Claris Platform Update – The Bottom Line

14. Oktober 2023

FMDiSC Claris Platform Update

The latest news update from Claris has made some noise. Now that the dust has settled a little, it is time to look at the various aspects of a major transition that has now been going on for more than 4 years.

Let’s take a look back at the major adjustments in the Claris strategy and why they were necessary. We provide answers to the latest developments and put them in a broader perspective.

How Claris has managed to clarify its strategy for the entire platform. We examine which issues have been resolved and where action is still needed.

At the invitation of the colleagues from FMDiSC, I was able to give another presentation, picking up where last year’s presentation ended.

Claris Platform Update – The Bottom Line
FMDiSC October Meeting 2023

The Future of FileMaker – Position determination
FMDiSC October Meeting 2022

Claris Product Strategy Update 2023

30. August 2023

Claris platfrom update

There has been some speculation about the future of FileMaker over the past 2 years. In the meantime, after numerous announcements on the part of Claris, there were more and more concrete results that gradually became visible. Some things looked promising, in other places there was still a lack of clarity, and some things were less than optimal in implementation and especially in communication.

What was positive, however, was that Claris, after initial hesitation, actively went into dialogue with partners and developers. Gradually, results were presented and feedback was obtained again and again. In the meantime, one can definitely say that Claris has listened and taken the suggestions and concerns of its long-term partners seriously!
Of course, it is not always easy, especially with such a reorientation, to get all the right goals under one hat at the first attempt. It is all the more important that during a major transformation there is room for corrections and a re-sharpening of the strategy.

Now Claris has made some changes: Many suggestions for improvement have been taken into account and the bottom line is that the waiting time and the intensive exchange with the community have been worth it. Although not all goals have been achieved in the implementation yet, it is now clearer than before that the direction is right! Moreover, Claris has already delivered results in some places. The most recently released versions make a solid impression.

And most important: while the new products “Studio” and “Connect” are given a meaningful place in the platform strategy, existing solutions can benefit from the innovations without the need for an elaborate technical migration. The best of the new and old worlds simply grow together seamlessly.

In addition, Claris now gives all existing customers and developers free access to the new tools so that they can prove themselves in practical tests. We can “kick the tires” without any additional licensing hurdles or technical barriers. So things can finally move forward!

Refer to Claris latest announcements from August 2023:
Blog: Claris Product Roadmap
YouTube: Claris Product Strategy Update 2023

Let’s look back at the most important points from last year’s presentation “The Future of FileMaker”. There, we had summarised some issues and wishes from the customers’ and developers’ point of view. We now look at where Claris provides us with answers with the current announcements.

To put it briefly: a lot has been taken into account. Thank you Claris!

Refer to PDF for download (12.6 MB):
The Future of FileMaker – Review and Update 2023.

Blog: The Future of FileMaker – FMDiSC Meeting Oct 2022
Recording of the presentation on YouTube: The Future of FileMaker

FileMaker Magazin: Eine Einordnung – Was sich bei der Claris Produkt-Strategie ändert (in German language)


21. August 2023


Sometimes it would be useful to have a flexible way to access the elements within a JSON object. Something like XPATH for XML objects.

FileMaker itself offers only very limited JSON functions. With JSONGetElement it is possible to query a known path within the JSON object, but no wildcards or even search filters are possible.

This is exactly what the library “JSONPath” offers. It enables an XPATH-like query syntax for JSON objects. A detailed description with examples can be found on Stefan Gössner’s website:

This can be used to realise the following queries, for example:

  • $[*].author -> the authors of all books in the store
  • $[-1:] -> the last book in order
  • $[?(@.isbn)] -> filter all books with isbn number
  • $[?(@.price<10)] -> filter all books cheaper than 10

See more examples and full sample JSON on the project website.

There is a JavaScript implementation of this library which can be downloaded from the Google Code Archive:

With the help of the JavaScript functions of the MBS plugin, the JSON Path library can be easily integrated into FileMaker and then called via script command:

Note the difference in the functions “JS.CallFunction” and “JS.CallFunctionValues”. While the first function expects the input of parameters in JSON format, the second function works with parameters in text form. If this difference is not observed, the values arrive incorrectly in the JavaScript function and cannot be processed. Instead, one receives an error of the type “invalid json (at offset 1)”.

