Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Want to move your code and projects to LiveCode but don't know where to start?

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ghettocottage
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Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by ghettocottage » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:52 pm

After one month of tinkering with Livecode, I can say with honesty that I like Livecode better than Filemaker. The exception is that Filemaker has (in my opinion) an excellent graphical tool for arranging your database relationships. I have not found anything that manages that as well (not even MySQL workbench..which is good, but not as fluid as Filemaker)

But Filemaker has its shortcomings. In particular, connecting to a remote MySQL server is a pain. You have to set up each computer with ODBC, then you have to open your database to be accessible from the WAN (which is always frightening, even when I restrict it to specific IP's)
Also, Filemaker is essentially an Apple product, and like other Apple products they are proprietary and want you to use other Apple products (Filemaker Go, Filemaker Server)

For the past month, I have been spending a little time each day with Livecode, and then a little time learning some SQL.
Between the two, I feel I can build a database application that will work across multiple platforms, is secure, and uses standard SQL that I can take anywhere.

Lastly, and the most important to me, Livecode runs on Ubuntu. So I no longer have to fire up a Virtual Machine every time I am working on a database application.

Filemaker was where I learned about databases. It is really good for that, as database concepts can be overwhelming at first and Filemaker provides the GUI and streamlined tools for managing a database and all its confusing dimensions.

But Livecode has enough tools at this point to do what I need, with some features that will allow me to put together a database application in short time. Finally I can move on from Filemaker, which I have been hoping to do for some time now.

Thanks Livecode Team!

I do remember reading something in the Kickstarter Campaign about additional Database tools being developed. I would really love to see that happen.

bangkok
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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by bangkok » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:10 am

Welcome to the club ! I used FM for a long time (Windows)... And then "ciao".

LiveCode is really perfect for front-end database apps.

It's true that FM offers a very good graphic tool to "draw" relationship between tables/columns. But, you'll see that after a while you'll be able to the same... in straight SQL syntax. And you'll create your own functions/libraries, in order to increase the developpment speed.

Last but not least : LiveCode Community is free. That's an important difference with FM.

Furthermore, the policy of "1 new version each year" with FM is quite frustrating. It's obvious that for commercial reasons FM "holds on" important functions... just to be able to introduce them in the next -costly- update.

Finally, you're right. Livecode roadmap lists a redesign of database functions.
http://livecode.com/resources/roadmap/

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by SparkOut » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:50 am

I came to LiveCode (well, Runtime Revolution) via FileMaker on Windows too. Although I was disappointed by the poor database "point and click" tools at first, I never thought "I miss FM" - there was always so much more possibility to using LiveCode. I've never looked back. Sometimes I look sideways, and extend what I can do with LC via vbscript or a cui compiled AutoIT script, and one day I may even try to skill myself up to make externals, but I always felt like LiveCode liberated, while FM caged.
I do still think that an intuitive database management GUI that semi-automagically sets the behaviour of controls would be the single most likely to convert new users onto a lifetime of LiveCode enthusiasm.

ghettocottage
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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by ghettocottage » Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:05 pm

Good to see other FM refugees here.
I always felt like LiveCode liberated, while FM caged.

I do still think that an intuitive database management GUI that semi-automagically sets the behaviour of controls would be the single most likely to convert new users onto a lifetime of LiveCode enthusiasm.
I heartily agree with both points, especially the latter.
  • a card to add your connection information
  • a card that detects the tables from your database connections and lets you add an instance of each table and drag out your relationships
  • a tool to add a new card based on the instances you just dragged out (detects columns and lets you drag out fields for each column )
I know..I just described Filemaker..

I think with some more SQL lessons I can just abandon the idea of GUI. Like when I used to be dependent on DreamWeaver to drag out website layouts, but I now do completely in hand-typed code without thinking.

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by phaworth » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:05 pm

I feel I should mention my upcoming product, SQLMagic, in this thread.

Using the SQLMagic palette, you will be able to drag and drop standard LC controls onto a card and relate them to columns/expressions in you database, or you can quickly create all the controls necessary to maintain a table using the Generate Layout feature. You can access multiple tables on one card, populate option menus for database values, and operate in any combination of Select, Update, Insert or Delete mode.

SQLMagic will figure out the appropriate linkages between tables based on foreign keys and only display the linked entries. It also takes care of formatting of dates, currencies, and numbers based on a combination of the user's local and preference settings.

Users can search by typing their search operators/values into fields on a card and can save search criteria for later use.

For many transactions, SQLMagic removes the need for issuing SQL statements or writing Livecode scripts but also provides callbacks at various critical processing points to give you complete control.

SQLMagic is currently in limited beta test and will soon be released for public beta.

If interested, please contact me at pete@lcsql.com.

Pete

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by ghettocottage » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:49 pm

I feel I should mention my upcoming product, SQLMagic, in this thread.
Sounds very interesting.

MikeinHawaii
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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by MikeinHawaii » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:17 am

Not to be a stick in the mud, but you don't need Apple Store approval to sell an app created with Filemaker Advanced for use with Filemaker Go . I like both platforms, but not having to deal with sandbagging, app store approval, and spending 99 bucks for an apple developer subscription are the pro's for Filemaker. The cons are the seat fee's that turned up in Filemaker 13, and no Android. I just wish we could melt the two together, I love the Filemaker Script Editor Window, but I love the LiveCode language and syntax more. And LiveCode has the community edition, both are ++++ 5 stars and stellar. If it makes people feel better, I often promote LiveCode over at Filemaker Forums....... 8)

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by ghettocottage » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:05 pm

MikeinHawaii wrote:... I just wish we could melt the two together, I love the Filemaker Script Editor Window, but I love the LiveCode language and syntax more. And LiveCode has the community edition, both are ++++ 5 stars and stellar. If it makes people feel better, I often promote LiveCode over at Filemaker Forums....... 8)
Filemaker certainly has some perks. As I mentioned, I love the FM Database Management tools, particularly the relationship editor; however, in my case I am finding that Livecode is beating FM out on everything I use it for, which is basically database front-ends for small businesses. I just needed to educate myself on SQL, as I was so used to doing things in FM. As my skill level increases, my dependency on boxed solutions like FM is decreasing.

