Alternatives to Filemaker (won’t run on Mojave)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by oakrrl, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. oakrrl macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2006
    When I was working I developed some fairly simple relational DBs on Filemaker; once I retired (8 years ago) I wanted to keep access to some of them for personal use. I upgraded to FM 14, didn’t upgrade beyond that since 14 was adequate for my needs. Now have upgraded OS to Mojave on my iMac and 14 won’t run on it. Fortunately I have not upgraded OS on my Macbook so I still have access to my DBs.

    FM has become more and more corporate-oriented, too expensive for an individual light-duty user like myself. I’d like to migrate my FM DBs to some other database software. Ideally I’d be able to retain the flexible layout formatting so I can have different views of my data - a spreadsheet won’t cut it, especially since I have some graphics.

    Any suggestions? Would be nice if the software could have an iOS version as well.
  2. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    Did you ever consider the use of PostgreSQL, MySQL or SQLite?
  3. Septercius macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2017
    PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite are database servers - hardly what the OP is looking for. FM may be a database, but it's more like MS Access than MySQL and its ilk.
  4. organicCPU, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

    organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    As Filemaker is one of its own, I guess there is no similar comfortable database environment with integrated GUI design capabilities.
    In conjunction with LibreOffice and ODBC or a web browser and some knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP or JavaScript one could have similar functionality with the mentioned relational database management systems (RDBMS) for free.
    SQLite is not a client–server database engine, but everything is embedded in the end user application like the web browser and a single file contains all data.
  5. jaduff46 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2010
    Second star on the right....
    The site has a number of alternatives. I’ve looked at a couple such as TapForms and LibreOffice, but probably depends on the number of tables, complexity of both queries and user interface.

    You’d surely have to export the tables as flat files and the queries as SQL text and import into whatever you choose.

    Retired three years ago myself and just haven’t had the need to dig further.
  6. ssmed macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2009
    Although not relevant to this thread due to cost - 4D fits this bill well and far easier make more complex/sophisticated solutions
  7. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    Didn't know that.
    As Bento got retired, TapForms might be an alternative. Another similar App seems to be Ninox Database:
  8. mpainesyd, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

    mpainesyd macrumors 6502


    Nov 29, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    I agree that the latest Filemaker purchasing options are geared for advanced corporate users. It seems that basic database versions are no longer available and you have to buy the "Advanced" package that includes many unwanted extras. A non-profit organisation (retiree??) can purchase this for AU$490, which is ridiculous.
    Having said that, the pain of converting data and especially scripts, to another environment is too much to consider. I have done this twice (Open Access for DOS to Microsoft Access to Filemaker when I changed from Windows to Mac OSX).
    I actually still run Open Access under DOSBOX on a Mac for some legacy database applications because it has an SQL core and more powerful programming tools than MS Access or Filemaker. In fact I used to be part of an Open Access User Group that invited the forerunner of Fillemaker (forgotten its name*) to be demonstrated at a meeting and we nearly laughed at how pathetic it was.
    In my view FM still has the same fundamental limitations because of its core structure - but I am stuck with it!
    I am running FM15 "pro advanced" which I understand will run under Mojave and don't plan to upgrade from that.
    If you can get hold of FM15 or 16 and succesfully register it then that may be one way to avoid the latest FM17 pricing.
    As FM is owned by Apple we should all be lobbying for cheaper, stripped down packages.

    * It was Clarion - to be fair that was not the Filemaker predecessor but it had similar limitations
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    I just discovered this as well. Really not happy about FM's new business practices. Any other alternatives out there?
  10. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    As others have mentioned, LibreOffice Base is a relational database... and what I use when I need relational databases. Believe it or not, Bento still works. Even though it is discontinued and not supported, for flat-file database needs, it still works well. I'm seeing Bento 3 selling for $10 and Bento 4 for $40.
  11. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    Maybe not what you are looking for but Xojo is another alternative for FileMaker. They have a section of their website and training webinars dedicated to Filemaker switchers.

    Xojo is more of an App Development tool so may be very different and not fit your needs but the licensing is far more reasonable than FileMaker. The pricing says per year but you don’t have to renew and can continue to use Xojo after the license expires (the annual renewal provides updates/upgrades).

    You can download Xojo for free and try it out! You only pay once you are ready to compile/build your solution.
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    OK, just installed LibreOffice and Base is working so far. It is rather slow and not as informative on searches (as far as I can tell) but I will give it a try to see if it does the job.

  13. ccprstuff macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2008
    Austin TX
    On FM 12 now, using El Capitan on my 2009 Mac Mini.

    When it comes time to move up from El Capitan, I will strongly explore using a virtual machine to run FM 12 on my new Mac OR continue to use my current Mac (El Capitan), networked to the new Mac, to continue to run software such as FM12.

    FWIW, I'm doing something similar now to run programs requiring Snow Leopard that aren't compatible with El Capitan, following the steps below.

    I opted to go with VMware Fusion, after I carefully followed the instructions available elsewhere, to install a Snow Leopard virtual machine on my 2009 Mac Mini, to run a few (non Filemaker 12) legacy programs. I chose VMware Fusion after comparing it via user reviews with Parallels. It took some configuring and following exact steps I found elsewhere, but once I did, everything works more or less seamlessly. (I am not associated with VMware Fusion in any way.)

    I have two monitors, usually displaying El Capitan from my single Mac on both monitors, unless I'm runing the VM/Snow Leopard, in which case El Capitan is on one Monitor and I have Snow Leopard on the other monitor. Works pretty well. For instance, text in a Snow Leopard/virtual program can be copied and pasted into an El Capitan program, and vice versa.

    Without knowing for sure yet, it is my understanding, that El Capitan can also be installed as a virtual machine on a newer Mac, which SHOULD make it possible for me to continue to use my current FM12 when I upgrade to a new Mac (likely requiring Mojave or above).

    I also keep an ancient PowerMac G4 networked, and connected to a single monitor (one of the two monitors that I have, as mentioned above) that has a video input source switch built in (and I also use a mouse/keyboard USB switch), to run Power PC Tiger-era Mac programs and even a still heavily used Mac OS 9 program under Tiger's Rosetta.

    All in all, there's a bit of inconvenience, in doing what I do, but everything seems to work okay and has been trouble free.

    Also, BEFORE upgrading to newer operating systems, Macs or application versions, I check out this site to see what software works/sorta works/doesn't work, based on user experiences, so I will know what hell or heaven I'm in for.
  14. PoetCSW macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2009
    Panorama works well as a FileMaker replacement. Cheaper than alternatives, but then you rely on a small company.

    It's a subscription model.

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