FileMaker convert

I’ve used FileMaker for a number of years now - mainly developing solutions for small and medium businesses as part of my consultancy business. I’m an aging IT guy and have developed in many languages and used many RDBMS platforms to store the data, MySQL, SQL Server, Progress, Isam, Pick MV. My issue with FileMaker is mainly the price although I’ve never been fully comfortable with the scripting rather than true programming languages I used in the past - it’s extremely rigid and inflexible at times. I also have issues with the UI capabilities missing some really basic functions like - enabled/disabled UI elements, progress indicators.

The recently released FileMaker19 has introduced some further script commands for easier JavaScript integration using web viewers to overcome some of the issues but it just seems a clunky way of doing things to me. The real kicker though is that the runtime has now gone - they are taking away the peer to peer sharing option too meaning any solution that needs a central database store and a couple of users have to stump up a minimum of £900 per annum as the minimum is for 5 users.

I used Realbasic years ago and loved it but events took me away from it - someone in the FileMaker forums mentioned Xojo as an alternative so here I am again. Couple of questions if I may:

  1. The cost of the product is a one off with a renewal fee if you wish to get further updates - what are the costs for the renewals?
  2. The product seems extremely well documented - are there any advanced training materials to accompany the documentation?

Thanks for any advice offered.

Renewals are full price now (well except for a small discount for auto renewing). What makes the most sense now IMO is only renew when you need to or they introduce something new you want… and wait for sales which are about 20% off usually.

Now you can code and run in the IDE without a license so you can really get a feel for if a renewal is worth it.


Welcome Mark![quote=491019:@Mark Mitchell]The product seems extremely well documented - are there any advanced training materials to accompany the documentation?[/quote]
Aside from the main site there is a free eBook and a Xojo YouTube channel, plus a library of other eBooks that you can purchase - which is hosted by (which is dedicated to Xojo development, with issues once every two-months). Also don’t forget the Xojo Blog with lots of really useful tips and articles.

In addition, you can download and use Xojo without a license for as long as you want, to help you on your learning path. Using Xojo without a license means you are limited to running your apps in the IDE debugger only and can only save your projects in binary format. See the EULA for more information.

To build your apps for distribution requires a license. Plus, depending on the level of Licensing, you also gain the ability to save projects in a text-based format (to make it easier to use with source-control systems) and a wider range of database plugins and platforms and a few other features.

I hope that helps. Have fun!

When you purchase a license, you get updates for a year. If you turn on the auto-renew setting, you will get a small discount come renewal time. If you choose not to renew, you may continue to use the last version your license period covered until the end of time, or until some OS update renders it useless.

There are also periodic sales throughout the year that will let you extend your license for less than full price.

If you plan to use it professionally, you’ll find it pays for itself. At least I do.

If you like MBS FileMaker Plugin, maybe you also like the MBS Xojo Plugins?

See our blog article about HTMLViewer JavaScript communication for Xojo

[quote=491043:@Christian Schmitz]If you like MBS FileMaker Plugin, maybe you also like the MBS Xojo Plugins?

See our blog article about HTMLViewer JavaScript communication for Xojo[/quote]
Hello Christian - I’ve been a follower of your plugins for quite some time on FM. Not yet had a need to make the plunge but have been close on many occasions.


I too have been developing in Filemaker for many years. I’ve used a alrge variety of programming languages and databases including Pick. I have been fooling around with Xojo since the RealBASIC days and I am seriously considering making the switch one day.

Best of luck to you.

Hi Vince,

So far it has been going well - it’s certainly more involved when dealing with databases but the beauty is that you have a true programming language that has all the power you need to develop really powerful solutions. The new Web 2.0 product that released earlier this week is shaping up to be a game changer for Xojo - the ability to hook into Bootstrap themes makes the apps look so much more modern.

The end-user licence fee model is one that will kill Filemaker eventually especially since they have now killed the run-time option. I would rather the initial development of my product take slightly longer but have the freedom to charge what I like without the Filemaker licensing on top.

I loved developing for Pick - the multi value world really was something special.

Thanks for the message.

I think Claris will eventually drive away the single developers. I agree that Pick was awesome, especially Pick Basic. I was working at ADP. They had just dropped a project that they hired me for on a system using a version of Business Basic. Pick reminded me a little of Unix.

It’s hard to figure out where Claris is heading. There model is based (mostly) on subscription where you rent the software. The single license does not fit in there but for the moment it’s still available. FileMaker targets the so called citizen developer, but to get the most of it, solid knowledge in developments is needed.

FileMaker is in the no-code/low-code segment, but that brings some limitations. On the other end Xojo let you do mostly anything.

OMG!! i used Pick OS from 1986 -1992

Never used it as a pure OS (although I have faint recollections of doing so on Burroughs B930s in late 80’s).