Replacements for Ragtime, specifically for a spreadsheet capability within a page layout document

On advice of da Tidbit Meister Adam, I’m asking not just on SlackBits, but here as well.
I’m after a good idea on how to replace a certain software. Very few of you will have heard of Ragtime, see Link. and wiki Link This was once very powerful and quite good, but their BigSur compatible version will only come out in autumn and I expect an update price of near $500. Time to move on, but where to?

What I need is some form of page layout SW where I can perform calculations (say for simple invoicing forms or costing plans with page long explanation). Typical form example here; Sample form link
I have two packages (obvious ones) in mind, but don’t want to influence free thinking.
Any good ideas appreciated.

I would recommend Pages. It’s reasonably powerful, and the tables in it are mini-spreadsheets. I use it for my invoices with some text boxes and an embedded table with calculations showing line items and totals.

If FileMaker Pro wasn’t $540 For a single license, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. But they do have a $19 a month subscription plan for the basic version, and the basic version is more than I would ever need. The subscription versions also include rather generous storage. IIRC, I got started with Filemaker back in the late 1980s, and though I was subject to the tortures of the dammed at various jobs with MS Access, Telemagic, Act, etc. when I was working at various companies that used Windows; none of them came close to Filemaker. The only thing that came close was a database that was built in Salesforce by a developer.

The latest version of Filemaker I’m currently using is 10, and it does everything I need it to do. I’m waiting with bated breath for the next generation of MacBook Pros, and I really don’t want to spend mega bucks for another version of Filemaker, so I’m also thinking about alternatives. I’ve got two FIlemaker databases that I can’t live without. I no longer need relational capabilities, so I’m also interested in hearing about alternatives.

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.

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Thanks for this. The text in numeric fields and multi value fields are necessities for me. I’ll stick with Filemaker.

But there is something else that really aggravates me. My husband and I both use Filemaker, and we could have two, maybe three, users download the app from a CD. Now it’s just one. This is way beyond nickel and dimeing loyal customers to death.

It sounds like a database would be better suited to the OP’s needs.

I am trying to stick with Filemaker Pro 15 as it is 64 bit and should work with Big Sur - if I ever am forced to “upgrade” to it. FM 15 has all the features that I need,

I’m not sure that’s what they’re looking for – I don’t think RagTime (their current software) has a database module. I only looked into it briefly some years ago, but my memory of RagTime is it’s in the vein of FrameMaker – page layout + word processor + spreadsheet + formulae in a single flexible package.

Indeed, I’m not really looking for a DBMS. Apart from price, the development efforts appear to me not justifiable. I’d be able to do stuff with Filemaker, but no, don’t really want to for this task. (As an aside, some people misunderstand what Filemaker is, they buy it, realise it’s not the finished product they were hoping for and then sell the used licence on via eBay. Worth a look if you need a cheap lic)

Jolin Warren is right, old Ragtime is more like Framemaker.
I am now going to give it a shot with Apple PAGES, a software that is often underestimated. Let’s see how it goes.

Why did nobody mention LibreOffice?

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I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find it too rough and un-Mac-like. Pages is so solid and easy to use, I’ve not had reason to go to LibreOffice. As you say, I think Pages is often underestimated. It’s quite flexible and pretty great for lightweight DTP.

I keep LibreOffice around only because it will open ancient Word docs that neither my current version of Word (16.50) nor Pages will.

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