Basic info for Rucksack Texnology clients and licensees
NOTE: Information on this page is time-sensitive. This page was last updated February 2016 and info was accurate at that time, but things will change sooner or later and this info will become dated.
This support article is addressed specifically to users of Rucksack Texnology FileMaker database solutions. This intended audience includes law offices using Acquittal, publications using CMAssistant, and our custom consulting clients. This is a bit long but there are a lot of variations to cover.
What you need To run our database solutions, you need the following:
The solution file(s), i.e., a copy of the database file or files that constitute our database app or "solution."
FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Go, to open the solution files.
FileMaker Server, to host files for multiuser access over a network. (Optional in a few situations.)
The Mac OS or Microsoft Windows, to run FileMaker Pro on a computer, or the iOS to run FileMaker Go on an iPhone and/or iPad.
Hardware that can run the operating system.
You'll get #1 (the solution files) from us. You'll get #2 and #3 from FileMaker Inc. or your favorite software vendor. And #5 (hardware) you'll also get from your preferred computer, phone or tablet reseller.
Options for sharing Multiuser access — the ability to have five people (or 50) working in the same database at the same time --is one of the most appealing features of our solutions. To share a FileMaker database, you'll almost always want to host the database files in a program called FileMaker Server. There are two basic ways to do this.
Purchase a license for FileMaker Server and install it on your own hardware. If the databases are hosted on your own in-office network, data will move back and forth between users and the server very quickly. You will need to purchase a license for FileMaker Server, you'll need a dedicated computer to run it on, and you'll need somebody with a little bit of technical savvy to be the server administrator. (It's not rocket science, but somebody will need to be there to manage database files on the server, to configure FileMaker Server for secure remote access by FileMaker Go users, handle backups, restart the server if it crashes or loses power, handle updates to the software, etc.)
Sign up for a FileMaker database hosting account with an online service. We recommend Point in Space, which provides premium service; we have had good experiences with FileMaker Hosting Pros as well. Your files will be hosted on remote servers, so data will have to travel a long way back and forth, and in some situations, performance will be a little slower. But hosting with a remote service provides two big advantages: The initial cost is negligible, and even over time the cost of remote hosting is very affordable. And you won't have to worry about dealing with server problems.
Which option to choose? If you have a large number of users, you'll want to buy FileMaker Server and host your own databases. If you have only half a dozen users (or perhaps a couple more than that), using a remote hosting service makes great sense.
In a small handful of cases, if your database is generally used by just one person but needs now and then to be shared with a second user, you may be able to get away with using FileMaker Pro's peer-to-peer sharing. This obviates the need to buy FileMaker Server or pay for a remote hosting account. In general, we don't encourage this approach, because the problems and risks involved outweigh the small savings. But ask us for more details.
Versions and compatibility The tricky part is getting the right versions of everything.
The final issue has to do with the "generation" of FileMaker Pro that you'll be using. The generation is determined by the basic file format, which is shown by the file-name extension. Files that end in ".fp7" belong to the FileMaker 7 generation (which extended up to FileMaker Pro version 11). Files ending in .fmp12 belong to the Filemaker 12 generation (which now includes FileMaker Pro 13 and 14). Why does this matter? Everybody accessing the same database must be using a copy of FileMaker Pro that belongs to the same generation. So:
If you're a CMAssistant licensee and want to run CMAssistant 8.1 and have multiple users on different machines access it, then either (a) users on all machines must be using FileMaker Pro 11; or (b) users on all machines must be using either FileMaker Pro 12 or 13. If your solution files end in .fp7, you can't access them from a copy of FileMaker Pro that is designed to open files ending in .fmp12.
If your law office is licensing Acquittal, everybody in the office must be running FileMaker Pro 13 or FileMaker Go 13 (or later).
If you have any questions about this, simply contact us. When you do, please tell us about the hardware you have already and what operating system or systems you're running. We'll let you know if you are ready to run our databases or if you'll need to upgrade your hardware operating system or copies of FileMaker Pro prior to deployment of our database.
Buying FileMaker Pro If you wish to buy the latest version of FileMaker Pro (= 14, as of summer 2015), go to the "store" page on FileMaker Inc's web site, here. There are two ways to get a license for FileMaker Pro 14.
You can buy individual licenses (for $329 each).
If you are buying five or more licenses, you can get a volume discount from FileMaker Inc and buy on a subscription. This can cost as little as $108 a year ($9 a month) per license.
Buying older versions of FileMaker Pro (like version 11) is harder. You can contact FileMaker Inc directly. Our suggestion is to look on mass market vendors like Amazon, Frye's, or Micro Center.
The latest version of FileMaker Go is free and can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad directly from the iOS App Store. (There is no FileMaker Go app for Android.)
Keep in mind that you will need 1 license for FileMaker Pro for each computer that will run it. In an office where each user has one computer and vice versa, this means you'll need one license of FileMaker Pro per user. Most companies will only need one license for FileMaker Server, no matter how many users they have.