I think at this point I could work in PHP, Livecode, or Filemaker equally well. I just happen to like Livecode better. In fact, I was editing a website last week and found myself trying to write PHP like:

Code: Select all

put the result into theVariable

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by Ultradianguy » Thu May 14, 2015 8:28 pm

Hi all -

Very excited to come across this thread. (I guess I excite easily). I've been using Filemaker for about 10 year to produce a shrink-wrapped application using the runtime option, that i can distribute to customers. Very low cost program but with customers who really need it - helps families with significant medical issues manage both clinical experience and all the bills, claims,etc. It's a labor of love at the moment.

With the release of FMP 14, the release notes indicate that runtimes will be deprecated. No time frame nor any indication whether they'll be replaced with something else, but it's been clear for some time that this was not a priority for FMI.

I figure I have 3-4 years to figure out my next step.
Currently, my solution is a heavily scripted app that hides the native FMP interface - so scripts for both GUI and calculations, using FMP's calculation fields and ExecuteSQL functions. I have a dashboard with multiple panes, navigation bars, and most of my form entries involved tabbed interfaces. I've made considerable use of portal filtering and portal relationships to show users data.

It would seem I need to go to some kind of combination of Sql (MySQL?) with a programmed front end. It's been a while since I've done programming in a compiled language - back in the day I did fortran, pascal, Prolog, visual basic and PL/C. I've had a lot of suggestions for approaches but I was leaning towards C# for my front-end interfaced with some kind of SQL database. I've only just heard of livecode. I only know the little bit of SQL I've used within FMP, but I'm sure I can learn the more complete syntax. I'm aware of lots of modern languages but don't have a good feel for which ones are best for what.

I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts - especially those of you who have transitioned from using Filemaker Pro. What approach will get me the kinds of interface I've been able to do with Filemaker's layouts, good access to a database, and hopefully not be a totally intimidating task. (THis isn't my dayjob, so I don't have unlimited time, and I'm a one man shop). Should I go with C#, consider Livecode, or still something else?

Thanks!

phaworth
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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by phaworth » Thu May 14, 2015 9:31 pm

I have a product in beta right now, SQLMagic, that might fill your needs. Email off list for more info - pete@lcsql.com
Pete

Ultradianguy
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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by Ultradianguy » Thu May 14, 2015 11:20 pm

OH, one last thing -- I need for my solution to be easy to distribute to non-tech savvy users (Senior CItizens). I had considered python for front end, but from what I read, python is tough to distribute. Right now, I use Centurion Setup to bundle up all my stuff into a single executable installer. Need something that will be conducive to that kind of approach.

Also not looking for anything web/cloud based. People like my program Family Health Care Manager because it keeps all their medical data on their own computer.

Thanks again for any suggestions/insight/comments y'all can offer.

Michael

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by SparkOut » Fri May 15, 2015 8:13 am

LiveCode will compile a standalone application to a single executable file, and bundle any external libraries used in the app (for example database drivers, or zip file management) alongside for easy distribution. Zip the standalone folder and when the user unzips it, it will have everything in place to run from where they unpacked it. If you wanted, you could make a separate standalone installer app which has the executable application imported and write that back out to the location of your choice. Mark Schonewille also has an Installer Maker product available. I would be extremely surprised if Centurion Setup was a problem.
Distribution of databases is dependent on the database - it isn't really suitable to try distributing mySQL for instance. LiveCode does have native and seamlessly transparent support for SQLite, without any other installation.

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by ghettocottage » Fri May 15, 2015 3:06 pm

I know it is a pain to learn new applications, but in the case of leaving Filemaker, learning Livecode is a good route to go (in my opinion).

If you give yourself a month, working a little in the mornings or something like that, I think you will have enough of a grasp to start putting nice database applications together.

If you use SQLite to start with, you will be able to achieve what you are after, with the bonus that should you come across a project that does need to be "in the cloud" then MySQL uses identical langauge (SQL) so you will already have (most of) the skill set to make that happen.

This is a really great forum, so feel free to ask questions as you move along.

I read about Filemaker 14. It sounds like they are paving the way for Filemaker Lite (Or Go on Desktop). This could be a good thing, but now that I can work in Livecode, I do not think I want to go back to Filemaker for many reasons.

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by robl » Fri May 15, 2015 7:07 pm

I have moved on from FileMaker as well. I had an Annual Volume Licensing agreement with FIleMaker for FileMaker Server and several copies of FileMaker. During the last year, all of the apps were re-created in LiveCode using MariaDB (MySQL fork) as the back end server. The cost savings has been substantial and LiveCode is much more flexible in many respects. Last month I uninstalled my FIleMaker Server and last copy of FileMaker Pro. My annual FileMaker contract will not be renewed next week.

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Re: Goodbye Filemaker. I will (sort of) miss you

Post by Ultradianguy » Fri May 15, 2015 8:43 pm

Wow - thank you all - this is pretty encouraging. I will start messing with Livecode and see how far I get.

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