First thoughts: FileMaker Pro 13

FileMaker Pro 13 is now available from FileMaker Inc. The marque features are the new WebDirect feature and a new licensing model based on concurrent connections,” Douglas Alder writes for HomeBase Software. “There are some very useful new interface and development tools which will get developers excited about using FileMaker Pro 13. When I read the system requirements, my heart sank a bit for some of my clients, running on older hardware, but then I started to research the implications of being able to run FileMaker on older hardware through a web browser using WebDirect and found some hope.”

“One of the biggest changes is a new approach to licensing. FileMaker has vastly improved the capabilities of Instant Web Publishing and renamed it WebDirect,” Alder writes. “FileMaker Inc. seems to be taking a page from Adobe with annual fees for the software and are increasing their focus on selling annual licenses for ‘concurrent connections‘, whether they are FileMaker Go [iOS] clients, FileMaker Pro clients or Web clients.”

“Overall, with features like Popovers, the new Field Picker, Slide Controls and WebDirect functionality, FileMaker 13 looks like a great upgrade for developers,” Alder writes. “It remains to be seen whether, with the system requirements and licensing changes, those who manage corporate and organizational IT purchasing budgets will see it that way.

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
FileMaker Pro 13 leaked on Apple’s Online Store – December 2, 2013
FileMaker discontinues Bento – July 31, 2013
Filemaker releases FileMaker Pro 12 for Mac and Windows, free FileMaker Go 12 for iPad and iPhone – April 4, 2012
FileMaker updates FileMaker Go for iPhone and iPad with AirPrint support and more – April 20, 2011


  1. As a Bento-user I must admit that FileMaker still is a terrible choice when you look for a simple database. Bento by far was the best of its kind, and FileMaker Inc. was stupid enough to kill it. FileMaker is huge, but way over my needs and hard to maintain. All other flat file OSX databases are terrible and way below Bento. Sure Bento still works, but how long over the next updates OSX will deliver? And no more additional features, no more bug fixes is a bad situation. We call it the HyperCard dilemma.

    1. Just bought and downloaded FM 13 last night. As a former Bento user, I’m pretty bummed they EOL’ed it but all my bitching ain’t gonna change anything. I just wish I would never even tried Bento years ago and just went with FileMaker.

      I’ve been trying all day to get Fields to Map over correctly.

    2. I am so glad that i did not purchase Bento. I considered making that purchase several times after it was released, but I was waiting for the software to mature and reach a point at which it would be worth my time commitment to integrate it into my activities. Instead, FM kills it off. I no longer need to worry about whether or not to make that purchase and I avoided the aggravation of buying into another software package that is abandoned soon afterwards (Quicken comes to mind as another good example).

    3. I’m another Bento user who’s unhappy with Filemaker dumping it. I didn’t need Filemaker and Bento was an excellent choice for me. I’ll stay with Bento until it no longer works on OSX. I have a couple other options that are really good substitutes but haven’t invested in their desktop component yet since I’m not ready to switch all of my databases (and all of the PITA field mapping, etc) to a new program.

      Yeah, it is somewhat of a Hypercard dilemma, only Bento is a bit more useful 🙂

  2. Just as I was thinking about shifting some projects to PHP/SQL FileMaker 13 has me re-thinking. They’ve done an excellent job of providing design tools that allow developers to create solutions with the look and feel of Mavericks/iOS7.

    The ability to deliver solutions across the board, Mac, iPad, IPhone looks to be significantly enhanced.

    The problem is of course, as always, the cost. It’s hard to go to clients every year and say there’s a new version of FileMaker and its going to cost $XXXX.XX for us to upgrade.

    Now they have this new “monthly” cost, BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY AN ENTIRE YEAR AT A TIME!

    Still the development capabilities make it one of, if not the primary way to deliver fast, efficient, and attractive solutions for business problems in the small to medium sized business world on the Macintosh.

  3. What Filemaker has done with changing the file format is totally frustrating. We run our business on Filemaker and really don’t need any of these new features that appear to focus on developers. Now, we are being progressively pushed to the back of the line as it impossible to upgrade Filemaker without spending thousands of dollars to upgrade the server and every Filemaker copy. We cannot even try an upgrade to see how it fits because the new Filemaker will change the file format which makes files unusable for our Filemaker Pro 11 copies and server.
    There is an upgrade path now but soon Filemaker will drop that for Pro 11 users as the pressure mounts to upgrade whether we need to or not. Again, there is nothing we really the upgrade for – we would be spending money just to avoid being kicked off the upgrade path in the future.
    This reminds me of the bad old days of being a 2nd Class Mac Citizen in a Windows world. Now we are 2nd Class Pro 11 Business user in a Filemaker Developer world. And – does anyone at Filemaker care?

  4. FileMaker’s time has passed it by.

    PHP/MySQL is free, well supported, runs everywhere and is not difficult to learn.

    filemaker blew it years ago by not having a easy to use relational db product for the web.

    1. Yeah, and on top of Php and MySQL, there is HTML and CSS. That path is way too complicated for many users who just need a simple way to create a straight forward database.

    2. Wow. These kinds of comments make me nuts. I suppose you download and compile your own versions of Linux to use, too?
      FileMaker is an amazing Rapid Application Development (RAD) platform that can deploy to Mac, Windows, iOS, and now web clients with the same solution. You can build usable interfaces and basic systems in a few hours, then spend a few days to really make them work well. Adding features to existing solutions is fast and flexible. For MANY uses, FileMaker is the best platform for development.