Once these hurdles have been overcome, the content of a JSON object from FileMaker can be queried with a simple script via MBS using a JSON path expression. You get the result in text form or you can simply convert it back into JSON.

Attached is a FileMaker file with the examples from the JSON Path website.
The JavaScript library is already included in the FileMaker demo file.
The MBS Plugin version 11.3 or newer is required.

Download: FM JSON Path.fmp12 (319 KB)

Update 2023-10-02:
JSON Path has been implemented in the latest version (13.5) of MBS plugin. Please refer to MBS documentation and corresponding blog post:
JSON Query in FileMaker

Claris in dialogue

22. Dezember 2022

Claris Dialogue

There is something going on in the communication of Claris. In the meantime, new version updates for FileMaker have been shown and further innovations have been announced. While the past months were characterized by hopes and fears, confidence is now returning with regard to the future of the Claris platform.

Highlights of the past weeks were:

  • The Claris Product Team Webinar at the beginning of November
  • The Claris sessions at the engageU conference in Malmö
  • The Claris Partner exclusive webinar in early December
  • The release of FileMaker version 19.6
  • New announcements about Claris Connect (Custom Connectors!)
  • The announcement of the freemium version for the new Claris platform
  • The technical tutorials in the “Claris Engineering Blog” (refer link)
  • The blog post by Robert Holsey in the Claris Forum (refer link)
  • Q&A with Andrew LeCates at FMDiSC December Meeting (refer link)
  • New in 2023: Claris Update Webinar – Jan 25 (refer link)

The message from Claris is now clear: “We’re on it! We are building the future! Be patient!”. It was also reiterated once again that FileMaker will continue to evolve as a product and nothing will be broken. On the contrary, all improvements should benefit the entire platform. And wherever there are still gaps in “Claris Pro” in terms of functionality or technical features compared to FileMaker, which stand in the way of a migration, these should be fixed as soon as possible.

OK, Claris – we heard you!
Thank you for your efforts!

So we can be curious about the novelties in the upcoming year…


Images: Claris, @JorisAarts, @dotfmp

FMDiSC Claris Platform Survey

18. Oktober 2022

FMDiSC Claris Platform Survey
The FileMaker Developers in Southern California (FMDiSC) are bringing us a brilliant occasion to take place in a global Survey about the Claris Platform.

This could be Our response to Claris to give feedback about their latest announcements and precise our perception about the new platform strategy and express what we as developers would expect from them to grow the platform further.

The survey is very well thought out and designed to cover all critical aspects.
Thanks to FMDiSC and especially David Knight from Angel City Data for putting in a lot of work during the preparation.

You can get some background about the idea of the survey in his presentation during the latest FMDiSC Meetup on Youtube:

So please take some minutes to fill in your answers to the survey.
Don’t miss this chance to raise our voice as a global FileMaker community.

Just follow this link to start:

The Future of FileMaker – FMDiSC Meeting Oct 2022

18. Oktober 2022

FMDiSC The Future of FileMaker

On invitation of the American developer colleagues of FMDiSC (FileMaker Developers in Southern California) the opportunity arose to present the lecture “The Future of FileMaker” once again.

The presentation covers the development of the FileMaker platform over the past 30 years, classifies the respective stages with regard to the general requirements in the IT world and breaks down how the new Claris platform currently presents itself technically in detail. It also provides answers to open questions regarding the many new marketing buzzwords and the basic concept behind the new platform strategy.

It also looks at our situation as FileMaker developers with an assessment of what challenges we are facing in the coming years.

The presentation was already part of the German-speaking FileMaker conference in Hamburg in June this year. After Claris officially announced the new products in September and also further technical details of the new Claris platform are available in the meantime, the talk could be updated in some points. In addition, I have added a section to evaluate Claris’ announcements from a developer’s point of view and explain my assessment in this regard.

Last but not least, there is a preview of a wishful future with a few ideas with which the potential of the Claris platform could be further exploited.

