For many years I have developed collection software for a very niche market. Essentially, my software helps users keep track of particular kinds of collectibles and tells them how much their collections are worth.

I am currently using a FileMaker Runtime Solution to distribute the software. While this has worked for me and I have been able to maintain a steady amount of growth, installation and updating is clunky and frustrating for my customers. With the current system, users have to wait an entire year for an update to be released for new items to be added and updated market prices. Not to mention that Runtime has been deprecated and the new Filemaker Server pricing is too expensive for me.

I would like to create an application with barcode scanning capability that allows 2,000+ users to search a catalog of collectibles that I update on a regular basis (adding new items, updating items with new information and current market prices). Currently, my users are on a variety of platforms (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android).

Users should have the ability to add items from the catalog that creates a record in their collection with basic information about an item. Users then should be able to add their own information, such as how much they paid for the item, where they display and store the item, their own comments/pictures for the item, etc. At the same time, certain fields will remain linked to the catalog, such as a constant "MyCompany Market Price" based on my estimate.

My question: what languages do I need to be familiar with and what tools can I use to make this work? Anything pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your suggestions.

  • 1
    I think this is a bit over-broad. What you really need is to look at the design of the entire system. First off, are your users single users, or organizations? If they are single users, then SQLite would probably be a good choice for the local data bases. Secondly, would they benefit from MUCH more rapid price updates? Because that sounds like a case for putting the price data on servers at your end and having the client software talk to them whenever it needs a clue. – Michael Kohne Oct 27 '17 at 13:56
  • Michael, you are correct with putting price data on servers at my end and have the client software talk to them. Users are single users, as in single hobbyist collectors. That is what I am interested in doing. Currently, we are limited with the FileMaker platform and installation/updating is a pain. – rayfarer Oct 27 '17 at 15:08
  • So I guess you could think of something like this website but for my own niche market (unrelated to baseball cards, but you get the picture): sportscardalbum.com – rayfarer Oct 27 '17 at 15:10
  • Must the app be able to function offline, with no internet access? Or can we assume an internet connection is present? – Basil Bourque Nov 1 '17 at 7:42
  • Hi Basil! The app should be able to function offline. However, I would like (as the database administrator) to introduce updates that (1) add new items for collectors to add to their collections and (2) reflect price changes for items linked in users' databases. So, something like an SQLite database that stores a user's collection information (ex: I have added x, y and z items), and then another SQLite "price guide" database that can connect to a MySQL cloud database and update its listings. Basically, something like this website: poppriceguide.com – rayfarer Nov 2 '17 at 11:42

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