FileMaker in the company brings order to the flood of data.

FileMaker im Unternehmen bringt Ordnung in die Datenflut.In times of increasing data volumes, companies are faced with increasing demands to manage this data in a structured manner so that they can retrieve it at any time with reasonable effort. Many platforms are available on the market for this purpose. The industry relies on flexible platforms such as Hana from SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, IBM or Oracle. What all these platforms have in common is that they already contain a large number of standard processes and can be extended by IT specialists with additional databases and functions. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), however, such solutions are often unaffordable due to relatively high investment costs.

For this audience, FileMaker offers a database platform that makes it easy to create custom business applications for any data and process. FileMaker can be purchased as a standalone product or as a bundle for multi-user network use that includes a server license. Mac, Windows and iOS devices as well as browsers under macOS, Windows, iOS and Android can be used as clients. The provision of FileMaker databases can take place in different ways and in any case of course also conform to the DSGVO. With gFM-Business, ERP software is available that was developed on the basis of the FileMaker platform and is also available as a customizing or open license for adaptation and expansion.

Get any data into shape with FileMaker

Every company regularly generates a wide variety of data, which must be processed within the framework of different processes. In small and medium-sized enterprises, such data is often first entered manually, either in separate documents such as Excel spreadsheets, Word files or sometimes even on paper. If this data has to be reused at another point in the process, the following occurs regularly for multiple recording of the same data, which requires additional effort and increases the susceptibility to errors. Often, this method is used not only in one place, but also with a lot of data within the company. This often results in countless external files and lists, which are often stored disorderly on different clients. This procedure costs the company a lot of time and effort, because data has to be searched for over and over again or has to be entered several times. For this reason, large companies frequently use database products such as SAP, Microsoft Dynamics or Oracle, which can be adapted (cost-intensively) to individual processes.

With FileMaker a flexible database platform is available, which is also suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises and which can be used on macOS, Windows and iOS as well as in the browser also on Android. FileMaker Pro Advanced is the tool for creating new databases or extending existing databases. This software is available for macOS and Windows and costs approx. 550 Euro plus 19% VAT. FileMaker Pro Advanced includes all the tools you need to develop and extend databases. The software also includes the ability to make open FileMaker databases available to up to four additional users on the network. The databases can then be opened either with FileMaker Go on an iPhone or iPad, or on Windows or Mac with another FileMaker Pro Advanced license.

Starter solutions for the first steps

FileMaker Pro Advanced includes more than 20 starter solutions for multiple uses that can be easily customized and extended to meet individual needs. All Starter Solutions are ready-made FileMaker databases with all the required data tables, script and an appealing user interface. FileMaker Pro Advanced 17 includes starter solutions for the following topics:

  • FileMaker Starterlösungeninstallations
  • assignments
  • expense report
  • content management
  • event management
  • research notes
  • inventory
  • contacts
  • cost estimates
  • meetings
  • personnel data
  • product catalogue
  • projects
  • bills
  • resource planning
  • time accounting

Mapping individual data and processes in FileMaker

In order to use FileMaker to map individual data and processes, the complete process should first be documented in writing with all required data. Once such documentation is available, you can immediately begin implementing the data structure and process in FileMaker:

  • Creation of all required data tables and fields. FileMaker is ideal for storing text, numbers, images, videos, and any document. In addition, field formats are available for date, time, timestamp and any formulas that can be calculated in real time.
  • Links between tables. Databases are usually relationally structured, i.e. they consist of different data tables that are linked to each other via a unique key. If, for example, any number of contact persons are to be stored for a company data record, two tables are used (company and contact person), which are usually linked to each other via the company ID.
  • Creation of the user interface. FileMaker Pro Advanced includes a powerful layout editor that lets you create complex user interfaces. Field names and labels are stored in a database, multilingual user interfaces can also be created, which are displayed in a different language depending on the setting.
  • Programming of scripts. In addition to the user interface, scripts are needed to automate arbitrary processes in a FileMaker database. The script editor integrated in FileMaker is very powerful and allows object-oriented programming with partial scripts and script parameters. Extensive evaluation scripts can also be executed on the server (if desired at definable times).

Extending the database solution during operation

One of the advantages of FileMaker is that databases can be extended during operation. Even if the database has already been shared on a server, you can easily create additional data tables, fields, layouts, or scripts, or edit existing objects, while sharing the database. The changes are then immediately available to all connected users.

Datenbanken im laufenden Betrieb erweitern

Using FileMaker in practice

Local use of FileMaker databases

FileMaker Pro AdvancedFileMaker databases can be used very flexibly in practice. The classic is certainly the use of a local database with FileMaker Pro (Advanced). This is done by simply opening a FileMaker database with FileMaker Pro (Advanced) and immediately using or editing it locally on the corresponding workstation.

