Screw Filemaker - Now what?

For the last couple of years I’ve been using Filemaker Pro for rapid prototyping of paper game concepts.

Since I first started using it I’ve been frustrated by it’s bizarro world logic where good programming techniques are actively thwarted by the fucked up design and poor implementation choices. (Layout logic can’t be copied! Variables must be kept as global fields! No global editing of scripts! Can’t control file pointers! etc. etc)

But now I’m done with it. I just can’t take it any more.
So I need to set up a new database dev platform. Something I can use for both data entry and control, and build on it to implement game prototypes of varying complexity.

I’m leaning toward Access and VB. I flirted with Python/SQL last year, but fell back into my Filemaker ways out of sheer inertia and the difficulty of setting up the dev system, although it does seem to have useful tools.
I can code high level languages, and have used Clipper in the distant past.

Any other suggestions? SQL/HTML? I need to get things up to speed as quickly as possible, but I’m hoping this will be the last time for a long time.

I think postgres SQL is great as a database back-end. Access is teh evil.

I’ve been using .asp scripts (which are visual basic) to serve an html interface for my prototyping. I like it.

I agree Access stinks as a database. It’s pretty nice for reports and simple data entry UI screens.

But if you’re going the Microsoft way, I’d recommend their MSDE engine instead. I think the current version still includes no GUI tools, but otherwise it’s the SQL Server engine with a few performance throttling limits in place. It’s free, and there are some free tools available that you can use in place of Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer.

I’ve heard that the SQL 2005 version of MSDE will include some GUI tools.

MSDE and info about it should be available at

Access is just a programmable front-end. By default it’s using a proprietary MS format for data storage, but you can just as well use it with SQL databases via MS SQL server or MS DE.

Actually, isn’t the programming interface exactly identical between the two formats? I remember seeing SQL expressions in my DAO databases managed via Access.