FileMaker Pro is a database design application that allows you to create a database to handle virtually any type of workflow requirements. It has lots of native tools to help you setup the database, create relationship between tables, create layouts, and create scripts. Also, it has a plugin architecture that allows you to use third-party plugins to help add functionality to your database solution.
Now that I have briefly summarized FileMaker Pro, I want to focus this post on FileMakers ease of use. FileMaker Inc, promotes the application as a very easy to use application that anyone can use right out of the box. This is true in some aspects and completely misleading in other aspects.
The easy to use aspect of FileMaker comes into play early in the database creation process when you are creating tables and fields. Making relationships between tables is really easy through the backend graphic user interface. The front end user interface makes creating layouts very easy through FileMakers Inspector tool. The inspector comes with a variety of formatting options similar to what MS Word and Adobe CS offers for document creation.
The misleading part comes into play when you need to create a database solution that is logically structured. All the amazing tools are great and they become easy to use after some pain staking trial and error attempts.
To really become a decent FileMaker developer you need to understand how database relationships work. FileMaker Pro will not tell you what to do or how to do it. Just like any development application it provides you with the tools you need, the knowledge needed to use these tools effectively hinges on your desire to learn.
I remember when I started using FileMaker, creating a table and fields was kids play; creating calculation was relatively easy because I had experience with calculations in excel. Creating portals and relationships is also kids play, creating advanced portals took while for because I struggles with the whole relationship aspect, but once I wrapped my head around the one-to-one or one-to-many concept of relationships, things started to get easier.
In summary, FileMaker Pro is easy to use, FileMaker development is easier than PHP coding because FileMaker gives us an interface tools to utilize.