Sharing FileMaker Pro on the network

But FileMaker Pro (Advanced) can do even more, supporting peer-to-peer sharing of FileMaker databases for up to four additional users on the network. If the Sharing option is set to of an open FileMaker database, the database can be opened and edited on another Mac or Windows computer running FileMaker Pro or on an iOS device running FileMaker Go.

advantages

  • Easy and fast setup to share databases across the network
  • Local storage of data that is not transferred to an external server (DSGVO)
  • Host computer can also be used as a workstation
  • Favourable entry price

drawbacks

  • Restriction to up to four additional simultaneous accesses
  • No schedules and creation of automatic backups
  • Host computer must have started databases for others to access them
  • No hosting of databases via FileMaker WebDirect

FileMaker Pro Advanced technical specifications

Network sharing with FileMaker Server

FileMaker ServerIf you have four or five simultaneous accesses or more, it is recommended that you use FileMaker Server to host the databases on the network. FileMaker Server runs on macOS or Windows computers and can share FileMaker databases with users on Mac or Windows and iOS or WebDirect. Depending on its purpose, FileMaker Server can be used either on a computer on the local network or on a server on the Internet. In addition, the databases can also be released for the use of an ODBC interface or for implementation via PHP on websites (Custom Web Publishing).

FileMaker Server supports the following depending on Server hardware Maximum between 500 and 2,000 concurrent connections. FileMaker Server is easy to install and administer and provides a secure and encrypted connection with SSL Certificate. The software includes schedule management for automatic execution of backups or any database scripts. FileMaker Server 17 includes a new Admin Console that makes it easy to manage your own database solutions.

advantages

  • Professional and sustainable solution for shared access to databases
  • Local storage of data that is not transferred to an external server (DSGVO)
  • In practice no limitation to the number of simultaneous accesses possible
  • Schedules for running automatic backups or scripts
  • Provision of databases for FileMaker, WebDirect, PHP, and ODBC/JDBC
  • Clear Admin Console for managing shared databases

drawbacks

  • Higher investment costs than peer-to-peer solution
  • Requires dedicated server that should not be used as a workstation.

FileMaker Server technical data

Sharing via FileMaker Cloud

FileMaker cloudTogether with Amazon Web Services, FileMaker has been offering the FileMaker Cloud for some time now. This is an extremely powerful and scalable system with very high performance. FileMaker Cloud is characterized by minimal administrative effort, low entry costs, and immediate Scalability. The data transfer from and to the server is carried out securely via SSL/TLS encryption. The integrated Admin Console makes it easy to manage shared databases. FileMaker Cloud includes automated maintenance and backup capabilities.

advantages

  • Easy and fast setup to share databases via the cloud
  • Worldwide access via FileMaker Cloud possible
  • Admin Console with schedules for performing automatic backups and scripts
  • Very high performance possible due to powerful server infrastructure

drawbacks

  • Storage of data on external Amazon servers (DSGVO)
  • Monthly rental rate for FileMaker Cloud/Amazon Web Services
  • No provision of data for Custom Web Publishing with PHP/XML

FileMaker Cloud technical data

Complete packages for network use as annual license

For some time now, FileMaker has been offering complete packages as an annual license, which are suitable for use with five or more simultaneous accesses over the network. The software package contains everything you need to create, share and access your own database applications:

  • FileMaker Server: Deploy databases to up to 3 servers
  • FileMaker Pro Advanced: Creating and using databases on macOS and Windows
  • FileMaker Go: Using databases on iOS devices
  • FileMaker WebDirect: Use of databases in the web browser
  • FileMaker Data API: 2GB outbound data transfer per user per month – yearly

FileMaker and the

gFM Business ERP Software

The gFM-Business Professional ERP software is based on the FileMaker platform and can be used in all of the above scenarios. In the customizing or open license, gFM-Business Professional with FileMaker Pro Advanced can also be adapted or extended during operation for individual requirements.

More information about gFM-Business ERP software

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About Author

Markus Schall
Development of FileMaker databases since 1994, modification and extension of FileMaker solutions, conversion of FileMaker databases from .fm, .fp3, .fp5 (FileMaker 2-6) or .fp7 (FileMaker 7-11) to .fmp12 (FileMaker 12-17), interfaces to third-party systems such as online shops, CMS or other databases. Development of individual FileMaker database systems based on the gFM business framework with personal advice from Oldenburg. Operator of the online specialist portal goFileMaker.de, developer of the CRM and merchandise management system gFM-Business. Member of FileMaker Business Alliance, FileMaker Developers Subscription and FMM Expert. Winner of an FMM Award 2011, awarded by the FileMaker Magazine.

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