Filemaker equivalents in XOJO

yes they are not the same can’t compare them.
they can lead to similar usage from the user perspective, but are inside very different

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One may compare FileMaker and Xojo. But trying to find equivalent procedures between the two is not a good idea. Lets say you compare a plane to a car. What would you answer to this question “where are the flashers on a plane” :thinking: ? FileMaker and Xojo are dissimilar.

That being said, Xojo and C# can be compared easily compared, both are Object Oriented languages.

There is no comparison between FM and XOJO. I use them both but for much different purposes.

I primarily use FM for in-house applications (FM insists on calling them solutions) and to prototype an application that I am thinking of developing. It’s very easy to create a database and some layouts to see how things might fit together.

XOJO is a fully objected oriented development system and requires a significant commitment to get an application that can be used by you or others. In some sense, you have to invest the time:

  1. First learning how an object oriented language works.
  2. Then learning how to take what you’ve learned in 1 to create an application.

XOJO is clearly much more than FM in some respects, but FM can do things much more quickly but without the flexibility that you can build in with XOJO.

I think most FM developers are used to finding workarounds in the development system they provide. With XOJO, you won’t run into many roadblocks, but you may have a lot of work to do to avoid them.

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also xojo is free to deploy, FM is an arm and the legs as soon as you want more than one user.

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I made the change 3 months ago so hopefully I can cast some light on the areas that differ and what Xojo offers that FileMaker never will.

Firstly - all the cludgy things that you do in FileMaker - like conditional hiding, the let statements etc are redundant in Xojo. FileMaker is a scripting engine trying to be a programming language. Xojo is a full blown object oriented programming language offering infinite possibilities. This has been a breath of fresh for me having always struggled to get FileMaker to do the things I needed it to do.

Secondly - don’t expect to be able to drop controls onto a layout and have everything handled in terms of adding new records, updating and deleting. You have to roll your own methods to handle those requirements and this does take more time initially - there are tools like Argen for automated ORM generation

Of course with Xojo you are not limited to database driven applications - you can develop whatever you want (within reason!) and that flexibility is a huge win for me. If you do need a database your choices on Xojo include all of the most popular databases in the world.

Lastly of course the licensing model is so much better for me than FileMaker - no end user licences required. This alone has helped me win two contracts - I could be much more price competitive and all the recurring maintenance revenue is mine alone.

This is very useful to know. In a v. part-time way I created an app in FM only to find Runtimes deprecated and now dropped and other avenues ridiculously expensive (arm, legs and innards I’d say!).

The main downside to XOJO for me sounds like the learning curve for someone who’s only written FM scripts and edited VBA in Excel; no true programming experience… yet.

You will get nearly everything in the LR (docs).

Look at SQLiteDataBase:

You will find code snippet to create a .sqlite file with TABLE(s), add Records, Read Records, etc.

And, in case of troubles (say… How Do I … ?), this forum is good at :wink:

PS: I always use a text file with data to do all my tests (Write / Read / Loop thru the Data Base).
This allows me to throw away the .sqlite file in case i’ve made an error (design / duplicate Records, etc.). And this avoid any data loss.

I suggest to first learn about Object Oriented Programming, OOP is short. The best would be to find some training without using a specific language, it that exists. If you are on LinkedIn, you may find a lot of courses.

Maybe others can recommend good training.

I don’t think you will have a problem.

I was a FileMaker Certified Developer for versions 15, 16, 17 and 18. Each version that was released brought the product further away from what I felt I needed. I come from a traditional programming background, but fell into FileMaker due to the novelty of it. However, I always seemed to be fighting FileMaker to be more what I wanted it to be. Like others said, Xojo is very flexible and very easy to learn.

As for UUIDs, they are easily created with a function. There was a thread here with some examples of creating a UUID in your application:

The user guide has a helpful chart for seeing the Xojo equivalents to FileMaker functions here:

The best place to get started and see how Xojo works for you is the intro to programming book with Xojo - it really is a nice guide and gets you off to a good start:

One thing to keep in mind is that Xojo is a programming environment, while FileMaker combines the database and development environment. You have much better options with Xojo, since you can pick from a wide range of databases.

I had done some testing of complex queries between a large FileMaker database, Microsoft SQL Server and SQLite all loaded with same data. The query basically built a pivot table comparing a large amount of rows. The SQL Server database completed the query in 12 seconds (with ColumnStore indexing) and the SQLite completed the query in 15 seconds. I tried several ways to do the same in FileMaker including the ExecuteSQL function and scripting building the pivot table. The best FileMaker could do was complete the query in 7.5 minutes!

