I spent the money to get FileMaker 19. Yes, it was expensive, but my previous version (10) isn’t compatible with Catalina, so a hardware upgrade forced it on me.
I rationalize the cost by assuming (hoping) that this version will last for the same 9-10 years that my previous purchase lasted, which brings the cost to $60 per year, which I think is reasonable.
For me, the reason I haven’t switched is because other packages I’ve looked at don’t have features I use:
- Arbitrary text in numeric fields. It will only process leading digits for sorting/searching purposes, but I can put text after any number
- Multi-value fields. In a layout, I can specify that a given field may have more than one value. When performing searches, all of a field’s values are compared.
- Media in fields. I have fields that contain images. While other databases support this, I can’t figure out any way to export my data in a form that can be imported without losing the images.
If not for the media, I could probably export everything to CSV files or some other well-defined interchange format and import it into something else. Probably some GUI wrapper around MySQL.
Another odd idea that just occurred to me is that I am already running web servers at home (one on my Mac and one on an old Linux PC) for simple static pages. I could install MediaWiki and make a Wiki for each of my databases. MediaWiki is something I’m familiar with (since I occasionally contribute to Wikipedia and I set it up on a server at work many years ago). And since it’s all portable code (based on PHP scripting and open source SQL databases), I can migrate the wiki to any modern computer running any operating system.
But, as with all other options, the process of exporting my existing FileMaker data and somehow automating Wiki page creation from that data could be pretty painful. At minimum, I would be writing the scripts myself. And I’m still not sure there’s any way to export the image data from FileMaker.