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sportmac

Unhappy

Question

sportmac

I've had a solution I've sold using runtime since 1997. I have thousands of clients. Every new version of Filemaker I keep thinking "this will be it". But it never is.

 

I cannot believe Filemaker can't issue a patch to developers to distribute that will update for new OS's. Almost every major OS release brings another issue with the runtime.

 

How long must we deal with the hoops we need to jump through to update existing runtimes?

 

I'm willing to pay, handsomely, for these things. I'd pay double for a runtime version that has real update capabilities. I'd pay a yearly fee. At this point I'd throw in my first born - he's a bad seed anyway.

:P

 

They just don't seem interested. They do seem interested in taking away some of our potential business with Bento.

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Weetbicks

It's not a case of recompiling your solution into a Runtime for each version ? What are some of the issues around new versions, I'm curious because I don't deal with runtimes that often.

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sportmac

Recompiling the version is not a problem, the hoops you have to jump through to update it on a strangers computer thousands of miles away is. Look up "updating runtime solution" and take a gander at how convoluted it is.

Filemaker should be all over this if they actually cared about people running a business with runtime. I don't think they care at all.

Look at the ridiculous costs if you want to issue a copy of Filemaker with your solution. $100 (plus the several grand you have to lay down for that privilege). So I'm selling a solution for $70 and if I want to make my life easier Filemaker wants me to charge them $170.00 plus layout some not insignificant cold hard cash of my own.

Then I see Bento and it's price. You wouldn't believe how many requests I've had for an iPhone and iPad version of my software. Nice that Bento is already there. Even Filemaker Go is ready for iPad. And iPad capabilities for us runtime people? You're kidding right? Thanks Filemaker. Odd, but Bento already has an updater, why it's at version 3 already. My guess is those people don't have to jump through hoops to do it.

I'm thinking to myself that if I had known this was the way it was going to be I would never have started a business using Filemaker.

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AHunter3

As long ago as FileMaker Pro 4.0, our runtime solutions were set up with a barrage of scripts that would be "called" by a later version of the same runtime; those scripts would do Find Alls (Show All Records) and shoot the calculated record IDs in to a global field one by one where they could be accessed from the destination file, which would contain the script that would write old-file values to new-file fields, modifying contents if & when the structure of data storage had changed, doing different things if the version being upgraded FROM were 2.7 versus 2.8 or whatever, setting default values for fields that had not existed in older versions, etc.

 

End user inserts Upgrade CD, clicks the Upgrade button, then goes out for lunch. Done.

 

Script makes backup copy of old runtime files, renames main copy of runtime files so they have "Old" in the filenames, then starts the process of obtaining the legacy data including the customer license keys. When done, moves the "Old" files to the trash.

 

(The messiest part was obtaining the custom values in user-editable custom value lists. Nowadays I'd store all such VLs as field values in one or more value list tables but this WAS version 4).

 

Use your imagination and solve the upgrade problem as a major part of your database structural feature set. You've got far better tools at your disposal than we did in FileMaker 4/5 days.

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Josh Ormond

Yeah, I have to agree with Ahunter3. This is the same problem you have with any Runtime type solution, regardless of the underlying software. There are a few frustrations with FileMaker Runtimes. But everything else that I have tried typically has the same issues...or a whole different set of problems.

 

One "problem" (and I use the term facetiously), is the process of upgrading to a new version of a runtime. To move the data, you either need to export/import from one file to another...or use the data separation model and just replace the interface file. Either way, the ease of the upgrade comes directly from the developer. Which means you need to do all the hard stuff through the solution, so that the user only has to click a button.

 

The complexity of the upgrade for the developer also has a lot to do with the changes you make. If you are only changing interface aspects (look, the scripts) but not data structure...it is much easier. It you are changing data structure, you will probably have some pretty intensive parsing scripts to convert the data to the new structure. But the user never sees that.

 

It can be a tough thing. I understand the frustration...but what I don't see is a better or easier solution than what you get with FileMaker. If you have found something that does it better and still offers the power of FileMaker, please let me know.

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sportmac

You guys are missing the point.

When Snow Leopard breaks Filemaker they issue an updater. Why can't they issue an updater for the runtime so I don't have to recompile my runtime and send my updater out to all those people? Nothing else needs changed, my solution hasn't changed, there are no new fields, no change to the solution, nothing at all that impacts the runtime except of course that it doesn't work anymore and it doesn't work because there is a problem with the new OS and Filemaker. Not the runtime solution.

They can issue an updater for Filemaker and Bento but not the runtime?

Enlighten me, why is that not possible?

 

What about Bento?

What about iPad? They seem to be pretty much on the ball on this except when it comes to runtime. Enlighten me again.

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Josh Ormond

I see what you mean on that issue. That is probably something I would put in as a bug report/feature request with FileMaker.

 

Bento, I can't speak about. I haven't played with it too much. To me, it has some really nice user features, but is lacking much of FileMaker's power. (although that could just be my lack of experience with it) It has it's place...but not useful for me.

 

I understand why FileMaker has restriction on how Runtimes work...but I agree. A little more functionality on the runtime side would be extremely powerful.

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AHunter3
When Snow Leopard breaks Filemaker they issue an updater.

 

When Snow Leopard breaks the runtime engine (the .app file), FileMaker generally releases an updater that updates FmAdvanced so that it can create a .app file that is not broken by the latest Snow Leopard.

 

You, the developer, can then create a new runtime .app using YOUR copy of the original files again and using the exact same binding key and extension, and then throw away everything except the .app file which is all you need to distribute to your end users to fix your "needs an update" problem. The other files should not have to change.

 

 

 

Now that's not at all the same thing as wanting to update Customer Joe's runtime solution from the one based on FileMaker 8.5 that you created a few years ago to the one based on FileMaker 11 you just finished last weekend. That's what I thought you were talking about. For that type of updater, you definitely need to write it yourself because only you are going to know what you changed.

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