After dumping Microsoft Access, Macy’s prepares for Thanksgiving Day Parade with FileMaker Pro 9

Upgrade to FileMaker Pro 9! Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group is gearing up for next week’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City using FileMaker Pro 9, the best-selling easy-to-use database software for Mac and Windows. This year marks the first year that FileMaker Pro 9 will be used by the Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group to manage the myriad of information on the people, including the thousands of volunteers, and logistics required to ensure the smooth flow of all the magnificent helium balloons, floats, singers, dancers, performers and celebrities along the streets of New York City into Herald Square.

“With more than 5,000 people participating in this year’s parade, our new FileMaker Pro 9 databases will bring together all the required functions for the parade into one manageable, networked solution,” said Robin Hall, senior vice president, Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group, in the press release.

Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group, including its fabled Parade Studio in Hoboken, N.J., will take advantage of a networked FileMaker Pro solution for a variety of tasks, including costume inventory and assignment, float and balloon inventory and location, and volunteer history and assignment.

Before FileMaker Pro was deployed, the database for the parade was originally built in Microsoft Access and its operation required programming knowledge beyond the basic consumer level. This caused delays and resulted in the need to export all work from Microsoft Access queries into Microsoft Excel documents to find specific information in a user-friendly manner.

“With our new FileMaker database system, time-consuming tasks such as assigning volunteers parade responsibilities have been reduced from about 10 days to just one or two days, and more important, we can better meet the needs and specifications of each individual, group and staff member,” said Hall in the press release.

Future expansion of the Macy’s Parade database will involve Web-published content, including online registration for volunteer participation in the parade.

FileMaker, Inc. develops award-winning database software. Its products include the legendary FileMaker Pro product line for Windows, Mac and the Web, and the new Bento personal database for Mac. FileMaker Pro won 49 awards, more than its next eight competitors combined, from 2003-2008 in the U.S., and a total of 130 awards worldwide during this time. Millions of customers, from individuals to large organizations, rely on FileMaker, Inc. software to manage, analyze and share information. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple Inc.

Source: FileMaker, Inc.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Martin” for the heads up.]


  1. The problem with FileMaker is that it has become terribly expensive, In addition the new server seems to be something put together with some kind of software erector set. It used to be so simple, clean, and easy. You’d run the server, point to the databases, and you’d be done. Now you have to run this nutty Java console to make sure the server is running. The server is actually a separate component. The console has to move your database somewhere. Half the time the console has problems talking to the server for some reason. It’s not a clean cohesive environment like it used to be.

    On top of this there’s FileMaker, FileMaker Advanced, FileMaker this, that, the other thing. Each one getting more and more progressively expensive in a fashion that only Microsoft could love.

    On top of all of that they’re doing the Internet activation thing. If I do development in the office and development on my laptop, and development at home, I have to have 3 copies of the most expensive version.

    I look at FileMaker now and my shoulders slump, I sigh, remember the good old days of quick and simple databases and I deliver in MySQL. It is actually simpler to create and deliver enterprise databases in MySQL with a web interface than it is in FileMaker now.

    And, MySQL with a web interface is completely F R E E.

  2. To be fair, the generic version of FileMaker (which is licensed for only one computer) is more than enough for most single database in house developers. It’s only $300.

    Now let’s say you’re developing something a bit more complex than Santa’s list. The development version with the development tools, FileMaker Advanced is $500. For a single developer.

    Ok, you’ve got your database up and you need it to be shared by 20 people in your office. You need FileMaker Server! That’s $1000. + 20 client licenses.

    Or to save you money, FileMaker offers a fantastic deal with 10 FileMaker 9 Client licenses, and 1 FileMaker Server for $3500.

    Now you want to give people access via the web. Whoops! You should have purchased FileMaker Server 9 Advanced. That’s only $2500.

    Confused yet? This used to all be one product that cost $150.

  3. How come people likes so much MySQL? I respect people’s choice, but if you’re looking for free, I believe PostgreSQL is a much better option.

    I’m using it on my Mac, and works like a charm.

  4. @Grifterus

    I’m with you. I’ve been using PostgreSQL since 2001. It far exceeds MySQL in capabilities. MySQL got popular because it was synonymous with PHP around 2000. Plus it ran on Windows and Linux from the start unlike PostgreSQL which didn’t run natively on Windows until version 8.0.

  5. Grifterus,

    Both PostgreSQL and MySQL work on Macs (among other platforms) like a charm; that’s not the reason.

    The most likely reason is that MySQL had some very positive marketing early on and had kept the momentum going. LAMP/MAMP/WAMP solutions are extremly popular out there. At this point, MySQL is powerful enough for majority of complex systems, so the difference between it and PostgreSQL are mostly academic.

  6. I’ve been using Filemaker since V2.2, but I don’t make money from using it, so upgrades have to be carefully thought about.

    The trouble is that FM is frequently revamped, but they don’t make many changes that make it worth the upgrade. I’ve upgraded a couple of times and am still using FM6, but they have decreed that if I want to upgrade, my version is too old and I’ll need to buy the full package.

    I’d be happy to upgrade for a reasonable price, but there’s no way I’m buying it all over again at full price.

  7. MS Access is free with Microsoft Office for Windows (not Office for Mac).

    That is it’s only advantage.

    Access is a single user database. While it can shared from a server, it should be shared read-only. Only one person at a time can make updates. This limitation was probably the source of the database corruption problem mentioned in the video.

    I don’t know if Access can be used as a report writer or data input module to MS’s SQL Server.

    Server based databases, whether Mac, Windows, Linux, Unix, or whatever, are orders of magnitude more complex in that they have to lock the database while writes take place, and verify that the data before making the change. For example, consider an online retailer that has only one of an item left in inventory, and two buyers see that one item and both want to buy it at almost the same time. Obviously it can only be sold once, and the database has to keep all that straight.

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