't anticipate it being available in the future.

 

At the very least, it would stop people like me from whining about it every year when the new upgrade comes out.

Excellent point... so why doesn't FileMaker... ? I wish I had an answer for that.

 

I can contact a FileMaker engineer and get an answer; I spoke with the lead engineer for the v13 project last summer. The engineers are actually very hands-on with us developers at the conference.

post #43 of 47

During my time of developing databases since version 2.x (now this is going back some years), I have found FileMaker Pro to be an excellent application primarily for the ease in which databases can be created and the flexibility and useful features it provided.

 

However, since FileMaker Pro 10, I have noticed certain unwelcomed changes. For a start, there are instability issues. We have lost Instant Web Publishing (IWP) in FileMaker Pro 13. And the security of data in fields of any table is now compromised due to a security hole placed into the Data Viewer feature since version 10.

 

Of greatest concern are the following issues I have noted with FileMaker Pro 13 and confirmed by other developers:

 

1. FileMaker Support pages show a question from a developer titled "FileMaker Go - Calculations involving GetNthRecord fail after 29 records" and a response suggesting FileMaker Inc is aware of the issue since 10 April 2013. Whether the issue has been fixed in FileMaker Go 12, I observe in FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced that the issue remains and actually fails to show the calculation result from the 79th record onwards. This is a major problem for my clients in terms of financial information they need to work with in the databases. So, on checking this with FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced I see the issue does not exist. It is only FileMaker Pro 13 that has introduced the bug since the last version (perhaps the bug was ported over from FileMaker Go 11), Since April 2013, the issue has not been fixed properly across the full FileMaker Pro 13 product range by checking that the GetNthRecord function works properly.

 

2. I note from the FileMaker Forum a developer wrote in February 2012 under the title "SECURITY ISSUE: Can't Hide Data Viewer from User's..." how the data viewer allows any user with a copy of Advanced app to view data in any field of any table in any non-admin/developer login account. Prior to FileMaker 10 the data viewer button for selecting fields to view data would be greyed out (unless you are actually logged into the developer account to modify the database). This is no longer the case and, in fact, FileMaker's recommendation is to request that users do not use the FileMaker Pro Advanced app. Unfortunately I cannot monitor this with my clients and, therefore, consider this a major security flaw in the product. I concur with the other developer. And now I see the issue has not been fixed since I mentioned this with FileMaker Inc in December 2012 (in writing). All that FileMaker Inc will do is force developers to use the new database file encryption option. However this new feature places an unnecessary burden on my clients by introducing another level of authentication and to further compromise the intellectual property of my solutions when I cannot remove the admin account with Runtime solutions just to satisfy the encryption requirements.

 

3. A serious bug existed when working in scripts causing sudden and unexpected quits (especially in FileMaker Pro 12). While I lived with this problem (the essential scripts were in place and I can minimise the crashes if I don't do too much work in modifying scripts), I see the latest FileMaker Pro 13 may have addressed this issue. However, the bug seems to have been moved over to the launch sequence when starting up a database. It doesn't happen all the time (so far about a dozen times for myself since I purchased FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced). It also occurs when you are in a text field for more than 15 minutes doing changes to the text and you don’t save the text by committing the record. As a result, time is wasted waiting for the FileMaker Pro app to check the integrity of the databases. Furthermore my clients feel concerned about the possibility that such unexpected quits may cause irreversible damage to the databases should the problem persist over a period of time. Prior to FileMaker Pro 12, I have not seen this level of serious bugs crashing the app so easily. Now I understand my clients concerns and feel FileMaker Pro 13 is not up to scratch for prime time use in real world database solution environments.

 

After noticing these issues and explaining them to FileMaker Inc and requesting these issues by fixed as quickly as possible, the company has agreed instead to provide a refund for FileMaker Pro 13 (i.e. within the 30 days of purchasing the product). I sense the company may not be interested in fixing these issues with the potential that Apple could be trying to drop further development work of FileMaker Pro in the near future. Why? Apple does not like consumers to get free or low-cost FileMaker contacts databases to bypass the company’s own contacts.app for identifying users and sending personal details to the iCloud. FileMaker Pro should only be used for large organisations and not for individual consumer use.

 

Given how long the company has been notified of the above issues, this appears to be the case.

 

I do note that numerous FIleMaker developers have complained in the past about how each upgrade of FileMaker under the control of Apple has only provided few extra features, but not substantial enough to be considered good value for money.

 

I just wonder whether Apple/FileMaker Inc is serious about its commitment to providing a good product to the consumer?

 

But if this isn’t the case, I strongly recommend you check your FileMaker Pro 13 product very carefully. If it works for you, fine. If it doesn’t, get a refund. The more people who get refunds, the more likely FileMaker Inc will make efforts to fix bugs and provide a quality product to the consumer.

post #44 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpankMeBaby View Post

I sense the company may not be interested in fixing these issues with the potential that Apple could be trying to drop further development work of FileMaker Pro in the near future. Why? Apple does not like consumers to get free or low-cost FileMaker contacts databases to bypass the company’s own contacts.app for identifying users and sending personal details to the iCloud.

I don't think Apple is 'worried' about any of that. They created iCloud as a service for their iOS customers, and all this 'just works', which I think was their only/main goal as far as Contacts go.
Quote:
FileMaker Pro should only be used for large organisations and not for individual consumer use.

What is the limit of concurrent users to a DB these days. Back in my day when I designed / maintained FMP DB's it was 250 users.

