I’ve been working with FileMaker for over 20 years and the question that always arises is ‘Why do you use FileMaker?’ or ‘Is FileMaker the right platform to develop our database on?’.
Part 3: Integration.
We know it can handle the capacity, so what about the ability of FileMaker to ‘play well with others’. The last thing you want to do is design your database system to be an island, it needs to talk to other applications and perhaps work on multiple platforms. Again FileMaker fits well into most environments. From a desktop and server level FileMaker is designed to run cross-platform on both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. But it’s openness doesn’t stop there. FileMaker is designed to be as open as possible which is why it can export and import data in a variety of standard formats such as csv, tab delimited, Microsoft Merge and Microsoft Excel. Additionally FileMaker has adopted two main industry standards for external connectivity, XML and SQL.
FileMaker can export XML as standard and can also directly import XML, whilst allowing you to parse the data through an XSLT (style sheet). This can be particularly useful when dealing with online web services.
When you need to deal with other database systems, from accounts packages through to high-end enterprise level systems written in Oracle or Ms SQL Server, then ODBC / SQL connectivity is essential. FileMaker has two levels of support for ODBC, at a basic level you can run SQL queries on almost any ODBC data source, with the appropriate DSN drivers. A more advanced functionality is available if you want to connect to MySQL, Oracle or Ms SQL Server, called ESS or External SQL Source functionality. This allows FileMaker to act as a front-end interface to any of these back-end systems, allowing you to embed a SQL table from any of the mentioned sources directly into the relational structure of FileMaker. This offers an unprecedented level of integration and functionality.
So whether you just want to import a list of names in CSV, save your data out to Excel for reporting or integrate with high-end SL database systems, FileMaker offers the flexibility to provide an all round solutions.