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The Comprehensive Guide to Building Custom Database

Discover how easy it is to create multi-user, cross-platform custom solutions with FileMaker Pro, the relational database platform published by Apple subsidiary Claris International, Inc. Meticulously rewritten with clearer lessons, more real-world examples and updated to include feature changes introduced in recent versions, this book makes it easier to get started planning, building and deploying a custom database solution.

The material is presented in an easy to follow manner with each chapter building on the last. After an initial review of the user environment and application basics, it begins a deep exploration of the integrated development environment that seamlessly combines the full stack of data table schema, business logic and interface layers into one visual programming experience. This book includes everything a beginner needs to get started building custom databases and contains advanced material that seasoned professionals will appreciate.

Written by a professional developer with decades of real-world experience, Learn FileMaker Pro 19 is your comprehensive learning and reference guide. Join millions of users and developers worldwide in achieving a new level of workflow efficiency with FileMaker Pro.

What You’ll Learn

  • Discover interface and feature changes in FileMaker 17-19
  • Create and maintain healthy files
  • Plan and create custom tables, fields, relationships
  • Write calculations using built-in and custom functions
  • Build recursive and repeating formulas
  • Discover advanced features using cURL, JSON, SQL, ODBC and FM URL
  • Manipulate data files in the computer directory with scripts
  • Deploy solutions to a server and share with desktop, iOS and web clients
Publication Year


The previous edition of this book was published in 2017. In the introduction to Learn FileMaker Pro 16, I reminisced about my first encounter with the software working at Tannen’s Magic Shop in Manhattan back in 1988 and highlighted the evolutionary changes that spanned the decades between. In the three years since that publication, the technological march forward continues with improvements to the FileMaker application.

The product is now in version 19.  The Apple subsidiary was renamed Claris to reflect an expanding product line with more diversity than the former FileMaker-centric offerings. The previous two versions of the desktop application — FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced — are now rolled into a single title that includes all development tools. Annual upgrades to the product have resulted in an accumulation of feature changes. To stay relevant and reflect the current software, a new edition was required.

In addition to revisions covering changes to the software, I was determined to make improvements to the original book. Some changes were in response to legitimate criticisms from readers. Although readers widely praised the first book, some thought there were too many pages focused on a function reference section that too closely resembles what is available in the online help guide. Others thought there were not enough real-world examples. I felt the original book could have been more succinct. I updated the text for feature changes and spent extra months completely rewriting each section and producing what is almost an entirely new book. I hope the effort shows.

I love hearing from readers and welcome any feedback or questions. If you enjoy the book, please consider posting a review on your favorite online bookseller’s site and/or sharing on social media. Contact me directly by joining the Learn FileMaker FaceBook group, connecting to my professional network on LinkedIn or through my business website:

FileMaker is a highly capable tool used by millions worldwide. I hope you enjoy the book and that it helps you on your journey.

Mark Conway Munro
December 2020 / Lewisburg, PA

About the Author

Mark Conway Munro is a software developer and the author of AppleScript: Developer Reference (2010, Wiley) and Learn FileMaker Pro 16 (2017, Apress). After a 1988 introduction to FileMaker, Mark began using AppleScript and FileMaker for information management and process automation tasks. In 1994, Mark founded Write Track Media, a computer consultancy firm that develops custom database and workflow automation solutions. Mark builds time-saving custom systems for a diverse list of clients across industries, including education, entertainment, finance, news, publishing, manufacturing, and more. Understanding the virtue of using technology to free human focus from repetitive tasks so they can pursue a higher level of productivity, Mark is unwavering in his commitment to developing the highest quality workflow management solutions.

Reader Comments

“Learn Filemaker Pro 16 gave my career and my skills as a developer a jump start. Highly recommend letting Mark Conway Munro and his books get into your head, you won’t regret it! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of LFM19!”

— Brett Tyler Reed, Facebook & Amazon

“One of the very best authors! I liked the honest appraisal of lessons learned from the first book. I look forward to reading the revised version!”

— Robert Jackson, LinkedIn comment

“There’s quite a bit of knowledge packed into this book. Definitely a no-brainer to pick this book up if you’re building custom databases.”

— ‘BoredAardvarkBFF’, Amazon Reviewer

“It’s a great written book.”

— Cameron Maciel, Amazon Reviewer

“Mark Munro’s writing is clear and thoughtful, and this book contains a wealth of knowledge that any FileMaker developer will find useful. As has happened each time with one of Mr. Munro’s books, I had a specific question in mind, found the section dealing with my problem, and found a solution right away! His explanations are clear, and the examples are both practical and useful. Thank you for another great book!”

— J. Smith, Amazon Review

“Mark has really done a great job with this. It’s been updated in a slightly newer format and he’s listened to feedback from those who purchased the previous version. It’s a massive undertaking to cover a subject like this and here it’s been done very well. The examples are clear and the writing style not to geekish and heavy for those who are beginners in this area but at the same time giving enough ‘meat’ for advanced users to get their teeth into. A solid publication that will definitely be open at some page or other on my desk for many months to come.”

— Jason Hicking, Amazon (UK) Review

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