Comparing Claris Connect and other iPaaS Systems

iPaaS stands for ‘Integration Platform as a Service’ and if that isn’t one of the less clear product categories around, I don’t know what is. Everyone knows what a coffee vendor sells, but what does an iPaaS vendor provide?

An iPaaS system, at least for the purposes of this article, is a web service/platform that allows you to integrate the capabilities of many different service providers into a series of operations with data from one operation feeding into the next. Examples are probably best to illustrate the point!

An iPaaS system can allow you to do any of the following:

  • Receive an email and process it into your Mailchimp audience and at the same time insert a record into your FileMaker database as a new contact record and send a Slack message alerting people to the event.

  • Enter an order in FileMaker and have it insert an invoice into QuickBooks and also add a new contact to your Mailchimp audience.

  • Run a scheduled series of steps at a particular time of day that pulls new order data from FileMaker and inserts it into a Google Sheet.

These operations can all be done via API integration in FileMaker, but can often be more quickly and easily achieved via an iPaaS system.

In this article, we’ll look briefly at three of these systems, Claris’ own Claris Connect and two other leading providers in the field, Zapier and IFTTT.

Claris Connect

Claris Connect has a clear benefit for FileMaker developers in that it provides native support for FileMaker as a database engine. The ability to utilize the on premise agent for enhanced security is an additional benefit to Claris Connect.

The FM Plus license is priced pretty attractively for the average FileMaker user and the ease of integration with FileMaker Server does speed things along.

Claris Connect’s biggest disadvantage is the limited number of connectors, at around 60 as of this writing. If the service you want to integrate with has a connector, you’re all set. But if not then one of the other services may be necessary, or you might wish to use a direct API connection.

NOTE:  Even if a service doesn’t have a connector in Claris Connect you may still be able to integrate with it easily via Claris Connect’s support for webhooks.

Claris Connect does not have a free tier for developers to experiment with. Remedying this limitation has been a common request we’ve heard from developers and users.


Zapier is the market leader for iPaaS services of this type with support for over 3,000 services. If you want to integrate with something, Zapier is pretty likely to support it.

Zapier does not integrate with FileMaker quite as easily as Claris Connect, but you can utilize webhooks to facilitate the process, or you can implement the freeware fmGateway Zapier from Paradise Partners. fmGateway allows you to interact with your FileMaker Server from Zapier much the way you can interact with FileMaker Server natively from Claris Connect.

NOTE: The 15 minute update time may be too slow for some solutions if you are using the Pro, Starter, or Free account levels. With the lower cost accounts, your automation (zap) may not run for as long as 15 minutes after your triggering event. Zapier does have a limited number of ‘Instant’ triggers that are not subject to this update delay.

IFTTT (If This, Then That)

IFTTT is the low cost leader of the three services overviewed here, and still supports integration with over 700 applications. IFTTT has a strong focus on ‘prosumer’ applications, allowing you to create integrations between frequently used high end home automation products and service. One could create an applet that allows your robot vacuum cleaner to order a dominos pizza after it finishes vacuuming your house 🙂

There is no tool like fmGateway Zapier to make it simple to connect FileMaker Server to IFTTT.

Workato and Integromat

I also took a look at these two additional iPaas systems vying for success in this market. Integromat’s pricing is in line with the rest and Workato doesn’t publish pricing on their website. As a blog post primarily destined to be read by FileMaker developers, I didn’t look any deeper into these options since they don’t have connectors for FileMaker, nor 3rd party tools for integrating FileMaker into their workflows.


In summary, Claris Connect and Zapier allow for simple access to your FileMaker Server database engine, though by a third party utility in Zapier’s case. Both of these services are in use by the FileMaker community at large and so support resources are available. I was unable to find any reports of any FM developers utilizing IFTTT, Workato, or Integromat. IFTTT’s low cost may make it an interesting option as an educational exercise for learning how iPaaS systems work.

If we can assist with your iPaaS integration needs, please give us a call. It is amazing how fast some multi-system integrations can be accomplished with these tools!

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