Is FileMaker totally useless?

I’ve been terribly frustrated by my FileMaker Pro 7. Can it not search and replace null? I tried writing a simple calculation (adding 30 days to a calendar date for a tickler file) and I can’t do it. It simply tells me I have an error, but I copied something from an online tutorial, so it can’t be my grammar, or something.

I can make Access do anything I want, and I have years of writing Superbase applications behind me, but for some reason FileMaker makes me want to bang my head on the keyboard.

I’m planning applications like something to track where I’ve sent things and what happened next, so maybe I should just get a prefab program? I’ll take suggestions on that, too.

I’ve been used to writing my own applications, but FileMaker is so terribly frustrating I’m ready to write it off.

Any help, or even commiseration, greatly appreciated.

I’ve been using Filemaker for about 20 years, and I’ve usually found that if there was something I couldn’t do, it was because I hadn’t yet learned the correct technique. :slight_smile:

Since you’re using an older version, I’m not sure how or if they would translate, but has a lot of resources available at no charge, including contacts, project tracking, etc. databases ready for download. There are also links there to quite a few other free templates for contact info and project tracking for older versions, but you’d have to do some hunting. Any of those could get your database up and running more quickly than starting from scratch.

If you’d rather use your Access skills, the free NeoOffice includes an Access clone.

For a ready-to-go solution, MarketCircle’s Daylite is splendid, though a bit pricey.

Search for empty fields by entering an equals sign in the field in Find mode.

myDate + 30 in a calculation will do what you want provided you’re setting the result of the calculation (popup at the bottom of the window) to Date.

Substitute ( text ; searchString ; “” )

Filemaker scripting is very, very weird but you can produce extremely polished applications quickly once you get your head around the goofiness.


Yes, that was my impression.

Thanks to all for their very helpful tips. I’m ready to go bang my head against the keyboard again, only with the happy knowledge that is not me, it’s THEM.

Heck, banging my head on the keyboard is how I learned programming in the first place.

Yes, it is. It doesn’t just suck, it blows.


Sometime ago, I started checking out other database apps avail for the Mac; read some good things about Panorama. Haven’t used it extensively, so I’m not recommending it as much as suggesting it as an alternative.


If you think FileMaker is weird and ungainly you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Panorama is just plain bizarre. It has a tantalizingly huge but impenetrable scripting language and the UI designer is reminiscent of an Apple II-era application. On the other hand, it is probably the fastest database anywhere: the original was written mostly in assembly language (it’s now been rewritten for X) and the data tables are kept wholly in memory—it is blistering fast.


maybe that’s why i never seemed to get past a certain level with it. after reading a glowing review from someone, i gave it a test run but ran out of steam.

what about 4D? has anyone tried that?

every time i go looking for a db for the mac, i feel disappointed. i know too many who rave over filemaker, but after a few dealings with that beast, the only attraction i can see is that it’s one of a few it-seems-like-it-should-be-easy-to-learn, low-cost options for the mac. actually, i think it is the only it-seems-like-it-should-be-easy-to-learn database apps for the mac.

every few months, i make a new search and find that little has changed…

I used both Filemaker and Panorama for several years. I agree with all the previous comments; they are arcane for an average user, and while Panorama is super fast, it’s also expensive. Developer Jim Rea is a very nice guy, though, and quite responsive to users.

Possibly DB software for the Mac is undernourished because so many of its basic apps are, in fact, databases. Mail, Address Book, and iCal. EndNote and BookEnds. The Bruji catalog suite: Bookpedia, CDpedia, DVDpedia, Gamepedia. DevonNote and DevonThink. You may set up Numbers or Excel to make a simple database, like an address list. These niche apps perform well and cost less than FileMaker, Panorama, or 4D–at least for users who don’t script or program.

Well, I’m investigating Open Office (just writing off File Maker and its expense To Experience…:slight_smile:

I’ve had it highly recommended by folks on another forum, and if it gets Evil Microsoft stuff off my laptop, all the better!

I’ve been upgrading at my day job, and I often chant my mantra, “I hate Microsoft with the heat of a thousand suns.”