Two FileMaker Half-price Offers

The First Offer

I’m not sure how many Scrivener users also use Bento or FileMaker, but I thought I’d throw out this special offer. It’s good until June 7, 2011.

filemakeroffer.com/2011promo2/

The Essentials

If you own any version of Bento for the Mac, you can upgrade to the latest FileMaker version, FM 11, for half-price, meaning $149 instead of $300. That’s a good deal. The only hitch is that FM 12 is probably about to come out and this offer doesn’t allow a free upgrade. It applies to the Mac and Windows versions. I checked: Buy one copy and you can use it on both your desktop/work computer and your laptop/home computer.

Why It Matters

I’ve been using an ancient FM 5.5 to keep track of my books, ISBNs and some of my research. It’s so old, it had PowerPC code, so it needs the Rosetta PPC emulator to run. Apple won’t be supporting Rosetta under the next version of OS X, so I needed to upgrade. This came just in time. I’d hate to have to rewrite all those databases. I just imported them into FM 11 and, except for some cosmetic issues, the import seems to have gone without a hitch. If you’re in a similar situation, this is your answer.

The Second Offer

There’s also another offer that works differently. You can find it here:

filemakertrial.com/gopromo/? … 2fmg-promo

I didn’t read the fine print, but this offer (which expires June 17, 2011) means that if you buy the iPad ($40) or iPhone ($20) version of FileMaker Go, you can get FileMaker for Macs or PCs for $149. Spend $20 to save $150. Not shabby. Their FM Go/ FM Pro combination makes sense if you need to access your data on the go.

FileMaker

FileMaker Pro is a highly rated, commercial-grade, fairly easy to use database creator, one that lets you escape the limitations of speciality database programs and create a database that does precisely what you want. The uses are mostly business-related, although FM can also be used for research. I keep notes from books I’ve read in it.

–Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien

You might look at Bookpedia some time. It’s only $19 and for my needs more than adequate. Lets me keep all kinds of data on books, including my comments, and it exports nicely to EndNote. CDpedia and DVDpedia are just as nice for those collections. One great feature: select multiple entries, hit Cmd-E, and you may edit fields on those entries in a single panel. Nice for correcting all those variables in data that will crop up, like publisher names or places. (I am a former FMP user; now prefer Bento.)

I’m a former FMP user as well. Tried Bento and never liked it. OTOH, I just love Panorama. The downside is that pricing and upgrades are as bad as FMP’s in terms of expense. Fortunately they’re less frequent. I got tired of FMP’s paid upgrades.
They recently made Panorama Sheets available, and that one’s much cheaper.
provue.com/
In my experience -up to FMP 11 and Panorama 5.5- my databases were smaller in Panorama, and working with them was faster.

Thanks for letting us know about this offer. I need to buy a copy of the Windows version of FileMaker for the nonprofit organization I volunteer for and this will save us a little money.

BTW, I use Bento on my MacBook and am very happy with it. I wish there was a version for Windows.

You might check around before you buy even at half-price. I wish I could remember its name, but there’s a website where a non-profit I work with gets their software at very hefty discounts, about 10% of retail. I’m sure you’ll need the proper credentials and to be fully vetted, but the saving are quite large. You might start with this:

home.techsoup.org/

But the listing I found there for FileMaker was $179, making this still the better offer.

I share the frustration some feel with FileMaker. FileMaker 5.5 did all I needed, which is why I’ve delayed this upgrade so long. I tried Bento, which is why I qualified for the special offer. But I found it so weird, I couldn’t make sense of it, other than to observe that it seemed designed not to take business away from FileMaker Pro. Developers who create FileMaker packages for small businesses love it and it seems to be designed with them in mind. For the lone writer/user. Bento is too little and FileMaker too costly. There needs to be something in the middle.

FileMaker is owned by Apple, and that’s the reason some think that iWorks has yet to add even a simple database. Apple doesn’t want to rob business away from an affiliate.

One plus is that my main worry, the imports from FM 5.5 to FM 11 seem to have gone well with one exception. The fonts for text boxes seemed to have been stripped out, leaving everything in some default font. That’s no big deal though. It’s the starting from scratch I managed to avoid.

I had some early trouble with Bento, until I sensed that I only like to view data in table list form, as in FMP or Panorama (which I also once used). In table form, it’s easy to see, edit, and organize data into various smart-folder patterns. So, you might just skip all the foo-foo displays and try the tables alone.

The biggest issue I had with Bento was that it didn’t include the ability to print labels – but the latest version has added this function. Other than that, I’ve found it to be pretty easy and straight forward. The set of form designs leaves much to be desired – primarily relating to the lack of contrast between the background and the fields. But that’s not too inconvenient.

On the other hand, I’m so glad Panorama Sheets was mentioned, because this might just be the database I’ve been looking for for Windows. So thank you, Eddie.

Steve

And as this video shows Steve, it’s also easy to print labels :smiley:
youtube.com/watch?v=mumW9YLj5k4

Sheets looks like a useful, inexpensive, flat file database. it would be all I’d ever need for running a writing business. I like it better than bento because bento, while it’s improving, is still not so much a database as an organizer. The major weakness in bento is its lack of search options.

For more complex use, I think fm pro shines. The things I like about it are its many options for importing and exporting data, it’s relational abilities and it’s comprehensive search options. I’m glad to see fm 11 bring dbase exports back. One of the mailers i use prefers dbase iii (ancient computer running dos). Since he does great work for less money (perhaps partly due to low overhead from things like ancient computer systems he knows inside out) I am happy to oblige him.

I need fm’s relational/complex search/comprehensive import-export abilities.

I know this isn’t needed by most writers. But think about how you’ll use a database creator before you buy one. It’s easy to get fm to do flat file work. Getting other databases to do relational work, or to import/export from diverse sources is either difficult or impossible.