FileMaker, Inc. recently introduced several new versions of its database application, notable for the integration of its database engine directly within the graphical forms used to access the underlying data. FileMaker Pro 12, FileMaker Go 12, and FileMaker Server 12 are among the new releases that make it easier for business users to develop, administer, and maintain their own databases.
FileMaker Pro 12
Unlike some database programs, FileMaker Pro 12 enables end users to create custom databases using themes, dragging and dropping elements within the database, and even creating databases from the ground up using 16 prepackaged Starter Solutions, essentially editable database templates. Container fields — an element that enables importing images, audio files, documents, and even video within a FileMaker database — are redesigned in version 12 to improve performance, an important consideration as more information is added to an ever-growing database.
Quick Charts is another new feature. FileMaker 12 Pro users can now create some five new chart diagrams and 10 new styles to better present database information graphically.
FileMaker Go 12
FileMaker Go enables businesses that design and create databases using FileMaker Pro to upload and run those databases on common iOS devices, namely iPhones and iPads. These same databases can also be run on computers (Apple or Windows) or the Web.
Just how can businesses leverage the full capacity of FileMaker Go 12 on mobile devices? There are dozens of ways, including:
- Close sales
- Review research data
- Check inventory levels
- Update project status
- Conduct evaluations
- Perform standards audits
- Prepare estimates and quotations
- Access client records
- Conduct surveys
- Track shipping and receiving records
- Check in attendees
- Verify schedules
FileMaker Server 12
Businesses can install FileMaker Server 12 to further tap the database product line's capacity. Using FileMaker Server 12, businesses can enable real-time data exchange between the back-end FileMaker database and front-end systems. Database access is supported either across a local network or the Internet.
FileMaker offers businesses a simple yes/no questionnaire designed to help them determine whether they truly need a FileMaker 12 Server. Businesses deploying their own FileMaker server can support up to 250 FileMaker Pro users. The server enables scheduled live back up operations and offers user administration via Open Directory or Active Directory integration. SSL encryption, meanwhile, can be used to ensure secure data communications with the database.
A FileMaker Advanced Server option is available and provides additional scalability, improved administration features, and instant Web publishing. Advanced Server also adds Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) support for FileMaker databases and the ability to support up to 100 concurrent Web connections.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.