FileMaker Pro and iOS


I am considering purchasing an single license of Filemaker Pro. Their website states that this is “for individuals that don’t need to share data with others”. I don’t need to share with others but I want to be able to open files that I created on my Mac with Filemaker on iOS (iPhone and iPad). I would like to host the files on iCloud Drive. Is this possible with the single license version? I contacted Claris about a week ago and no answer yet (this is not good). I downloaded the trial but I have not been able to accomplish what I wanted. This may be my fault. Any thoughts?

I use FMP 16 with a single-user license on Catalina (and High Sierra) and FM Go (the version that came out contemporaneously with FMP 16), & it works great for me with the caveat that I only use it on iOS for read-only purposes. So every so often I’ll copy the databases over to a local copy my iOS devices. I have an FM script that shows an alert indicating the last modified date so I don’t fall too far behind.

If this scenario works for you, it’s pretty easy to set up.

Thanks. I was able to open my test file on my iPad. Now I’ll experiment with different layouts and make sure the workflow works well for me.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to host a filemaker database in iCloud. If you want to be able to access your database and make changes to it in filemaker go, you need to either host the database on a desktop using filemaker server (I used to do this pretty cheaply with the filemaker developer program - which gave you a copy of FM server for “testing purposes” for something like $99 a year). Another alternative is to use a FM hosting company, such as FMP host or Point-in-space. I used to do this for $15 per month but the newer versions of FMP require these companies to put your database on a dedicated server (instead of hosting your database with other people’s on the same server), so now these companies charge an additional $50 for this service. As an individual, I personally doubt I would have ever gotten into FMP for this reason had I fully considered it when I started using FMP four years ago, but with that being said, I put a lot of time into developing my database in filemaker and I have a lot of my data in it and it works well for my needs, and I pretty much keep my mbp with me all the time, so it’s usually not a problem. Just know if you get into filemaker, you will likely need to make a significant additional outlay if you need to host your database.

1 Like

Yeah, I built custom landscape and portrait layouts for iPhone and iPad, and added some scripting to each to allow me to (among other things) automatically create a note in Ulysses and tag it to remind me to link it back to the source record when I’m back on the Mac. The degree of customization that’s possible is amazing - no other app I use on iOS comes close. But it takes a lot of work and $ to get there.

Thank you. I had never really thought about using a Filemaker hosting service. I just checked the companies you suggested and you’re right, it gets to be expensive, especially for my use case (personal/hobby use). It’s too bad that Claris does not offer a lower cost solution for individual users. For now I’m going to use the system described by @dfay.

Are you going to upgrade to v19? FMP16 is the last version that is eligible to get the upgrade pricing. My last version (13) is not eligible, so I purchased a low cost v16 on eBay (theoretically an unopened box - I’ll see tomorrow) and I’ll use that to upgrade to 19.

Is this by trial and error to make it fit properly on your iPhone and iPad?

You seem to have a well-thought out system for using with FM Go. I agree, that FMP is a very powerful application that has gotten better over the years. I had been a user from v1-v13. I used it mostly to create databases for work. I never was an “expert”. Since it’s quite some time since I created a database in FMP, I’ll have to relearn. Any resources that you (and @wvu_mtneer) find helpful?

I made it from 10 to 16 without upgrading…will wait and see if 16 runs on Big Sur.

For the layouts, as I recall you can specify devices in the layout editor and it has the dimensions. I also added some navigation scripts to more easily switch layouts on the devices.

Here’s the article I think I started with -

My main project was recreating PocketBib after the developer stopped supporting it. I use BibDesk export templates to convert the BibTeX & linked files and URLs to three csvs which I then import to FM Go.

I received the link to the download and a serial for FMP16 that I bought on eBay ($30). To my surprise the serial was valid and I was able to upgrade to FMP19 through Claris. Saved me a lot of money. Still not cheap, though.

Thanks for sending the link for the dimensions for the iPhone, iPad, etc. Should help a lot.

Thanks for all your help.

Nice. They do 2 for 1 individual license sales now and then - maybe someone had an extra. Brave to buy a license on eBay though!

This seller has multiple copies of FMP14 through 16. It was a gamble that worked out well. This was my second purchase ever on eBay. I did it on a whim.

1 Like

Good resources for Filemaker include “the missing manual” book series and videos on filemaker (I literally subscribed to Lynda for a few months just for these and then cancelled my subscription) and the filemaker community. There are a few filemaker podcasts but by and large the intended audience is other pro developers instead of “citizen developers,” so the content can be quite advanced.

1 Like

@neonate I’m sure you have probably already checked out airtable but I would be interested to know whether you have given it much consideration? If so, was there a particular reason you didn’t find it suitable for your needs? I recently considered migration to airtable but I have a lot of tables/scripts/relationships and I concluded that I would have to give up too much functionality to go to airtable.

1 Like

Re: Resources - I may check out - maybe all I would need to get started is a month or two then cancel.

Yes, I have checked out Airtable. In fact, I have a couple of databases there, using the free plan. I really like Airtable but I think FMP will give me more flexibility to customize the look and feel of my databases. The Airtable Pro plan does have a Page Designer, which looks interesting. At some point I may subscribe to the Pro plan for a month and do a side-by-side comparison with FMP and see which one works best for me.

Thanks for your advice.

Just fyi you may be able to get already through your local public library.

1 Like