  5. At least, unlike greedy, stinking, Adobe, Filemaker has the OPTION to do a monthly fee or just buy it like usual. Adobe bastards make you pay and pay even if you wanted to skip an upgrade because not enough features are there to bother with. Easier to find a replacement for Photoshop than it is for InDesign. Going to Quark is not a pretty thought, and Adobe knows there is no real option and they have everyone by the short hairs.

  6. Spent a ton of money on the development of a filemaker solution with FMP 12 and FM 12 Server with over 30 iPhones. Now to upgrade to FM 13 not a big deal for our 7 Licenses for FMP but the outrageous cost is the new Server Pricing. Our last version was $1,000.00 The new version with concurrent connections will be over $10,000 just for FM Server. Then how much will it be for FM 14 Server when that comes out?

  7. During my time of developing databases since version 2.x (now this is going back some years), I have found FileMaker Pro to be an excellent application primarily for the ease in which databases can be created and the flexibility and useful features it provided.

    However, since FileMaker Pro 10, I have noticed certain unwelcomed changes. For a start, there are instability issues. We have lost Instant Web Publishing (IWP) in FileMaker Pro 13. And the security of data in fields of any table is now compromised due to a security hole placed into the Data Viewer feature since version 10.

    Of greatest concern are the following issues I have noted with FileMaker Pro 13 and confirmed by other developers:

    1. FileMaker Support pages show a question from a developer titled “FileMaker Go – Calculations involving GetNthRecord fail after 29 records” and a response suggesting FileMaker Inc is aware of the issue since 10 April 2013. Whether the issue has been fixed in FileMaker Go 12, I observe in FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced that the issue remains and actually fails to show the calculation result from the 79th record onwards. This is a major problem for my clients in terms of financial information they need to work with in the databases. So, on checking this with FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced I see the issue does not exist. It is only FileMaker Pro 13 that has introduced the bug since the last version (perhaps the bug was ported over from FileMaker Go 11), Since April 2013, the issue has not been fixed properly across the full FileMaker Pro 13 product range by checking that the GetNthRecord function works properly.

    2. I note from the FileMaker Forum a developer wrote in February 2012 under the title “SECURITY ISSUE: Can’t Hide Data Viewer from User’s…” how the data viewer allows any user with a copy of Advanced app to view data in any field of any table in any non-admin/developer login account. Prior to FileMaker 10 the data viewer button for selecting fields to view data would be greyed out (unless you are actually logged into the developer account to modify the database). This is no longer the case and, in fact, FileMaker’s recommendation is to request that users do not use the FileMaker Pro Advanced app. Unfortunately I cannot monitor this with my clients and, therefore, consider this a major security flaw in the product. I concur with the other developer. And now I see the issue has not been fixed since I mentioned this with FileMaker Inc in December 2012 (in writing). All that FileMaker Inc will do is force developers to use the new database file encryption option. However this new feature places an unnecessary burden on my clients by introducing another level of authentication and to further compromise the intellectual property of my solutions when I cannot remove the admin account with Runtime solutions just to satisfy the encryption requirements.

    3. A serious bug existed when working in scripts causing sudden and unexpected quits (especially in FileMaker Pro 12). While I lived with this problem (the essential scripts were in place and I can minimise the crashes if I don’t do too much work in modifying scripts), I see the latest FileMaker Pro 13 may have addressed this issue. However, the bug seems to have been moved over to the launch sequence when starting up a database. It doesn’t happen all the time (so far about a dozen times for myself since I purchased FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced). It also occurs when you are in a text field for more than 15 minutes doing changes to the text and you don’t save the text by committing the record. As a result, time is wasted waiting for the FileMaker Pro app to check the integrity of the databases. Furthermore my clients feel concerned about the possibility that such unexpected quits may cause irreversible damage to the databases should the problem persist over a period of time. Prior to FileMaker Pro 12, I have not seen this level of serious bugs crashing the app so easily. Now I understand my clients concerns and feel FileMaker Pro 13 is not up to scratch for prime time use in real world database solution environments.

    After noticing these issues and explaining them to FileMaker Inc and requesting these issues by fixed as quickly as possible, the company has agreed instead to provide a refund for FileMaker Pro 13 (i.e. within the 30 days of purchasing the product). I sense the company may not be interested in fixing these issues with the potential that Apple could be trying to drop further development work of FileMaker Pro in the near future. Why? Apple does not like consumers to get free or low-cost FileMaker contacts databases to bypass the company’s own for identifying users and sending personal details to the iCloud. FileMaker Pro should only be used for large organisations and not for individual consumer use.

    Given how long the company has been notified of the above issues, this appears to be the case.

    I do note that numerous FIleMaker developers have complained in the past about how each upgrade of FileMaker under the control of Apple has only provided few extra features, but not substantial enough to be considered good value for money.

    I just wonder whether Apple/FileMaker Inc is serious about its commitment to providing a good product to the consumer?

    But if this isn’t the case, I strongly recommend you check your FileMaker Pro 13 product very carefully. If it works for you, fine. If it doesn’t, get a refund. The more people who get refunds, the more likely FileMaker Inc will make efforts to fix bugs and provide a quality product to the consumer.

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