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Filemaker vs Access for Large Records

P: n/a
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function
of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not deal
well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was, it
has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled
"investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large records.
Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not sure
if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts
Nov 12 '05 #1
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9 Replies


P: n/a
FileMaker does not deal well with 'adding fields on the fly' either. You
have to close all clients, define the new fields and then, depending on how
many records are in the file, wait for FileMaker while it adds the new
field. Even if you define the new fields in a copy of the file, the records
from the working file have to be imported into the copy and then the copy
opened for sharing. Either way, there is usually a bit of downtime when a
database is updated. Even with this issue, I would probably still recommend
FileMaker over Access. Access uses a lot of network bandwidth to get records
from the server to the client and even on small shared applications, it is
quite slow, unless you use MS SQL for the database engine and Access as the
front end to your application. Should you choose FileMaker over Access, I
would also recommend that you use FileMaker Server to host your database
files and you may want to use FileMaker Unlimited to host the database over
the internet. I don't see any issues with the record specifications. Each
text field you use will be limited to 64,000 characters which should be
sufficient to handle the data you are describing. I will note that FileMaker
7 will probably be released sometime this 1st quarter and this could also be
a factor as to whether or not you will want to use FileMaker or Access.
Here's a link to some information about FileMaker 7 and how it will be
different from prior versions.
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/filemaker7.html

Dave Herman

"Noesis Strategy" <no**@none.com> wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.rcn.com...
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function
of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not deal well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was, it has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled
"investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large records.

Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not sure if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts

Nov 12 '05 #2

P: n/a
"Noesis Strategy" <no**@none.com> wrote in message news:<40***********************@news.rcn.com>...
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function
of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not deal
well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was, it
has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled
"investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large records.
Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not sure
if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts


If you normalize properly, this is going to be a pretty small
database. Max size for Access, unless it's changed recently is 2GB.
if you are doing simple things with your reporting and don't really
need queries, then FileMaker is okay, but I found the lack of query
objects and the pseudo-relational aspect of it *really* annoying.
Maybe it's gotten better, but when I used it, I hated it. FileMaker
*may* be easier for web front ends, I don't know, but you can use
FrontPage to create those for Access, and they work.

"Creating fields on the fly" - this is a sign of poor design, usually.
You can do it just as easily in either application - but then you
have to fix all those forms/layouts/webpages, which is a lot of work.

So I guess it depends on exactly what you want to do with the data...
I think they can both handle it.
Nov 12 '05 #3

P: n/a
"David Herman" <dp******@NOSPAMmac.com> wrote in
news:RT**********************@news.easynews.com:
Even with this issue, I would probably still recommend
FileMaker over Access. Access uses a lot of network bandwidth to
get records from the server to the client and even on small shared
applications, it is quite slow,


This just not true, unless you are ignorant of how to write a
multi-user Access application. It only uses lots of network
bandwidth if you have a stupid design that is not properly indexed
and that constantly pulls far more records than needed for an
operation.

I don't know anything about Filemaker, so I won't comment on it.

I wish people who obviously know zilch about Access would do the
same.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 12 '05 #4

P: n/a
Pieter Linden wrote:
"Noesis Strategy" <no**@none.com> wrote in message news:<40***********************@news.rcn.com>...
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function
of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not deal
well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was, it
has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled
"investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large records.
Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not sure
if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts

If you normalize properly, this is going to be a pretty small
database. Max size for Access, unless it's changed recently is 2GB.
if you are doing simple things with your reporting and don't really
need queries, then FileMaker is okay, but I found the lack of query
objects and the pseudo-relational aspect of it *really* annoying.
Maybe it's gotten better, but when I used it, I hated it. FileMaker
*may* be easier for web front ends, I don't know, but you can use
FrontPage to create those for Access, and they work.

"Creating fields on the fly" - this is a sign of poor design, usually.
You can do it just as easily in either application - but then you
have to fix all those forms/layouts/webpages, which is a lot of work.

So I guess it depends on exactly what you want to do with the data...
I think they can both handle it.


"Maybe it's gotten better" indeed. When was the last time you used
FileMaker? When you speak of "psuedo-relational aspect of it" it sounds
like your last experience was may be with FileMaker 1 or 2? The current
shipping version is 6, with 7 expected soon. It has quite robust and
easily understood relational capabilities.

Bill

Nov 12 '05 #5

P: n/a

"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xn**********************************@24.168.1 28.90...
"David Herman" <dp******@NOSPAMmac.com> wrote in
news:RT**********************@news.easynews.com:
Even with this issue, I would probably still recommend
FileMaker over Access. Access uses a lot of network bandwidth to
get records from the server to the client and even on small shared
applications, it is quite slow,


This just not true, unless you are ignorant of how to write a
multi-user Access application. It only uses lots of network
bandwidth if you have a stupid design that is not properly indexed
and that constantly pulls far more records than needed for an
operation.