You will have much better database backend options with Xojo. For importing / exporting files, they all have good frontend tools that allow you to manage the database and do imports, exports, backups, test queries, etc. Although it is less popular than it was in the past, the free MySQL Workbench for MySQL databases is a really fantastic tool with lots of great features. MySQL is also a very easy install.

SQLite is also a great database that can do a lot more than most will give it credit for. For a front end manager, there are a few out there. SQLite Studio is not bad, but I typically use my JetBrains IDE when working with SQLite. Valentina also has Valentina Studio which is a free tool for managing many databases.

Above all else, if you have done any scripting or custom functions in FileMaker - you will really enjoy using the Xojo IDE in comparison to what the FileMaker platform gives you for writing code. The FileMaker development experience is really abysmal…

Good luck and hope Xojo works out for you.


i have been using SQLiteManager from SQLabs for ages

Just curious:
what are-you doing with these applications ?

When I write more complex SQL, I prefer to do it in a tool and then bring it back into the IDE once I know it is optimized and does what I am looking for it to do. It also gives me a chance to play with indexes and check out the query execution plans. With JetBrains’ PyCharm, I can do some of that right in the IDE.

I haven’t done anything with Valentina yet, other than to just take a look at it. I just purchased the OmegaBundle that included Valentina Studio Pro, but have not had a chance to really switch to it yet.

OK, thank you.

Hello Stephen, you certainly don’t need to purchase Xojo plugins to work with Excel files or legacy Filemaker databases for free from with Xojo. I use shell commands (or more precisely) cross platform PowerShell calls (Win/Mac/Linux) to well documented and community maintained libraries to manipulate Excel files(create / read / write / recalculate / save as etc) data or to transform any legacy Filemaker data I am required to access. I try not to (as in never) use Xojo Plugins. If I recall correctly a presentation from the last Powershell Summit (conference) it was mentioned there were now more than 96,000 cross platform libraries across all manner of functionality. In one of my Xojo Web Apps, I consolidate financials from a number of Excel files, performing some adjustments before presenting a summary in a WebListBox. I then edit the source Excel files with updates to budgets for the next month.

In it’s simplest form Xojo, is a drag and drop visual screen or web page designer. The controls you drag on screen are event driven and each control has related properties. Getting familiar with the controls and their events (actions) is the best place to start (especially the ListBox/WebListBox if your planned apps are data centric). Deeper programming concepts will follow with experience.

Migrating from Filemaker to Xojo is like moving out of your parents house and into your first apartment. Freedom (for sure), but you’ll need to learn a few new skills before you can live well…

If you are not convinced you want to go on that journey, then I’d recommend you check out some of the low code environments (like Ninox, Airtable or Infinity). More like Filemaker, in a sense that they are databases with scripting and automation, but IMO opinion those listed blow FM out of the water on price and the ability to deliver apps fast (especially if you consider yourself a citizen developer). On a tight timeline, we rebuilt our internal CRM in Ninox in under a week (mimicking almost every automation we had built into our previous system).

I hope that helps…

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Great advice here from an another ex FileMaker user.

My mind is buzzing with the opportunities to develop solutions you would never be able to achieve in Filemaker. I love SQLite - its so flexible and easy to work with. Perfect for web applications or when you just want a lightweight DB - with some of the newer features like generated columns it has become even more powerful.

The other thing is the user community here is extremely helpful - I always felt a little isolated on FileMaker (mainly as the forums are so bad after the change a year or so ago). Given the nature of the product you have many users with a wider range of experience than the typical FileMaker user which helps too.

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I would have to agree with the comments here. A big difference between developing in the two environments. I’m currently doing Filemaker devlopment for several clients. I started looking more closely into Xojo when FM decided to deprecate runtimes. I had one client that wanted a solution that would run on both Mac and Windows. I ran into some difficulty due to Filemaker’s lack of being able to use SQL queries any where. I ended up developing in an old version of RealBASIC that I had. This was really the beginning of my journey back to Xojo. The only limitation is your own head unlike Filemaker.

Vince, in your last sentence do you mean, with XOJO you are limited by your own abilities/ imagination whereas in FM, FM becomes the limitation?

yes I believe that’s what he means - like I said a world of opportunity has been opened for me since leaving FileMaker. I find myself having to focus of one area at a time though as my mind is racing ahead with possibilities - I always felt like I was fighting FileMaker in that it restricted me too much.


That is correct.