Getting Started

There are three main components you will need to use the FileMaker Platform:

1. The FileMaker Platform (software)

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The full platform includes a server component (FileMaker Server) and client component (FileMaker Pro Advanced) that runs on Windows or Mac computers. Regardless of where in the world your users on FileMaker Pro Advanced Client are located, they can connect to your FileMaker server. All that’s needed is an Internet connection. The FileMaker Platform is licensed yearly through a licensing model called “FileMaker User Licensing“. Simply count how many users your organization has that will use FileMaker, then purchase a yearly license for that number of users. You can start with the minimum of five users, then add in increments of one as your needs grow.

FileMaker Pro Advanced client runs on your user’s Mac and/or Windows computers and connects to your custom apps on your FileMaker Server. FileMaker Pro Advanced is unique in that it is used both to access (user interface) and create (development tool) your apps.

FileMaker Go is a free App Store download for iPad and iPhone that allows your mobile users to connect to your custom apps on your FileMaker Server. FileMaker Go can be used for accessing (user interface) your apps, but not for creating them.
FileMaker Server software runs on a server hardware that all your users connect to. Don’t want to mess with maintaining your own on premise server computer? No problem, numerous cloud service providers offer affordable FileMaker Server hosting remotely in the cloud.
FileMaker WebDirect is a component of FileMaker Server that allows your users to access your databases via a compatible web browser. Since FileMaker WebDirect runs in a browser environment, not all of the features of FileMaker Pro Advanced are available.

2. Hardware

Most likely, you already have Windows/Mac computers for all your users. And if your organization has mobile users they’ll need iPhones and or iPads (cellular version highly recommended) if they don’t already have them to run FileMaker Go. Note: FileMaker Go is not compatible with Android (sorry Android users). Finally, you’ll need a server grade machine to run FileMaker Server (this is the machine that all your users connect to and does all the backups of your data). If you have an IT department they may already have a server machine that FileMaker Server software can be installed on. Alternatively, many of our clients prefer not to mess with the headache of maintaining an “on premises” server computer and dealing with their IT department and instead use third party FileMaker Server hosting companies. For a reasonable monthly fee, hosting providers handle all hardware requirements in the cloud. We recommend FMPHost.com and have had many clients who have used them for years, their customer service and pricing are hard to beat.

3. Custom application development

This is where FileMaker Certified developers come in. We work with you to determine how the FileMaker Platform can best be used to streamline and innovate your business processes. We will build your app and include you on every step of the way (design, development, testing, more testing,… and even more testing, and finally implementation) to make sure your app does everything you need and more. Many of our clients are existing FileMaker users, and as such handle components 1 and 2 above themselves. If you are new to the FileMaker Platform, we can guide you through all three components of becoming a FileMaker Platform user.

Sometimes, clients may have FileMaker developers on staff (or someone with a willingness to learn) and take over ongoing maintenance and enhancements after we’ve developed the initial version of the custom application. FileMaker has even created a tool to help you determine if you may already have the requisite skills to “DIY” your project or if you’d be better off to hire a pro. The quiz can be found at: https://www.filemaker.com/partners/quiz/