Current state of software?

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stam
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Current state of software?

Post by stam » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:11 am

Hi all,

Quick question about the current state of LC for Filemaker... in current user's experience how well does this now work?

I can see a number of posts that make me hesitate prior to investing a non-trivial amount of cash for a non-profit project.

Background: App in FMPA17 (being updated to 18), data hosting in FMS17 but within a hospital environment where IT department won't allow full number of installations of FMP (n = ~40) to interact with server.
Stand alone application that wouldn't require install procedure would solve this problem. Complex solution with a number of layouts and heavy scripting.

Non-funded/non-profit endeavour - while i could start from scratch with LC or other programming environment, the full blown solution is already done in FMP and the LC website seems to promise this can just be automatically compiled into an LC app (in this case target build would be for Windows 10).

So prior to considering donating my hard earned cash to this, I was hoping to get an indication on whether this is likely to work, or whether i just write an app from scratch in a different environment might be more time/cost effective...

TIA

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Re: Current state of software?

Post by richmond62 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:18 am

You could "just" write a new project in LiveCode from scratch.

bogs
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Re: Current state of software?

Post by bogs » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:30 am

Erm, stam already said that -
stam wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:11 am
Non-funded/non-profit endeavour - while i could start from scratch with LC or other programming environment, the full blown solution is already done in FMP and the LC website seems to promise this can just be automatically compiled into an LC app (in this case target build would be for Windows 10).
I'm sorry stam, I've never used FM at all, nor have I ever used Lc for FM, and so have no real input to your question. You might have better luck actually talking to other FM users, since they are likely to have experienced using Lc for FM, however I don't know if any of that type of user would be haunting these boards.

Good luck with the search.
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Re: Current state of software?

Post by richmond62 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:10 pm

so stam did. :D

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Re: Current state of software?

Post by richmond62 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:27 pm

the LC website seems to promise this can just be automatically compiled into an LC app
This looks impressive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... e=emb_logo

It is a pity one cannot download a time limited Demo.

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Re: Current state of software?

Post by FourthWorld » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:54 pm

stam wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:11 am
Background: App in FMPA17 (being updated to 18), data hosting in FMS17 but within a hospital environment where IT department won't allow full number of installations of FMP (n = ~40) to interact with server.
Stand alone application that wouldn't require install procedure would solve this problem.
Standalone apps of course require installation, so I'm assuming the install you're looking to avoid is the server, yes?

If so, doesn't Claris offer cloud hosting?
Complex solution with a number of layouts and heavy scripting.
I know it's difficult to quantify complexity, but can you give a rough ballbark on number of lines of code? And for the layouts, how many are there? And with layout complexity, if a simple mail form is a 1 and Google Maps is a 10, how would you rate the complexity of those layouts?
Non-funded/non-profit endeavour
FileMaker has a reputation of being among the most expensive mid-range DB solutions available. How are those 40 seat licenses currently budgeted?

Depending on the difficulty of the port, migrating to a native LC solution may pay for itself within the first year, including the cost of hiring someone to assist with the port itself. From that point on it becomes a net savings to the organization.
- while i could start from scratch with LC or other programming environment, the full blown solution is already done in FMP and the LC website seems to promise this can just be automatically compiled into an LC app (in this case target build would be for Windows 10).
I haven't yet had hands-on with LC for FMP, but I have seen Kevin demo the port process at our local FMP user group, and it was indeed quite impressive.
So prior to considering donating my hard earned cash to this, I was hoping to get an indication on whether this is likely to work, or whether i just write an app from scratch in a different environment might be more time/cost effective...
Answers to the questions above may help us provide good guidance. If there are questions requiring more in-depth hands-on knowledge of LC for FMP, I can find such folks to chime in here as needed.
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stam
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Re: Current state of software?

Post by stam » Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:09 am

@FourthWorld -- thank you for your prompt, well thought out and lengthy reply, although the current state of LCFM is no clearer :D

To answer you questions:
1. I presume the LCFM app will not require an 'installer' and can just be copied to a drive, in which case it would very much be ok - an 'installer' would require administrative access to our PCs which are locked down by our IT department - however I have coded and used a number of applications simply copied to a drive or network share and these have worked fine.

