Xojo and FileMaker


there is an amazing thing going on and we have a kind of Halo effect!

Yesterday I once again had a presentation about my FileMaker plugin. I mentioned in the break that I also make plugins for Xojo.
Suddenly they asked me a lot of questions about Xojo and the second half of the presentation was about Xojo!
And one or two of those may even come to my conference in Berlin to learn more about Xojo and see what you guys do with Xojo!

And today I talked with someone about doing a FileMaker training in Switzerland.
Part of the talk was that they want also a 2 hour session on that training day about showing Xojo!

I think it’s amazing how many people from the FileMaker world want to talk with me recently about Xojo development.


And we both know a Xojo developer doing his first Filemaker project :slight_smile: Not that he’s drifting away, but just because Filemaker can in some cases be a good and rapid alternative.

people coming from the “easy” world of filemaker must know that the way to the same app in xojo is not easy …
but after that, the power is so exciting that it’s worth it.

My path was FileMaker 1980s into 2000s overlapped by 4D 1990s into 2000s ( 1 huge project in Serius - later Novell Appware ) replaced by Xojo 2001 - present.
FileMaker’s biggest strength is its greatest weakness. Ease of use -> ease of poor design. It was, however, the endless “coding and debugging via dialogs” that drove me away.

My path with filemaker was rather short in the 80’s too, I quickly realized that it was too painful to program with.
then 4D from 90’s to 2005’s, then a black period trying to find a viable 4d alternative.
I really discovered xojo in 2010 (but was playing with it in the 10 years before without finding the good way with it).

FileMaker makes connecting the database to controls amazingly easy and also has controls that that are easy to use.

Xojo could make the move easier making working with databases easier. I was excited when Geoff said this on the Reddit AMA: ‘Yes, I wish our database integration was better. We should have focused on that years ago but we are planning for it for a future release. I’m sure it will be an incremental process but it’s an area we could improve that would help the majority of users.’

Adding additional properties to WebTextFields would be huge as well. FileMaker makes it easy to add a ‘Drop Down Calendar’ to make it easy to select dates. FileMaker also makes formatting data easy with options to format Booleans, Decimals, Currency, Percentages, Dates, Times, and even auto scaling images.

While anyone could develop these features on their own, as I’ve been doing in Xanadu, not having ‘helpers’ like this built into Xojo becomes a barrier for folks coming from FileMaker.

Every once in a while I get FileMaker customers asking for help in getting their FM made application in the Mac App Store.

I try my best; but often it’s simple not possible.

You can even, with a bit of preparations, achieve a very similar functionality and ease of database use with Xojo onboard features. The dataControl class gives a good clue about the starting point. (Although you don’t have to use a visible control for keeping the reference to a recordset). The DataBaseFieldInterface can be attached to any control and makes reading and setting values easy.
But yes, like Hal (or rather Geoff) said, it would be great if all the missing features were included. But it’s not too difficult to add them.

and the list with a great number of database records in it ? xojo is very far from doing this …
it’s doable, because I did it, but it took me a year to make it the way I wanted.

I think the constant ability to ALMOST do what I needed to do finally wore me down. The final kicker was the new licensing model which is laughingly complex and priced my product out of the market. I’m certified and a 20+ year FMP developer but no more. I use it for it’s greatest strength: quickie DB apps that I need personally. I’m still a newbie with Xojo but I’m hooked. Yeah, I had to learn OOP seriously and things take a bit more coding but I can see so much more for my products now. Wish I had made the move a long time ago.

For those that are coming from FileMaker to Xojo, here are some resources:

Thanks @Paul Lefebvre
I’m the one who is working on his first FileMaker project.
The customer mostly works on iPads with it.
Quite easy to achieve with FileMaker, but in the future I want to see if switching to Xojo is possible. :wink:

Before using Xojo, my main programing tool was FileMaker DEV6 (circa 2002).

Although I’m a hobby programmer, I was able to sell a few customised solutions, but I’ve mainly used it for my own personal projects. That version of FM has many limitations, worst for me was access to the hardware ports etc. so I’ve been searching for a replacement.

Over a period of approx. 6 months I looked at Visual Studio (mainly C#) then mucked around with Eclipse, then processing 2.2.1. My main wish was to access the serial port and create a simple xy graph.

Then I got a phone call from my brother who had come accross a useful program which allowed you to see the serial/usb port stream and also save the data. That program was CoolTerm, written by Roger Meier who is a member of this forum. I can’t remember if it was in the help file or at the close of the program but Roger pointed out that the software was written using Xojo.

I checked it out, downloaded the free trial, looked at it for a few weeks and went from there. That’s how I came to using Xojo.

Xojo is the best programming language I’ve ever used, especially when you look at the cost and tools available. I’ve looked at FileMaker again but the cost is prohibitive and with the subscription model, I find rather offensive.

Whilst Xojo is not a database programming language, I know that there are tools that I can use to create a database, JSON etc. I think, but that is a bit way off at the moment, but at least I know it can be done.

Today again, a training on my FileMaker plugin ended with 2 hours overview of Xojo!

And for the regular FileMaker meeting in Hamburg (Germany), there will be a Xojo presentation from Carsten Belling. see