FileMaker 19.3 Release Highlights

A couple of weeks ago, Claris released a new version of their FileMaker platform, FileMaker 19.3. Claris has been working hard over the last year, since the release of FileMaker 19, to modernize and simplify the FileMaker user experience. The Quick Start experience is a big step toward easing users into the FileMaker platform. In addition, the features in this release help expand user capabilities in terms of deployment, security, and emerging technologies.

There are a few specific changes that we would like to highlight:

  1. Ubuntu server version
  2. Microsoft Edge web viewer
  3. Apple M1 native compatibility

Late last year, Claris introduced a server that runs on Red Hat’s open-source platform, CentOS. This is actually a reintroduction to Linux as they had a Linux version back in the early 2000s. Claris had been privately using CentOS to run their Cloud product for some years but only recently made it available to the rest of us. Unfortunately, almost immediately after Claris released their CentOS version, Red Hat announced that they were discontinuing CentOS, leaving many folks confused and disappointed.

Luckily Claris had already been exploring other Linux distributions and settled on one of the most popular and user-friendly products out there, called Ubuntu, which is provided by a company called Conical. To most users and admins, there aren’t a lot of differences between CentOS and Ubuntu. Because they use different updating and installing programs, some of the commands will be different, but everything else will be the same since they are both Linux distributions, after all. By the way, FileMaker supports version 18.04 of Ubuntu Server, so be sure that you download that one and not the more recent 20.04.


Arguably the biggest deal of this new version is the launch of Microsoft Edge as the background engine for web viewers and their under-the-hood cousins, interactive container fields. With version 19.3 for Windows, Claris has finally put Internet Explorer (IE) out to pasture. Now the Windows folks in your organization will be able to get feature parity with the macOS version.

You might wonder why this is important. Well, in a word, JavaScript. JavaScript is the programming language that runs the browser-based Internet, and IE was a very poor subordinate. Support for JavaScript libraries makes it easy to create modern functions, like calendars in FileMaker 19. There are many functions and operations that IE simply cannot do but that other browsers have supported for years. These deficiencies would hold back the true power of the web viewer and interactive containers on Windows machines. These limitations often affected Mac users as well since we developers usually code for the lowest common denominator to ensure consistency.

Well, that is no longer the case. Thanks to Microsoft’s introduction of a Chromium-based browser in the guise of Edge and its inclusion as the underlining Windows API for executing browser code, Claris could safely shift to it for running JavaScript and displaying HTML. Incidentally, Edge is the underlining engine of Google Chrome and Apple Safari, to some extent. So throw open the doors and experiment with web viewers and FileMaker’s recent JavaScript enhancements with abandoned regard to your target user’s operating system.


Mac users shouldn’t feel left out either, at least those who have jumped on Apple’s new set of homegrown M1 chips because, with version 19.3, FileMaker runs natively on Apple Silicon technology and with blazing fast results, from all reports. From what we hear, launching an app is virtually instantaneous. And we all can expect to see remarkable improvements in the sort, find, and navigation functions. Of course, we weren’t necessarily expecting much from the new CPU on the FileMaker front anyway. Still, it has proven to be as much of a game-changer for FileMaker as it has for other process-intensive apps.

Don’t hesitate to download and install 19.3.1. There was a bug related to PDF viewing in the initial release, so look for the updated version. Enjoy the new performance and features regardless of what type of computer you choose to run it on.

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