2. Cloud hosting would be the easiest solution but to clarify the restrictions we're faced with in the hospital environment:
a) Our IT department is extremely restrictive to any new server/network being implemented. If even prioritised this would eventually be assigned a systems architect for design and go through an laborious and expensive process (1-2 years, > £25,000) to get a working solution implemented even if this is a cloud based solution. I've been there with other projects and it's beyond painful.
b) Our information Governance is extremely restrictive: Patient confidentiality is paramount - as this database app contains a huge amount of patient-sensitive data it would be basically forbidden to be hosted outside the hospital firewall. Theoretically this is possible, but the requirements are so stringent that we can't actually use any of the existing services i've examined. So cloud hosting is a no-go.

3. Not sure i would class google maps as a 10 in terms of complexity (implementing this in FM is probably a 3 or 4/10 in complexity) - in Filemaker terms the solution in question is probably a 7/10 in complexity.

4. 40 seats are not currently budgeted - our server has 10 user licenses and i'm looking to expand.
You are quite correct - FileMaker is quite expensive and i'm looking at alternatives. Using REST/PHP based solution with FileMaker server is a no go as per my answer in (2a). The other issue is that to use Filemaker server we'd have to install more instances of FMPA (again this is restricted by our IT department - as per point 1, LCFM may be an answer.
A solution that can work within the very restrictive IT environment in a major NHS Foundation Trust can probably gain some traction - buying 40 user licences with LCFM is cheaper but not ultra-cheap (£3,000/year more or less - compared with about £14,000/year for FMS for 40 users) but i can at least make a business case or charity grant application if there is a functional app at significantly lower price.

5. Migrating to a native LC (or other programming environment) is of course an option, the point being that it would add a year to an existing, feature-complete, fully functional and debugged solution that is already in use. Also, LC perhaps is trickier for multi-user database access - i'm not familiar with implenting this but the little i've read would suggest it requires LC server? (again not permitted by our IT department). And in any case i am more proficient in other programming languages than LC.
Regardless Filemaker is extremely easy and quick to modify and deploy with changing needs - much quicker than even than the 'easier' environments of LC and other cross-platform environments like XOJO and is for me a more attractive environment to maintain and modify longer term as my time is limited.

6. The LCFM demo does look very impressive, but equally impressive is the lack of any positive posts or independent reviews... paying £450 to try the 'compiler tool' with 5 user licences' is not an appealing way to test this as i'd have to pay out of pocket... and not to mention that according to the web site's documentation there are a significant number of FileMaker features which haven't yet been ported to LCFM. Not a show stopper as i can probably code around these, but it is a concern.

As an additional point, having asked on the community filemaker forums, 1 dev team responded that they dropped LCFM fairly quickly as it didn't support export to PDF - which is a feature we use.

So to summarise: I have an existing FileMaker Pro solution and am looking for relatively quick way to deploy to a wider user group at a reasonable price and working within the IT/IG limitations of our hospital.
I could code this in a different environment but that would add a long delay (6-12 months minimum) which isn't ideal.

LCFM has promise - but without a free/time limited trial, i was hoping someone could share their experience with this

TIA!
Last edited by stam on Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Current state of software?

Post by jacque » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:14 am

This is probably a good question to ask LC support directly. If you list out the features you require they will be honest in their replies.

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stam
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Re: Current state of software?

Post by stam » Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:38 am

Thanks @jacque - have already reached out to them to ask if there is any way to test with the current solution... as yet not heard back but it's only been a few days.

I don't really have the time to document every single Filemaker script step and calculation field used (there's a large number of both) and there's no way to anticipate the complex table relationships and layout actions translating correctly, so as simple email exchange asking if it will work isn't realistic I don't think...

I'm hoping there will some way to actually test this...Certainly, if this is feasible i'll be reporting back my impression of the product...

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