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Filemaker 7 or Access for contact management database - which is the best to choose

Posted on 2004-10-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I need a contact database prepared to track people who attend training programs. It is relatively simple. I need to be able to store names of people and their details, which training program they attended, and be able to send emals selectively to certain people according to the program they attended or their city etc

. In addition, I need to see who attended each training program.

I have Access but have been told by some people that the new Filemaker is a better way to go.

I appreciate any comments.
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Question by:walktalldavid
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billmercer earned 25 total points
ID: 12351333
The answer is "It Depends."

There is an age-old argument over this question. It's a bit like the arguments over Coke vs Pepsi, Mac vs Windows, Ford vs Chevy, Mozart vs Beethoven, etc. I've used both extensively, and I find I prefer FileMaker. I like the simplicity of the environment and the speed with which I can get things done.  

From your description, it sounds like you have a fairly simple database which will be used by one person or a small number of people. I'd say in your case it probably comes down to your comfort level and budget. If you don't have a preference, and you have the money, go ahead and get FileMaker. It will do what you want, will be very easy to maintain, and will scale up gracefully if the database needs to get more sophisticated in the future.

If money's tight, or you've got a lot of experience with Access, stick with Access.

If you're comfortable with Visual Basic programming and SQL queries, Access may be better. If not, FileMaker will probably be easier to use.

If your goal is to create your database quickly and get it up and running as fast as possible, FileMaker is the better choice. If you want to do extensive customization of the user interface and have greater control over the formatting and types of data, Access is better.

If you want to be able to make rapid changes to your database on the fly, FileMaker is better. If you want a familiar Microsoft look and feel, Access is better.

Access has more sophisticated querying capabilities than FileMaker, though the new capabilities of FM7 have almost eliminated this advantage. FileMaker has much larger storage capacity than Access, but unless you have millions of customers, that won't be an issue with either program.


FileMaker is a different way of thinking about databases. Contrary to some enthusiastic SQL mavens' claims, it's not WRONG, it's just DIFFERENT. FileMaker uses a simplified way of looking at information. There are only a few types of data, and only a few types of controls, for example. Some would say FM OVERsimplifies. I don't agree, but I can see how an Access wizard would feel limited by FileMaker. Personally, I find Access very limiting after working with Filemaker, because I have to go through so many steps to replicate the same results I get in FileMaker with a few clicks.
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by:lesouef
lesouef earned 25 total points
ID: 12352512
billmercer is correct. I won't develop as much my arguments:
- FM support PCs and macs (mandatory in my trade), access does not.
- FM can go to server/client mode with no modification, access does not, needs SQL server.
A simple stuff like yours could also be done with php and mysql if you are familiar with php.
It has the advantage of remote access via internet, and its cost is 0.
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by:billmercer
ID: 12632261
Walktalldavid, do you plan to close this question?

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by:lesouef
ID: 12827618
give this to bill...
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by:billmercer
ID: 12830253
No objection ;)
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