I don't know anything about Filemaker, so I won't comment on it.

I wish people who obviously know zilch about Access would do the
same.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc

Nov 12 '05 #6

P: n/a
filemaker fields can hold 64000 characters each.
we have files with hundreds of fields and over 100,000 records. When
printing a large field in filemaker you have to set the window size to the
maximum size possible. You can then set printing format to shrink the field
to fit the amount of data you have in the field. For this reason you may
want to use a separate form just for printing.

"Noesis Strategy" <no**@none.com> wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.rcn.com...
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function
of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not deal well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was, it has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled
"investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large records.

Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not sure if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts

Nov 12 '05 #7

P: n/a
PS. In Filemaker you could add a database and relate it to the original with
no down time at all. However, downtime is really minimal, especially when
the field being added is not a calculation.
"ben polit" <po***@indiana.edu> wrote in message
news:bv**********@hood.uits.indiana.edu...
filemaker fields can hold 64000 characters each.
we have files with hundreds of fields and over 100,000 records. When
printing a large field in filemaker you have to set the window size to the
maximum size possible. You can then set printing format to shrink the field to fit the amount of data you have in the field. For this reason you may
want to use a separate form just for printing.

"Noesis Strategy" <no**@none.com> wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.rcn.com...
My firm is creating a database that profiles (about 100) companies in
various sectors. Each profile is about 10 pages long with perhaps 150
parameters. Some of the parameters will contain a half a page of
information such as "recent press releases". Is there particular function of Access that would make it better than Filemaker? I have done similar
projects on Filemaker. However, my experience with Access is does not

deal
well with adding fields on the fly (I can't quite remember why this was,

it
has been years). For example, three months we may add a section entitled "investors", which will contain on average 400 words in each of the 100
profiles.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of Filemaker vs. Access for large

records.


Other data:
clients ~10
employees are onsite and travel
some contractors are in other states and will be working from home (not

sure
if we will address this immediately)
we would like to use the same technology for basic reseach contacts and
business development contacts


Nov 12 '05 #8

P: n/a
NB
I have not worked with Filemaker before and I want to ask some
questions. It's great if you filemaker guys can answer them.

- What is the programming language behind filemaker? I saw something
called ScriptMaker on Filemaker website. Is it Filemaker's programming
language? How does it compare to VBA?

- Can we write SQL and execute them (like queries in Access)?

- Do filemaker forms have events (or triggers in Oracle Forms &
Reports)?
ie user's action triggering a piece of code. Eg: When opening a form
in Access we have OnLoad, Activate, OnOpen, ... For a textbox we have
OnClick, OnDoubleClick, BeforeUpdate, AfterUpdate, ...
Each objects in forms (and reports) in Access and Oracle Forms &
Reports have, in general, dozens of events.

- Does Filemaker have user and group level security?
ie user without an assigned username and valid password cannot run an
application and access data, and different users may have different
permissions on database objects. Eg: a normal employee should have no
right on anything about payroll.

NB
Nov 12 '05 #9

P: n/a
NB
If the replies are not totally wrong, then my conclusion is that
FileMaker is a good tools for toy-app, or uni kids' assignments

The most important difference is that FM does not separate data and
structure.
! no comment

- Do filemaker forms have events (or triggers in Oracle Forms &
Reports)?

Well, we have some bad news here. Unfortunately, FM is a long way from
any kind of object-oriented programming. There are plugins which will
give you OnChange functionality to trigger events when a value in a
field changes. Otherwise, no. Some of the events can be simulated in a
totally locked down solution, but those are work-intensive to achieve so
that you can run scripts on entry to a layout (form) or on exit. Sorry
to say.


Hmm, no events. I can't imagine yet how I can develop a database
interface without events
- Does Filemaker have user and group level security?
ie user without an assigned username and valid password cannot run an
application and access data, and different users may have different
permissions on database objects. Eg: a normal employee should have no
right on anything about payroll.


Yes. The security is assignable to users and groups down to very fine
levels, including allowing certain users to view layouts but not all
fields on the layout. It's quite granular. Remember, though, that
security is held in each file in a solution and so must be duplicated
and managed in each file. Good news, bad news, eh?


If it can't assign permission to several objects at a time then it's a
real bad news. Look at my app, which is an average Access app: about
57 tables, 135
queries, 120 forms, 48 reports, and 20 code modules. It would be a
pain in the bum to define permission for 6 user groups, for each and
every object.

Access is not perfect here too. You can't import security permission
from another app.
Download the demo, as I said. If you want a bit of FM interface flavor
with the ability to interact directly with SQL and more of the interface
goodies you want, go look at www.servoy.com. :) FM has a lot of positive features, but it is not the tool for every
application. It is, however, among the most FUN (in an extremely geeky
sense of "fun") db tools to work with. Way more fun than Access. ;)

I doubt it, mate

NB
Nov 12 '05 #10

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.