Thanks to the colleagues from FMDiSC for the opportunity to shed some more light on the topic!

The new version of the talk is in English, the recording is available on Youtube at the following link:


Following the talk, there was an FMDiSC discussion panel on the new Claris platform, with further assessments of the current situation and an outlook on what we can expect in the coming years.

Chris Moyer, Richard Carlton, Todd Geist, Beverly Voth and Vince Menanno shared their views and brought further momentum to the discussion.

The second part of the meeting is also available as a recording on Youtube:


The meeting was completed by the presentation of a survey by David Knight. This is aimed at us developers and is basically structured in such a way that all essential and also critical points regarding the future of the platform are queried in order to get an overall picture of our assessment as developers. All in all, this makes a very well thought-out and positive impression! So to speak, a constructively built feedback from us developers to Claris.

The explanations of the survey can also be seen in the second part of the Youtube video, starting at minute 71 – just follow this link:

The link to the survey will be published soon and an active participation of all FileMaker developers is explicitly desired!

Rückblick FMK 2022

26. Juni 2022

FMK 2022 FileMaker Konferenz in Hamburg

Nach zwei Jahren Pandemie-bedingter Pause konnte endlich wieder das alljährliche Treffen der deutschsprachigen FileMaker Community als “echte” Konferenz statt finden.

135 Teilnehmer aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz nutzten die Möglichkeit, um sich nach den zahlreichen Online-Events nun wieder einmal in größerer Runde in Präsenz zu treffen.

Die FileMaker Konferenz FMK2022, welche diesmal erneut in der Hamburger Hafencity ausgerichtet wurde, bot ein buntes Programm an Vorträgen, Diskussionen, Workshops und vor allem reichlich Möglichkeiten für den persönlichen Austausch.

Eine neue Struktur mit kürzeren Sessions, etwas mehr Pausen und gemeinsamen Auftakt- und Abschluss-Veranstaltungen an jedem einzelnen Tag lockerte die 4 Konferenztage deutlich auf und bot damit auch ausreichend Möglichkeiten, um außerhalb der Tagungsräume etwas sommerliche Atmosphäre in der nahen Umgebung zu schnuppern.

Zum Abschluss des offiziellen Teils schalteten sich am Freitag Nachmittag die leitenden Claris-Entwickler und Community-Manager per Video-Konferenz dazu, um technische Details der neuen FileMaker-Version zu erläutern und Fragen zu beantworten.

Danke für die vielen Vorträge und Gespräche. Und vor allem großen Dank an das Konferenz-Team, welches uns dieses Event möglich gemacht hat!

Das vollständige Konferenzprogramm sowie Vortragsfolien zum Download sind auf der Veranstaltungs-Website zu finden:

#Claris #FileMaker #FMK2022

Presentation: The future of FileMaker

24. Juni 2022

FileMaker Conference Presentation - The future of FileMaker

FileMaker has grown a special niche among database development systems for three decades. There is hardly a comparable product that has continued to develop over such a long period of time and is still relevant for current application scenarios.

A dedicated community of developers has remained loyal to the product for what feels like an eternity and has matured along with the system and its possibilities.

In the meantime, the manufacturer Claris has set a new course and is trying to readjust in order to catch up with new technical possibilities and in addition to bring new users and developers on board also.

New tools and new target groups are to pave the way for the future in the global change of rapidly developing technology platforms and new competitors.

Will Claris succeed in this balancing act? What are the specific challenges?
What consequences will the new strategy possibly have for us as developers?

We will start with a short overview and then switch to an open dialog about the opportunities and risks of the upcoming changes. Join the discussion and let’s capture the current mood on the future of FileMaker together.

FMK FileMaker Conference 2022
Wednesday, June, 22nd at 4:00 P.M.
#FMK2022 #Claris #FileMaker

The presentation slides are available for download here:
FMK2022 Presentation – The future of FileMaker (PDF 5,6 MB)

A german version is available here:
FMK2022 Vortrag – Die Zukunft von FileMaker

Vortrag: Die Zukunft von FileMaker

20. Juni 2022

FileMaker Konferenz Vortrag - Die Zukunft von FileMaker

FileMaker besetzt seit drei Jahrzehnten eine besondere Nische unter den Datenbank-Entwicklungssystemen. Es gibt kaum ein vergleichbares Produkt, das sich über einen so langen Zeitraum beständig weiter entwickelt hat und immer noch für aktuelle Anwendungs-Szenarien relevant ist.

