FileMaker Plugin Developer: Productive Computing
Number of Plugins: 16 FileMaker Plugins
When did you first start using FileMaker?
What made you start making FileMaker Plugins?
Do you use any plugins created by other people? If so which ones?
Which of your own plugins do you feel is your best work?
Do you think making plugins cross-platform is important?
What do you think of FileMaker adding features that come from Plugins? Such as Printing to PDF and Script Triggering?
What do you think the next feature originally come from a plugin FileMaker will add will be?
Do you think Free plugins harm companies who sell plugins?
I feel any company that would give away their software devalues their work. It also fosters the impression to the customer that other plug-ins from other developers should be free as well – or worse, it compels other plug-in developers to also have free plug-ins to compete. Pretty soon there are a bunch of free solutions and there is not enough revenue to sustain the development or the business model because you are competing at a zero price point. Being busy building and sustaining free code only makes it harder to hire the best and brightest minds to do this kind of work or qualified support staff to provide outstanding support. The plug-in market is small and has a low profit margin by itself without having industry self inflicted free plug-ins to foul up the nest.
I’ll also go so far as to say that site licenses are another abysmal practice. What other successful software company on the planet do you know that sells an unlimited number of seats of their product for a set price? None that I know of. Why? Because it is unsustainable. The small profit that this kind of model generates isn’t worth the effort to create and support the product so why would anyone who values their time bother with it? You can get away with it maybe if you are a one man show without any real overhead, but when you hire a team of highly skilled and compensated developers and support staff, that come with benefits and retirement plans, it makes it impossible to sustain. Something has to give.
Now before I go alienating all our potential customers out there by dismissing free stuff which sounds like a great deal for the customer, it really isn’t. If you don’t have a vibrant marketplace where there is healthy profit to be made by developing innovative plug-ins, then you reduce the interest and numbers of people who would build these new products because there isn’t enough reward to bother with the endeavor.
Our company doesn’t provide any free plug-ins because we not only want to provide the best and easiest to use plug-ins in the industry, but we also want to have the best trained and capable staff available to help our customers when they have support questions. Neither of these two goals comes cheap but we feel our customers truly value the high level of care we provide to them because our plug-ins support their mission critical systems. Accounting, contacts, e-mail, calendaring and task management – you can’t get more mission critical than that!
What features would make the next version FileMaker perfect?
Any tips for people who want to make a FileMaker Plugin themselves?