FileMaker is a great tool when it comes to rapidly prototyping and deploying certain types of applications, especially ones that rely heavily on database interaction and/or sorting specific data sets. However, it’s not a universal solution, and despite some people’s efforts to integrate it into every single aspect of their development workflow, it’s not a good idea to rely too heavily on FileMaker as a go-to solution for everything. However, learning to recognize the appropriate times to use it, and managing to work it into your regular activities in a clever way can benefit you a lot in the long run.
Do you have a large team working on the project?
Depending on how your development work is structured, sometimes it may not be appropriate to attempt to solve the problem with FileMaker, especially if you have a lot of people contributing. It can get problematic in the long run without any proper version control, which can sometimes be difficult to integrate for a FileMaker solution in certain environments. On the other hand, FileMaker can be ideal for smaller, more focused projects that don’t require attention from multiple directions at all times. You just need to learn to balance your available resources – if you can automate some tasks and therefore reduce the required manpower, that could impact your project in a positive way that could make FileMaker a more adequate solution.
Is response time important?
FileMaker applications can occasionally get heavy and feel bloated as you move around their menus and use their various features, and it’s important to keep that in mind when developing something that will be deployed in an environment where response time is of critical value. You may be able to optimize the application in certain ways, depending on your skill set, but you should still keep in mind that FileMaker is not an ideal solution if you care about performance on a high level. There are some better ways to integrate advanced data processing into your workflow at those stages, and you should consult some specialists.
That said, FileMaker can work great for smaller applications with a more clearly defined focus, and you should definitely explore the opportunities it offers in this area. When you know exactly what kind of data you need to work with, and you know some expected values about it, you can make a set of FileMaker applications that solve the problem in a chained manner.
Do you have access to a proper hosting plan?
Last but not least, it’s important to think about hosting your applications if they are to be accessed by a large number of people. Organizations can benefit a lot from integrating a hosted FileMaker solution into their workflows, but this can sometimes come at an extra cost. Make sure that you understand the intricate details of FileMaker hosting, and you know how to find a good hosting partner who can provide you with a reliable long-term solution. There’s nothing worse than having a whole system set up that relies heavily on a set of FileMaker applications, only to have the whole thing go down when your host makes a mistake that could have been easily prevented.
Thankfully, the market is well-developed in that regard, and you should have no problem finding someone reliable that can address your needs in a professional manner. Just make sure that you’re prepared on your side – this means knowing exactly what kind of hosting plan you’re looking for, what applications you’ll be hosting, how many, etc. Of course, these factors can change over time, which also makes it important to find a partner who’s flexible enough and can provide you with different rates depending on your current situation.
Working with FileMaker can be great if you understand how it works and the specific requirements of a hosted FileMaker application, but you should learn to not rely on it exclusively as a solution to all your business problems. While it can be great for addressing some specific issues, it’s not the ultimate tool on the market. In fact, none is – that’s why there are so many different products out there that fit different business and customer needs, and as a responsible leader, you need to learn to recognize the appropriate opportunities and filter out the rest.