FileMaker Pro: Simple app dev, easy cloud deployment

FileMaker Pro 16 makes it easy to build simple database-driven apps for desktop, web, and iOS, but scalability is limited

Become An Insider

Sign up now and get FREE access to hundreds of Insider articles, guides, reviews, interviews, blogs, and other premium content. Learn more.
At a Glance

Not so many years ago, departments tended to run FileMaker database applications on desktops. In more recent years, those apps started moving to the web. In 2017, desktop apps are more or less passé, and websites are losing ground to mobile apps.

Given that FileMaker Inc. is an Apple subsidiary, it is no surprise that the FileMaker Platform now has good support for iPads and iPhones with the FileMaker Go app. It’s not a big surprise that FileMaker only supports Android with web apps, but it is disappointing. FileMaker has confirmed that it has no plans to create Android apps.

In 2017, cloud deployment is a huge deal. FileMaker Cloud offers an easier, more scalable, and more agile alternative to setting up your own FileMaker Server, albeit at a loss of some PHP and SQL connectivity capabilities. It retains the same old file-based database format rather than adopting a real server database, which may limit its scalability. That is contrary to the current spirit of cloud (and server) applications. FileMaker can establish two-way connections to some external SQL databases, but that won’t necessarily fix the scaling issue.

The FileMaker Platform consists of development environments, on-prem and cloud servers, iOS apps, and web clients. The two development environments, FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced, can also serve as desktop clients and hosts. Both the FileMaker Pro Advanced and stripped-down IDEs have Windows and Mac versions, but again, there are no FileMaker Android apps.

filemaker platform FileMaker

This diagram outlines the two hosting options for FileMaker, along with the four client options, two of which are also the development environments. The IDEs and server run on MacOS and Windows. FileMaker Cloud runs on CentOS Linux.

To continue reading this article register now