Compare FM IMAP vs. FileMaker's native email features
Email client interface
Fully scripted, no programming necessary
Synchronise your inbox, sent folders, personal folders etc. with your database and choose which folders to synchronise
Synchronise the standard IMAP flags: Seen, Answered, Flagged, Deleted and Draft
Configure your email accounts just like any normal email application
Specify SMTP server settings
Advanced SMTP authentication
Supports Google oAuth (alternative to user name & password stored in the database)
COMPOSING & SENDING EMAILS
Send plain text emails
Send Rich Text messages (automatically converts FileMaker text to Rich Text)
Send HTML messages
Send multiple attachments
Automatically saves and syncs emails in your Drafts folder
Access full email headers
Download attachments or leave on server
View emails with inline images
Move messages to another folder
Create local folders (not synchronised). Useful for archiving or legal requirements
IMAP synchronisation can run server-side for improved multi-user experience
Detailed activity log
Compare FM IMAP vs. Dacons Mailit, 360 Works Email plug-in and CNS POPit & SMTPit
The following are the results from our internal testing as well as feedback from FM IMAP beta testers who have also used or tested the other plug-ins. Whilst we have done everything possible to confirm these details, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. If you have a different experience or are aware of any errors in the following comments then please advise us and we will rectify them immediately. Our intention is only to give an honest comparison to help you make an informed decision.
What is IMAP
IMAP is an extra protocol in addition to POP or SMTP. IMAP is where the magic happens, that synchronises the emails in your database with your desktop mail app and mobile devices. For example, without IMAP the emails sent from your FileMaker database will not be visible in the sent folder of your email applications or other devices and visa versa. For more details on the differences between POP and IMAP, please see the FAQ at the end of this page.
…but neither of these plug-ins fully implement synchronising multiple IMAP accounts and folders in their sample files, so you will need to program that too - and IMAP synchronisation is extremely complex (it's over 5,000 lines of code in FM IMAP).???
All three of these plug-ins are excellent products in their own right and if your main requirement is just to send and receive emails then any of these might do some or all of what you need. Each plug-in has it's own strengths and some offer features not available in FM IMAP. This comparison is focussed on IMAP and not other features. Please therefore download and test the other email plug-ins to do a full comparison of the features you require.
Dacons Mailit v22.214.171.124
??? Dacons does not appear to support Google oAuth, which means under certain circumstances, it will be impossible to connect to Google accounts unless you enable the "Enable Less Secure Apps" option, which we would not generally recommend. ???
360 Works Email plug-in v3.1
The 360 Works sample files we downloaded did not provide any IMAP synchronisation built in. It can download messages using the IMAP protocol. It also provides commands to move message from one folder to another and read and write flags (two of the core concepts of synchronisation), but you will have to write all the programming code yourself. As mentioned above, this is extremely complex and includes over 5,000 lines of code in FM IMAP.
360 Works does not appear to support Google oAuth, which means under certain circumstances, it will be impossible to connect to Google accounts unless you enable the "Enable Less Secure Apps" option, which we would not generally recommend.
During our internal testing we were unable to connect to either iCloud or gMail accounts but you should do your own testing.
CNS POPit & SMTPit
As far as we are aware, the CNS POPit & SMTPit plug-in combination do not provide any support for IMAP.
To offer a completely balanced comparison, FM IMAP requires the outstanding MBS plug-in, so you will need to licence that separately if you don't already have a licence. The MBS plug-in adds over 5,000 new functions to FileMaker, making it extremely powerful and could help you make lots of improvements elsewhere in your FileMaker solutions. FM IMAP takes advantage of the full cURL implementation in MBS, which is far superior to the limited subset of cURL available directly in any version of FileMaker.
As mentioned in the FAQ section below, FM IMAP requires FileMaker 16 or later, whereas the other plug-ins will usually work with older version of FileMaker. If you're using FileMaker 15 or earlier then you will need to upgrade to use FM IMAP.
Full IMAP synchronisation in FileMaker
No need to write any code. We've done it all for you!
Send emails from FileMaker and see them in the sent folder on your other devices and vice-versa
Supports Google oAuth as well as traditional user name / password combinations
Syncs multiple IMAP accounts simultaneously and fast
Easy to integrate into your own solution or just use our files if you don't already have a FileMaker email client.
