Tim Dietrich

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On The Deprecation of FileMaker Runtimes, And "FileMaker Lite"

With all of the excitement surrounding yesterday's launch of the FileMaker 14 platform, it's interesting to me that what really stood out the most were the rumors that started flying around. I won't go into all of them here, as some are just too remarkable and imaginative for me to believe at this point.

FileMaker Runtime Deprecated

One of the rumors that started to spread was that FileMaker Inc is planning to discontinue support for FileMaker runtimes. And sure enough, the FileMaker Pro 14 release notes show this to be true.

Many FileMaker developers depend on FileMaker runtimes to create commercial solutions, and so for them, this is potentially devastating news. Entire business models will need to be rethought as a result. I encourage those developers to take a look at Xojo - and you can read some of my previous blog posts to learn why I've chosen Xojo as an alternative development environment.

FileMaker Lite

One of the things that I find interesting about FileMaker's decision to deprecate runtimes is that it lends credence to another interesting rumor that started to spread a few weeks ago: That FileMaker Inc was at long last going to provide "FileMaker Lite" or "Go Desktop" or whatever you want to call it. This is something that has been discussed by developers for years, and frequently appears on FileMaker wish lists.

The idea is that "FileMaker Lite" would be a desktop client that does nothing more than allow a user to use an existing FileMaker database - similar to how FileMaker Go works today. It would lack the design and development tools found in FileMaker Pro and Pro Advanced. And, in theory, it would also be less expensive than FileMaker Pro.

If this rumor is true, and this imaginary FileMaker Lite becomes a reality, then perhaps it will serve as an alternative to FileMaker runtimes. It's hard to say, but it is something to consider.

How likely is it that FileMaker Lite will happen? Well, consider this: With the launch of the FileMaker 14 platform, FileMaker introduced higher prices for concurrent connections. My guess is that they've done this to prevent cannibalization of sales of FileMaker Pro by FileMaker Go and WebDirect. But it could also be a preemptive move to prevent even further cannibalization by FileMaker Lite in the not too distant future.

Your Thoughts?

I don't know that I've ever written a post about FileMaker that is as speculative as this is. It strange to even be thinking about these changes to the FileMaker platform, and even stranger to sharing them here.

At the same time, these rumors (and several more) are flying around the community - on the FileMaker Community Site and forums, in chats, and on Twitter. If you'd like to discuss them, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this.