Monday, April 09, 2007

FileMaker 8: dumbest software ever?

This is rich.

Imagine you have a FileMaker database that's configured to login using the guest account.

Now create an admin account and reduce guest privileges to read-only.

Exit.

Now you're locked out of the database. It won't ask for a un/pw because it's configured to login using the guest account. You can't change the settings because you don't have access privileges.

Wow. What a rotten piece of junk.

Fortunately I'm geeky enough to try starting up holding down the option key. As I'd guessed, that forces FM to ask for a un/pw despite the startup setting.

Update: If you change the startup account you do get a warning about login (shift for windows, option for Mac), but you don't get this warning if you reduce privileges for an existing guest account.

Update: Now that I've calmed down, here's what FileMaker could do to fix this:
  1. Include a menu option in a logical place for requesting a change in privileges/login.
  2. If the structure of FM is such that this cannot occur without a restart, then FM should provide a dialog saying (in essence) 'Close and restart required, is that ok?'

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uh, the Option key PW override an auto-enter password has been a DESIRED feature of FMP for years. FMP isn't dumb...YOU are.

John Gordon said...

Fair enough, "dumbest software ever" was over the top.

So are you saying that there was a time that users could lock themselves out of the database without even the option-launch recovery feature? Wow. That's even worse than I'd thought.

FM needs to have a menu option to escalate privileges as described in an update to my original post. Maybe that exists in 8.5.

Even better would be to implement the same behavior seen in OS X, where if one attempts to perform a privileges operation the OS requests an admin un/pw.

FM is an old product, if it cannot be altered to allow privilege escalation when running, it should offer the option to exit and restart with a un/pw.

The option-startup feature may be a response to customer requests, but it's still an ill-conceived hack.