Schedule server-side scripts so it all happens in the background
Free for the first year
Up to 5
Up to 10
Up to 25
Up to 50
Up to 100
VM licence is per single product. If you wish to integrate FM IMAP into more than one VM product, please purchase a separate VM licence for each product.
£1,795 per solution plus the default number of email accounts per customer licensed installation of your product. You can add more licences for individual customers if required.
Vertical Market Licence Notes
Assistance integrating FM IMAP into your existing solution or helping you to develop a custom solution based around FM IMAP. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.
£125 per hour
POP and IMAP are the protocols or technologies that you use to download messages from mail servers to your computers and mobile devices.
POP is the older tecnhnology and only allows downloading - it's a one way street. Once downloaded there is no connection between an email on the mail server and the same email on your device. If you delete it from your device, it's still on the mail server. If you go to another device and downloaded your emails, it would be there again, as if by magic, because it never got deleted from the mail server. This is why old POP accounts used to become full much quicker… because emails never got deleted from the server. This lack of synchronisation can be a real pain!
IMAP is the newer technology that both downloads and synchronises your email folders and their contents. Once downloaded, if you delete an email from your device, it deletes it from the mail server when it next synchronises. If you send an email from one device it will appear in the sent folder on your other devices.
People often ask about SMTP… When you send an email it goes via SMTP whether you're using POP or IMAP. The difference is that with POP/SMTP, it's just in the sent folder on the device you sent it from. The extra technology in IMAP subsequently synchronises all the folders (including your sent folder) on your various devices so that the email you sent on your computer appears in the sent folder on your phone and vice-versa. Without IMAP, SMTP is a one way street, just like POP.
The IMAP protocol doesn't just synchronise the emails, but any changes, e.g. read or unread status, whether it has flags and which folder its in. IMAP can also synchronise draft emails, so you can start an email on one device, then complete and send it on another.
Yes. Because of the way FileMaker works, our synchronisation process creates local copies of all your emails in a FileMaker table.
Once synchronised, copies of the emails are stored in your FileMaker database so you can read them offline. By default FM IMAP doesn't download attachments or inline images so you may want to download those before going offline. You can edit the default settings to download inline images and attachments if you prefer.
It depends on how many email accounts you're synchronising, how many emails are in those account folders and whether or not your database is hosted on FileMaker Server.
With fewer email accounts and / or if you're just running your database on FileMaker locally (not on FileMaker Server), then you can click the synchronise button whenever you need to.
If your database is hosted on FileMaker Server and you click the sync button in FileMaker client, FM IMAP uses the Perform Script on Server method because it makes more efficient use of your network bandwidth and will therefore run faster.
However, if your database is hosted on FileMaker Server it might be advantageous to schedule a script to run on your server anything between every 5 to 60 minutes (or as frequently or infrequently as you need) so that updates happen in the background without affecting FileMaker users. We would generally not recommend setting the scheduled script to run more frequently than every five minutes since could cause overlaps, especially if you have lots of email accounts and / or lots of email in any of the accounts. We recommend that you first look at the FM IMAP logs (or run the sync on a FileMaker client) to see how long synchronisations take and thus how long to leave between server schedules.
Let's say that for legal reasons, you need to keep some emails in FileMaker even if they were to be get deleted from the mail server.
FM IMAP supports ‘local’ folders that don't synchronise with the mail server. This enabled you to take advantage of IMAP for downloading / synchronising emails sent from elsewhere and also moving them into a local folder to meet archiving or legal requirements.
Currently we make extensive use of the following features which are not supported in FileMaker 15 or earlier:
- JSON functions
- Using variables to reference external data files
- Card windows
FileMaker 15 or earlier: The above features are not available in FileMaker 15 or earlier.
Runtimes: The runtime engine was officially deprecated in May 2015 with the release of FileMaker 14. Since then any new features added to FileMaker have not been added to runtimes. Even if you produce a runtime solution from FileMaker 17 it will not support any newer features introduced in FileMaker 15, 16 or 17. Since the above listed features were all introduced in FileMaker 16 or later, they simply won't work in runtimes.
The only solution would be to redevelop many thousands of lines of code in the FM-IMAP synchronisation engine to use the MBS plug-in features instead of FileMaker's native functions, which would require a lot of work. We are happy to review this if there is sufficient demand or a customer wishes to sponsor the work.
The following are known issues as of 2nd May 2019. We hope to address most of these issues in updates. Please check back for more details.