Saturday, July 07, 2018

Thoughts on replacing FileMaker Pro 11

Once upon a time database apps were priced and sold as a consumer product. Those were the days when computers were marketed as a replacement for a recipe book.

There were dozens of consumer oriented database products then, priced from under $15 shareware apps to around $100 for relatively full featured commercial products (AppleWorks, etc). Some of these products, particularly on the Mac, were astounding (though high end ones were priced as business products).

That era seems weird now. It definitively ended when Apple discontinued Bento. Shortly afterwords FileMaker was priced as a business-only product. Panorama X has followed a similar path. Tap Forms is sold at a consumer price, but it failed my basic trial tests.

The era of the affordable personal database app has passed. The only commercial remnant on any platform is Microsoft Access — somehow Microsoft can’t quite kill it. LibreOffice Base began as Microsoft Access clone and sort of runs on macOS, but parts of it still require Java.

My only current use case for FileMaker Pro is that it runs my personal password database. I could move that (yay data freedom!) to Microsoft Access in a VM, but Windows 10 is a monstrous amount of baggage to keep around just to run a personal password manager.

I could finally migrate to 1Password. Emily and I use it and I have to periodically dump data into it manually from my old password database. I wonder how long that product will last with Apple incorporating credential management into the operating system though.

Or I could adopt the lazy choice and stay on Sierra and FileMaker Pro 11 a while longer. I like the sound of that one.


Unknown said...

Panorama is in the range of historic prices for personal databases. Panorama X has a interesting pricing model. If you prepay for 5 years of credits it is only $300, or $5 month. If you don't use it in a given month you don't loose the credits.

I recall that $300 is about what I paid for Panorama in the 90's. This 2001 review would seem to confirm my memory

Also 1Password plans range from $3 to $8 per month on an annual basis. So Panorama X is not our of line price wise.

Having said that, I do not use Panoram. It is more than i need for my personal needs. (And Postgres is what I use professionally). I feel that there should be a better solution for a lightweight easy to use personal database. Heck, SQLite is on everything. What we need is a good front end.

Unknown said...

Take a look here - would love to hear your thoughts on this product.

I have not had time to play with it yet extensively.

W.r.t. 1Password, I would definitely use that. I've been an avid fan for it's simplicity and minimal intrusion. YMMV

Unknown said...

I shifted my FMP files to Open Office

Dan Swift said...

I tried a few different local approaches over the past 5-10 years. Currently, I'm using an Excel document that tracks the site, U/P, date changed, questions/answers, etc. I have that file stored in an encrypted file container. The one plus is that I know it's (generally) safe. The problem for me occurs when I need to look up a password or go between machines.

As much as I'd like to go to the cloud for convenience, I can't help but think if anyone ever finds a bug in any of those vaults and there's a data breach ... well, I don't want to be part of that.