All in all, your issues do look serious; I wish you the best in trying to create work-arounds.
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post #45 of 47

Regarding the purpose of iCloud to push data such as, contact addresses, calendars and other personal data and I'm all for it (preferably with a little smattering of the old 256-bit encryption wouldn't go astray, but we all know Apple doesn't provide this option for some reason). However, I see that the Instant Web Publishing (IWP) feature for enabling FileMaker databases to have layouts and data accessible on iOS (and Android) devices (the alternative to Apple's push service) has been removed in FileMaker Pro 13. Now it is called WebDirect but not in the way that consumers would like to see it. With IWP, a copy of the standard FileMaker Pro 9 or earlier and FileMaker Pro Advanced 9 or earlier would allow up to 8 concurrent users to access the database file on a web browser (a very useful feature). That was changed to 5 concurrent users right up until version 12 (already suggesting possibly that the sales of FileMaker Server was not as high as Apple Inc would like). Now, in version 13, you cannot do this. The most you can do is set up WebDirect options. But to actually access databases in a web browser, you must pay for FileMaker Server 13. With FileMaker Server 13, up to 250 concurrent users can access a database file in a web browser. It is more with the Server Advanced. But the Server application is not priced for consumers to purchase easily - well, certainly not for a couple of hundred dollars in the case of a standard FileMaker Pro application, or even for free if the Runtime solutions would allow IWP to be made available and given away (or sold cheaply) to consumers by FileMaker developers or let consumers build their own databases with this feature.

 

The question I have is why is it that consumers can no longer web-enable FileMaker databases using IWP (or WebDirect for that matter) in the cheaper FileMaker Pro applications in version 13 of Apple's flagship product (i.e., allow the serving of these databases on the internet even if the feature is limited to 5 concurrent users)? It is either Apple Inc's subsidiary company FileMaker Inc is not making enough of a profit in the sale of FileMaker Pro products (especially the more expensive Server edition), or the company does not like consumers building (and developers selling) cheaper contacts, calendar and other database products that could bypass Apple's own free versions.

 

I believe there is another purpose from these OS X Apple applications. But if this isn't the case, just give consumers the encryption option when pushing data to iOS devices and be done with it. But the company doesn't do it.

 

If it really is a profit issue, fine. I don't care about losing IWP. Whatever it takes for Apple Inc to continue the development of FileMaker in some way. But when it comes to fixing bugs and features that clearly is not working and/or show a security problem with the data held in databases, these sorts of things should be fixed. I don't work for FileMaker Inc to know how long it takes to fix these sorts of things. But if everyone can see a developer has highlight in FileMaker Inc's own web site a problem and nothing gets done in 12 months, and another developer mentions it and the company claims it will be sent to software engineering to look at it closely and another 12 months goes by and the next upgrade still doesn't fix it, it does make some developers wonder if Apple Inc. is serious about seeing further development of FileMaker Pro products.

 

If the company is serious, great. If it isn't, just tell us. Just say that the company is in strife and needs profit. Okay, just fix the bugs and let's work together on a solution to help make FileMaker economically viable for Apple. But if Apple is seeking on opportunity to drop further development of FileMaker Pro by ignoring developers request to see bugs fixed, just tell us now so we can prepare for the future and find alternative solutions to FileMaker if we can.

 

We call this good customer service.

post #46 of 47

Filemaker really can be a confusing company to depend on for your business.

 

The 'Pro' product comes with Contact, Tasks and Invoicing templates, but no Sales Pipeline template.

So you can identify customers and invoice them, skipping the critical business step where you actually sell them stuff.

 

Meanwhile, the consumer product Bento, actually has Sales Pipeline and Opportunity templates, but that application is now dead.

 

Anybody know of a good Filemaker template for Sales?

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post #47 of 47

You are right.

 

The FileMaker Pro standard (or Advanced) version comes with the essential Finance-related FIleMaker database templates (I see Estimates.fmp12, Expense Report.fmp12 and Time Billing.fmp12, invoices.fmp12 and product catalog.fmp12, which is useful for most people's small business needs). Interesting to hear you mention about Bento's effort to fill in the gap of a "sales management" or "sales pipeline" solution but has not completed the finance job.

 

If "sales pipeline" is what you are looking for, you can do it for free at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/home. Here you will find simple or sophisticated versions of the sales pipeline templates for you to use. But as far as getting everything into one FileMaker database solution, you will need to hire a professional FileMaker Pro developer (if you are not too keen to try it yourself). Plenty of freelancing FileMaker developers can be found at www.odesk.com. And once it is created to your specifications, these developers usually provide the final unlocked solution for you to modify.

 

The alternative is ready-made FileMaker Pro finance solutions. Again these databases are modified by developers to suit your needs, but usually these are not modifiable by you. Good examples of these solutions include BusinessMan (sales order processing software as well as sales management software including invoice billing software), and SUNRISE Contacts 2014.

 

SUNRISE Contacts 2014 is interesting. This is the one that got Apple Inc. so up-tight about over the last few years resulting in the release of Bento 1.0 and pricing it exactly half that of the SUNRISE package (with implications for other FileMaker Pro developers wanting to sell solutions to consumers). Today, contacts.fmp12 of SUNRISE Contacts 2014 (which comes with sales, invoices, product catalog, address book, calendar, document archiver, email sending and receiving, labels and more) is free and the lookup databases (things you might want to add and possibly link up to the contacts database) can be bought for as little of US$5 each. And the biggest thing is that SUNRISE has no intention of dropping its product like Apple has done with Bento (the SUNRISE developers are there for the long haul). For more details, visit http://www.sunrisepage.com/contacts/index.htm. It is in regular development work and can reproduce most types of templates seen in Bento or other web sites.

 

But remember, Bento has features that you can't reproduce in FileMaker Pro (all part of Apple's decision to have a competitive advantage over these developers).

 

Whatever you choose, there should be plenty of solutions for you to try out.

 

Good luck!

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