Eine eingeschworene Entwickler-Gemeinschaft hält dem Produkt seit einer gefühlten Ewigkeit die Treue und ist zusammen mit dem System und seinen Möglichkeiten gereift.

Inzwischen wurden beim Hersteller Claris die Weichen neu gestellt und man versucht dort nachzujustieren, um einerseits neuen technischen Herausforderungen gerecht zu werden und andererseits neue Anwender und Entwickler mit ins Boot zu holen.

Neue Tools und neue Zielgruppen sollen im globalen Wandel sich rasant weiter entwickelnder Technologie-Plattformen und neuer Wettbewerber den Weg in die Zukunft ebnen.

Wird Claris dieser Spagat gelingen? Welche Herausforderungen stellen sich konkret?
Welche Konsequenzen bringt der Wandel möglicherweise für uns als Entwickler mit sich?

Wir starten mit einem kurzen Themen-Überblick und wechseln dann zu einem offenen Dialog über die Chancen und Risiken der anstehenden Veränderungen. Diskutieren Sie mit und lassen Sie uns gemeinsam ein aktuelles Stimmungsbild zur Zukunft von FileMaker einfangen.

FMK FileMaker Konferenz 2022
Mittwoch, 22. Juni um 16.00 Uhr
#FMK2022 #Claris #FileMaker

Die Vortrags-Folien gibt es hier zum Download:
FMK2022 Vortrag – Die Zukunft von FileMaker (PDF 5,6 MB)

An english version is available here:
FMK2022 Presentation – The future of FileMaker

The new Claris platform – How everything fits together

10. Juni 2022

After a years long felt period of standstill, something is happening with FileMaker. In several online events held in quick succession in April and May, Claris concretized its new product strategy and announced further fundamental changes.

Keeping up

It had been apparent for some time that something needed to happen. The FileMaker product line, which had proven itself for three decades of developing custom workgroup applications on the desktop, was in danger of missing the boat. The cloud era has long since begun, and more and more use cases are migrating to the Web, where new diverse services are vying for users’ favor.

But even the cloud does not offer answers for every situation. Data should be available everywhere, but not all tools can be easily replicated in the web browser. In addition, everyday life is increasingly determined by mobile devices and simple apps. Workflows are breaking down into increasingly detailed individual tasks that are to be completed by different users at different locations. At the same time, the complexity behind the scenes is growing. It is an enormous challenge for developers to master this balancing act and continue to keep up with relevant technologies without losing their investments in projects that have grown over many years.

More words than actions

After what feels like an eternity, Claris is now letting the cat out of the bag. Some things had already leaked out after the change in leadership in 2019, and numerous shiny Powerpoint slides were shown since. However, a coherent strategy with technically reliable specifications did not really emerge for a long time. Even with the new announcements, Claris initially misses the opportunity to really clearly communicate the whole picture. To make matters worse, all existing products and even the new services are being “rebranded” once again, and it is difficult to keep track of everything in the flood of marketing terms.

Not only the products get new names. Claris is also constantly coming up with new names for communication with users, customers and developers. What was once the “Claris Solutions Alliance” is now simply called “Claris Partner” after several renamings. A new addition is the limited license program “Problem Solvers Circle”.

After all, Claris is making much more of an effort than before to address the community directly and is trying to communicate with partners and developers on an equal footing. In order to meet the demand for more transparency, Claris recently published important announcements very promptly and uncut on its own YouTube channel. Fortunately, Claris’ internal developers take center stage and answer questions from the community very directly, in addition to marketing speech.

FileMaker is history

No question: The rebranding is certainly an important step! After all, the ultimate goal is to position the company’s own products well for the present and the future and also to attract new developers and users. The name “FileMaker” was too much linked to its past – a somewhat dusty image that no longer corresponded to the actual possibilities of the platform.

