Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Claris Pro, Go, Server, and Studio

Adam Engst:

Claris will rename FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go (for deploying FileMaker apps on the iPhone and iPad), and FileMaker Server (for hosting multi-user FileMaker apps) to Claris Pro, Claris Go, and Claris Server. A new Web-based development environment called Claris Studio will join and integrate with the other products to provide a modern, cloud-based system.


The more important change for longtime individual FileMaker users is that there will be a freemium version of Claris Pro with free access to Claris Studio (and presumably Claris Go). Its only restriction is that databases created with the freemium version are restricted to a single user—but there are no size or time constraints.


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I can't believe the Claris products are still alive, given all of the other more popular products that Apple has killed over the years. I'm curious how and why it still exists. I've been using Macs for 30 years and I haven't heard of anyone using Filemaker etc since the early 2000s.

(To be clear, I'm glad it is still around for those who need it, and I think given Apple's enormous size and resources they should keep more things alive instead of constantly giving great products the axe just because those products don't have a billion users.)

Claris explained this situation further in a webinar today.
The FileMaker Pro product will continue with that name, and will get feature upgrades alongside Claris Pro.
The Claris Pro product will be the same as FileMaker Pro, but with the added ability to directly reference their Claris Studio platform (basically, allowing for cloud/web data sources).

There is a thriving community of FileMaker customers, developers, and users. It's especially popular among small and medium businesses that want to host their own data and be able to easily build custom software for their organization.

The new strategy Claris is launching seems like it will lower the barrier to entry by letting solo businesses (or a power user or internal developer at a company) build something for themselves, and then only start to pay for licenses if they realize they've got something worth sharing with their colleagues.

As a developer with a database product for the Mac, I really appreciate that Apple has decided it should zero out the pricing for this product category. I can only hope that they continue to do a terrible job of promoting FileMaker so that my potential customers won't be aware there is a free option.

Ben G: I know a lot of police departments use FileMaker for their in-car computer system. That kind of market would rather keep paying to running what they have instead of replacing it.

Christina Warren

I keep thinking about Bento and that if FileMaker/Claris/Apple/whatever they call this division now had continued to invest in that product (which had an online component, albeit not a cloud component IIRC) and take it to the next level, Apple could have had a real Airtable competitor that they could have also scaled up under the FileMaker Pro branding. And then it wouldn't be a decade behind the other low-code/no-code solutions that have absolutely captured the industry and more importantly, expanded the slice of tooling that this industry niche used to consume.

I am sure there are a lot of enterprise customers and SMBs who have relied on FileMaker for a long time that keeps sustaining its support, but this cannot be a growing business segment at all. Like, Microsoft still supports Access, even though all the investment is in Power Platform, and it's because there are still lots of legacy users and systems that rely on it that either don't want to migrate or can't. So Microsoft is happy to continue to make updates every few years and continue to offer support.

But as far as bringing in net new customers or even convincing existing ones to use the Claris suite? I just don't see it. From the webinar preview of Claris Studio that I quickly perused through, this is absolutely not a competitive product compared not just to the likes of Airtable and the Power Platform, but compared to Retool, Appsmith, Tableau (which thanks to now being owned by Salesforce, has all kinds of synergies for many of the types of customers that would use Claris, because I bet most of Claris's high dollar customers also use Salesforce in some capacity) and countless others that have raised insane amounts of money.

I'm glad that Apple/Claris/FileMaker/whatever the subsidiary is called is *finally* getting into the more freemium space, but I have to be honest, this feels very much too little, too late.

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