There are several flavours of FileMaker out there and different ways to buy. This is a quick guide as to the differences and possibilities.
The first thing to note is that FileMaker comes in server and client forms. The server products host and serve FileMaker databases, while the client products are used by end-users and occasionally, FileMaker developers.
There are three versions of the FileMaker client: FileMaker Go, FileMaker Pro, and FileMaker Pro Advanced. FileMaker Go is a free download that allows users of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches to access and use FileMaker databases.
For a desktop or laptop PC or Mac, end users and developers would use either FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Pro Advanced. Unless you're really getting involved in FileMaker development, you won't need the latter. The key differences are the presence, in the more expensive iteration, of a debugger, the ability to create custom functions and to use third party plug-ins.
There are two iterations of FileMaker Server: FileMaker Server and FileMaker Server Advanced. The significant price difference between the two products is accounted for by the ability of the latter to serve webpages created from FileMaker layouts. If, therefore, your database needs to use web technologies, including IWP (Instant Web Publishing), then FileMaker Server Advanced is the product for you. FileMaker Server Advanced also allows databases to access web and database data via technologies such as ODBC and XML.
Here are the prices for outright purchase at the time of this blog entry going to press: (Prices include VAT.)
- FileMaker Go: free
- FileMaker Pro: £229
- FileMaker Pro Advanced: £329
- FileMaker Server: £699
- FileMaker Server Advanced: £2199
Notes that there are some volume discounts available, plus of course FileMaker offer great reductions in price for education and not-for-profit customers.
One alternative way to buy FileMaker in multiple copies is through the Annual Volume Licensing Agreement system. Under the scheme you pay FileMaker a yearly fee for each copy of FileMaker that you use. Upgrades and updates are free and for the user of multiple copies of FileMaker, this scheme allows costs to be spread.
One final point worth noting is this: if you are only sharing your FileMaker database with five or fewer users, you can host and serve the database using a standard copy of FileMaker Pro. This is not a situation that we would positively and endorse here at igeek, but if budgets are tight it may well be worth exploring.