After all, FileMaker is one of the few “rapid development” tools that can be used to develop customized applications (a.k.a “apps”) across operating systems. There is currently no other tool that can be used to create and distribute desktop applications as well as apps for the iPad or iPhone as quickly. Furthermore all data can be accessed flexibly either on a company’s own server or alternatively via a cloud server that can be accessed from anywhere. This alone is a strong argument in favor of the platform, but so far it has hardly been effective beyond the horizon of the die-hard FileMaker scene.

If Claris wants to score here, a new appearance with a fresh external image is certainly a reasonable approach.

A guide to the new world

So it’s high time to take a sober look at the Claris universe and classify the announced innovations from a technical and strategic point of view!

The most important things in advance:

  • FileMaker remains as the core of the platform, but gets a new name. FileMaker Pro” will become “Claris Pro”, “FileMaker Go” will become “Claris Go” and “FileMaker Server” will be called “Claris Server” in the future.
  • The platform is supplemented by a new cloud product “Claris Studio”, in which the previously announced components “Claris Connect” and “FileMaker Next” grow together.
  • Behind the scenes, a new database engine based on MongoDB ensures that all products and services can exchange data with each other. A process internally called “ESS+” integrates the new data layer directly into FileMaker’s relationship graph, as was already known from external data sources in the past.
  • In the future, a central user administration is to be provided in the Claris Cloud, which will also control the licensing of the products. What is new here is the announcement that the future license model will only be offered as a complete package for all products and services. This means that anyone using the Claris platform will automatically have access to all the technologies included.
  • In addition, Claris is expanding the licensing model to include free access to web forms by external users, as well as a “freemium” option that allows unlimited use of FileMaker as a standalone version without a server connection. This is remarkable in several ways! First, it significantly lowers the barrier to entry for new users and developers, who can now familiarize themselves with the capabilities without risk. For some developers, it might also potentially solve the dilemma of no longer having a runtime version of FileMaker. In the future, everyone should be able to install a FileMaker full version for free from the Appstore or via download link for Mac and Windows.

FileMaker Pro Roadmap

During the Claris presentation at the end of April, concrete announcements were made regarding the further development of FileMaker Pro.

Version 19.5 is said to contain over 400 bug fixes. In addition, significant improvements in terms of performance and stability are said to have been implemented. The Linux version of the server offers support for Ubuntu 20.04 and Ngnix as well as parallel backups as a new feature. On the client side, “Live Text” and “QR Codes” are supported under macOS and iOS.

A later version 19.6 should also allow up to 1000 simultaneous users on the server, bring user group management for OAuth and the possibility to use the “Login with Apple”. Furthermore “Script transactions” are planned as a new feature.

In the course of the presentation of Claris Studio, it was pointed out that a version 20 will be released parallel to version 19. However, this does not differ in the range of functions but marks the changeover to the new platform license under the name “Claris Pro”. The only technical difference, according to the announcement, is that the use of FileMaker client requires a login in the Claris Cloud with a “Claris User ID” to access the data connection to Claris Studio.

Claris Studio

The new product is designed to pave the way for making Web-based workflows more easily accessible. Claris places the “Studio” as a tool to provide dashboards and online forms. It is said to be possible to directly access existing data from FileMaker, or to feed data captured via Web forms directly into a FileMaker solution.

For the first release of Claris Studio a form editor with basic functions is planned.

In edit mode, custom forms can be quickly and easily clicked together directly in the browser. Predefined elements allow free text input, selection lists, formatted address fields for postal address, telephone number or eMail as well as special fields for date and time input. The forms can also be structured with separators and a customizable header area. For the graphical design, own graphics or logos can be embedded.

The form can be submitted via a submit button. If several forms are linked, buttons appear for navigation between the individual pages.

For all inputs, data records are generated in the background, which are stored in a table of the respective module (called “hub”). Through the “ESS+” data interface, these tables can be integrated directly into the data model of a FileMaker solution as an external data source. The synchronization between FileMaker and Claris Studio is to take place automatically in the background.

