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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb FileMaker vs. MySQL

    I've been working in FileMaker for about a month now and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier to do some of my projects in MySQL. In many ways, FileMaker is an easy, powerful database solution but in others it seems to fall short.

    For instance, FileMaker has weak layout standardization. There are themes in the developer version but not true stylesheet system. It's a pain to have to do everything 10 times for 10 layouts. Also it seems like FileMaker's scripting is sometimes more difficult in it's attempt to be simple. Why are multiple script parameters such a headache? Why can't I directly specify: go to the record that has x field == y?

    I've never worked in MySQL before (except for a brief introduction recently) and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to migrate my organization's database into an open standard (it is a nonprofit after all). Can anyone with experience tell me the pitfalls I'm likely to come up against in MySQL vs. FileMaker and vice versa?

    Thanks,
    Keviun
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    Re: FileMaker vs. MySQL

    Well here is the low down.

    Mysql is mostly developed around performance, web hosting, and dynamic server backends. If your lets say writing a solution that you want to share over the web quickly and easily, a lot of people will use mysql / php. The problem with that is a couple of things. One, it is very hard to secure a mysql php from hackers. Two, you have no advantage of point click and easy script manipulation like Filemaker does. Most of the time there is more hand code.

    Filemaker on the other hand is so simple and beautiful once u fully understand that any solution is dynamic with point and click scripting; it makes any solution very easy to create. If you want to make a database that just keeps internal records like how many employees you have or how many customers you have. Complex solutions like a solution that ive created like my Service Business Solution it has Employee records, time sheets, invoicing, auto order inventory, service records, and more. All that i mentioned above are perfect for Filemaker. With a somewhat more proprietary application like Filemaker rather than the php/mysql/internet you really do have more security. As far as design with layouts copy and past your layout and if that isn't good enough make a background with a Field that is Global and has X number of repititions. Doing this allows you to change the repetition number on the field which then changes the color of the field or picture depending on what you put in your field.

    Filemaker: Ease of use - Dynamic - Secure - Point Click Scripting

    Mysql PHP: Very Fast, FREE, Dynamic but with more work, less secure as a solution, and a much larger learning curve.

    Tyson

  3. #3
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    Re: FileMaker vs. MySQL

    I'd second Tyson's remarks on this. I came to FileMaker after having worked the MySQL+PHP route as a web developer and I've a fair idea of where each DBMS's strengths and weaknesses lie. Unless you're needing to do anything web-specific, FileMaker is probably going to be the better path to take. It does have its annoyances--some things which are a breeze in MySQL+Whatever can be a real pain in FileMaker--the two gripes you mentioned I certainly share. But at the same time, FileMaker makes so much of the former's development dead-simple. And from a data input and management standpoint, FileMaker wins hands down.

    In my opinion, FileMaker's future viability increased tremendously with FileMaker 9's ability to operate natively with MySQL (and Oracle and MS SQL) database tables. The FileMaker solutions I work with are increasingly being given a web front-end and sticking with FileMaker was starting to become infeasible. Lasso was pretty much the only recourse you had if you wanted to dynamically drive a website from FileMaker(PHP support was on its way), and even then you had to purchase a (ridiculously priced) FileMaker Server Advance. Now, I'll be able to create hybrid solutions with FileMaker being the internal front-end and some web-app framework like Ruby on Rails as the external front-end. I haven't yet had a chance to delve into such a hybrid solution, but I'm pretty psyched about it.

  4. #4
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    Re: FileMaker vs. MySQL

    Very interesting comments...thanks,

    Norm Cole

  5. #5
    Senior Moderator - FMT Preferred Developer Consultant Arizona, NM, Texas, Southwest USA
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    I think one of the biggest advantages is the ability to create concise and detailed user screens. PHP gives you very little positional control over the elements without a lot of work; Filemaker is drag and drop where you want it, sized to what you want. The human-computer interface robustness in FM is unparalleled.

  6. #6
    Senior Moderator - FMT Preferred Developer Consultant - New York - Worldwide AHunter3's Avatar
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    Here is a comparison I once wrote as a FileMaker developer delving into SQL in a serious way for the first time.

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