Revolution, MySQL vs FileMaker

Bill Marriott wjm at
Mon Oct 2 01:16:18 EDT 2006


I was on vacation the last week, so I'm coming into your thread a bit late. 
I'm not surprised that you received a lot of pro-Rev advice... it IS a 
Revolution list, after all! However, I don't believe it's a clear-cut 

The strength of Rev is in the total control you have over the user 
interface. You can't script FileMaker to respond to mouseover's for example. 
Both platforms allow you to create royalty-free standalones. But FileMaker 
doesn't allow you to remove certain interface elements like the zoom in/out 
mountains, the Browse/Layout/Find popup menu, and the closing "made with 
FileMaker" logo. FileMaker standalones cannot connect to FileMaker Server, 
but you can use (slower) ODBC connections or the new Web Viewer control. Rev 
is also the better choice for real-time monitoring of values... for example 
in a stock-trading program. Because Rev is an open-ended development 
platform, the only real limitations are those of your programming skill. You 
can write a graphing module or interface to a robot that irons and folds 
your clothes if you want.

The strength of FileMaker is in how much work is already done for you. Just 
look at the process of defining tables, fields, and relationships. That 
doesn't exist in Rev. FileMaker lets you tick a couple check boxes to 
validate field entries, control adding and deleting related records, format 
fields on a layout, control access privileges, etc. It has a built-in web 
server that faithfully replicates your layouts. Pick any FileMaker module 
you like: Yes, you could build it in Revolution. No, it would not be as 
polished, sophisticated, or functional (in this lifetime). Not unless you 
had a whole crew of developers working on it. FileMaker represents thousands 
of hours of coding and testing of its database tools.

Like most things, more freedom means more responsibility.

You mentioned cost as a motivation for switching. Have you factored in that 
it may take you ten to twenty times longer to code the solution in Rev, even 
if you have a tool to ease the conversion to SQL?  Do your clients ever need 
to make small changes, such as adding a new report, on their own? It's much 
more likely they will be able to do this without assistance with FileMaker 
than with a custom app built in Rev.

Also, have you looked into the options for FileMaker fully?

- Instant Web Publishing from FileMaker Server Advanced lets you have up to 
100 *simultaneous* connections from the web (zero-cost clients). Yes, IWP 
does have some limitations, but it will take you less time to work around 
them than it would to build it all from scratch.

- Custom web publishing with FileMaker Server Advanced will let you use 
industry-standard protocols/tools (for example, PHP and XML) to access 
databases from a web browser -- without a meaningful concurrent-client 
limit. This lets you do all the "heavy listing" database work with FileMaker 
Pro (database schema, prototyping) and write nice, AJAX-enabled front ends 
at very low per-client cost.

- FileMaker has some really attractive options for bundling full versions 
with solutions. You don't say how many copies are needed, but it would cost 
you a fraction of the full retail version.

- Are you a FileMaker Solutions Alliance member? Membership gives you some 
great benefits including volume licensing/resale pricing, access to the 
FileMaker-monitored developer mailing list, and free copies of the software 
for yourself. Plus you can get some great co-marketing support from 
FileMaker, like being listed in the directory that FileMaker supplies with 
each retail copy of the software. Being listed as a FileMaker developer in 
this directory can help you get a lot more business, and Rev doesn't have 
anything like it.

Just looking over some of the posts here, it seems the comments on FileMaker 
are based on versions two to four years old and older. Or from people who 
haven't built full-scale solutions in FileMaker. Make sure you know the full 
capabilities and cost implications of the current versions of FileMaker 
before you make your final decision.

"Javier Miranda V." <jemirandav at> 
wrote in message news:981AAE6A-EAAF-4FEE-8705-94C4BB00F2C6 at
> While not trying to initiate a "war" , I would like to know if the 
> process of migrating from FileMaker to a Revolution/MySQL will  compensate 
> the effort. Here is situation:
> I'm in the final stages of building an Application for Document 
> Management using FileMaker, it works fine, presenting a very polished 
> interface and variety of options but ....
> The cost for the client would be to high considering the price of the 
> solution itself plus a copy of Filemaker Server (7, 8 or 8.5) and a  copy 
> of FileMaker for every user in the LAN!
> I understand that the functionality of a server/client can be 
> accomplished using the Revolution/MySQL pair Installing MySQL in the 
> Server along with the Revolution Stack, then installing client Stack  in 
> the users machines. Is this true? Is this the real configuration  of the a 
> server/client solution? Are there any other considerations/ software 
> needed? I'm missing something? Or I'm totally wrong?
> Sorry for my ignorance, I'm sure you RevPeople will help.

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