Once a web form in Claris Studio is ready to deploy, it can be distributed as a link. When a user opens the link, he lands directly on the form in the browser and can enter data there. Thanks to the flexible layout modules, the layout of the form automatically adapts to the display size of the given device.

In the first version, the web forms support only simple basic functions. Later, support for multiple languages and more flexible settings and layout options will be added.

The control of entire workflows with the help of Claris Connect as well as the creation of dashboards will probably be reserved for a later version. Claris wants to listen to the needs of users and developers here and align the priorities for further development accordingly.

The new Claris platform - How everything fits together

Under the Hood

Some things sound confusing at first and you have to realize that “FileMaker” and “Claris Studio” are actually two different products. They can be used independently, but they can complement each other perfectly.

Also the demarcation to “WebDirect” seems not quite clear at the first moment. But if you look behind the technical scenes, it quickly becomes clear where the fundamental differences are to be found.

FileMaker as we have known it so far is a “rapid development platform” for applications on so-called “rich clients”. These are very deeply integrated with the underlying operating system and offer numerous interfaces for data and documents as well as a plug-in architecture to enable special applications. However, the very broad field of possible use cases was bought with the necessity of first having to license and install the respective client application before it could be used. With WebDirect, Claris attempted to break down these narrow limits and to reproduce the “rich client” experience as identically as possible in the web browser. What remained was the licensing hurdle, which prevented certain use cases.

In contrast, “Claris Studio” relies on flexible and open access via the web browser. Existing and also new users are to be given access to data and processes very quickly and without software installation. This is made possible by providing an independent data layer in the cloud together with the option of creating prefabricated processes on the cloud platform. As far as possible, there should be no hurdles for the user. Everything technical and the license requirements are solved in advance behind the scenes.

The whole thing is now interesting because Claris has created a technical basis for linking the old and new worlds. Direct access to shared data storage elegantly opens up paths that previously had to be solved, in part very laboriously, via dedicated API access to the cloud.

If you compare the individual components in a diagram, you can see that a consistent platform can now be developed across several levels of integration. With the “Claris Cloud” – as a hub between local applications, cloud applications and external services – there are in principle a lot of possibilities to design or expand applications according to requirements. The right path (or even several paths) can be made available to the user for every use case.

The core is the new database in the cloud based on MongoDB. With this powerful engine, Claris creates the prerequisite for linking all products and services in a meaningful way. How well the mapping and synchronization to FileMaker’s existing data layers will work in individual cases remains to be seen. However, the approaches visible so far look promising.

If Claris sets the right course here and also provides us developers with the appropriate tools, this could become a real game changer in the long term!

In particular, if Claris simplifies the integration of third-party services through the close integration with “Claris Connect” as a workflow platform in the cloud, a lot of new options will suddenly open up, from which many existing FileMaker applications can also benefit greatly. There is no question that the platform opens up new application possibilities right from the start.


We will certainly have to be patient until then. According to the announcement, the first release of the new platform is planned for September 2022. Refinements are to be made step by step thereafter. It is also not yet known what changes the new licensing model will bring for existing installations. After all, Claris has to pay for the investments in new technologies. It remains to be hoped that many new customers will recognize the potential of the opportunities it offers and that Claris will be able to tap into additional sources of revenue from a growing user base. Otherwise, it is quite conceivable that existing customers will have to dig deeper into their pockets in the future.

At the bottom line it’s pretty obvious that the new strategy could work. Claris has reiterated in recent announcements that existing solutions will continue to be fully supported. With the new features and the opening of the licensing model towards the “freemium version”, Claris makes the platform attractive for new developers, users and purposes.

If this integration of old and new succeeds technically and communicatively, Claris can catch up with the cloud age with a contemporary portfolio. Admittedly, the field is fiercely competitive and some players are already in it with solid tools. However, it is perhaps this rather rare combination of powerful “rich client” applications and flexible “thin client” access that enables Claris to play to its diverse strengths in very different disciplines.

Sources and further information:

FileMaker Magazin 2022-03Eine deutsche Version dieses Berichts erschien in der Ausgabe 2022-03 des FileMaker Magazins. Anbei PDF-Download des vollständigen Artikels mit freundlicher Erlaubnis des K&K Verlags.