Small timesheet solution


This is a rather undefined question, so even general guidance will be helpful. I have a simple timesheet application in Filemaker for a small office (8 employees). The solution has a login page (user table with name, contact info, password), a timesheet table with a date range, and a timesheet entry table hours worked for each day in the range. An employee logs in, creates a card with a start and end date (usually 2 weeks), and enters hours for each day in a portal for that timesheet. At the end of each pay period, the book keeper reports the daily hours for that period.

Pretty basic. I’m quite proficient in filemaker, but need this app to be on the web and the Filemaker Server is prohibitively costly for this organization, so I’m looking for a way to get it rebuilt o the web. I’ve dabbled in Xojo and hear it’s a good substitute for FMPro. I’d love to learn it.

I’m thinking that I build the interface to an SQL db for this using Xojo. Am I in the ballpark that this is a good tool to use for this project? Suggestions for the best way to learn to build an app with a multi-table database like this?

Thanks for any guidance!

I would say definitely Xojo is a great tool for this project. The key to a project such as this is to get the database schema as correct as possible before coding. Look at the examples and don’t be afraid to ask questions here, we are a friendly bunch!

Oh and welcome to the club:)

That’s what I would do for this type of application. And I have done pretty much this exact application a couple of different times.

Welcome to the community!

Check out the example “Eddies Electronics” that comes with Xojo. There are also recordings of webinars on the Xojo website for creating database apps with Xojo/Web.

I use Filemaker for mostly in-house solutions and XOJO for COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) applications.

XOJO is not a good substitute for quick little applications that you may want to tweak from time-to-time. You will need to invest a great deal of time learning the object model and how the framework is put together. In addition, XOJO has a very crude built-in report generator which we abandoned from the get go. There are other solutions, in fact, Bob Keeney has one. Keep in mind that with XOJO, if you are going to develop a web application, you’ll end up paying hosting fees to get that online.

As far as Filemaker goes, I’ve invested in their annual licensing program so it costs me about $ 1500 a year for 7 copies of FMA and one copy of Filemaker server. Expensive? Perhaps, but it costs us $ 699 per developer for XOJO so I would look at this very closely.

One other thing to keep in mind is that grid (it’s called a listbox in XOJO) is extremely poor in XOJO. We’ve been able to get it to work with very limited flexibility and invested a huge amount of time. Entering data in a Filemaker portal is much easier and better.

It really depends on your needs and your target audience. For in-house that you want to tweak quickly, FM and FMS are the obvious choice. If you think this might be marketed to a target audience, then XOJO might be the way to go. Now that IOS for Apps is available in FM, the ability to get an app on an iPhone / iPad swings in favor of FM because it’s the same codebase.

In conclusion, let me say that you can go a lot further with XOJO, but it’s an uphill climb. You must invest the time in order to get what you want. FM has so much of the tools you need built-in that you can typically get it done much faster in FM, but may be limited on your approach and design.

You can’t go wrong with XOJO, but test the waters before you jump in, because it may be a lot deeper than you think.

And I’ve heard the exact opposite from other FileMaker developers. The licensing cost is forcing them to move to something else and Xojo was their choice. Everyone has an opinion and the only one that counts is yours.

Not necessarily. A web app for internal company purposes can be on an internal server accessible via VPN, for example.

A Xojo a web app will work on a variety of devices. I have one that was successfully tested from a Windows desktop, a Mac laptop, an Ipad and an Android tablet. The most universal format is the web app if it is carefully done. It includes pretty complex grids and entry screens. It does not use the built-in report generator. I prefer to make my own… You may want to look at Michel Bujardet’s Rubberviews if your application is going to be used on devices with vastly different screen resolutions and formats.

Just found Eddies Elec and it encourages me, as do the comments here. As I dive in, the only early questions are: For a multi-table, web solution (probably CGI deployed) can I use SQLite or do I need MySQL? Assuming the CGI approach is the way to go, since I’ll be using a hosting service vs. a dedicated server.

To the question of cost/ease vs Filemaker (not wanting to make this a Filemaker thread): I’ve used FMP, sometimes heavily, since 1990, for the last few years mostly just dabbling to stay current. This solution is for a small, non-profit professional theatre. They get their PCs used through donations. Their software budget for the year is in the $100s. I’m just trying to make their life easier. This used to be the PERFECT scenario for Filemaker, but no longer. I was shocked to find a non-economical option for getting one small, four-table, web solution on to the web. On the one hand I appreciate FMP becoming more robust, enterprise-level and marketing itself as such, on the other hand, it has out priced small shops making solutions for smaller shops.

For anything resembling commercial use, I would stay away of mySQL (because of licencing terms). Postgre would definitely be a better choice. On Windows, I am partial to SQL Server (coming soon to Linux, too!). SQL server has a free edition that works very well for small to medium sized projects / transactional volumes.