FileMaker Pro 13 – Review
FileMaker Pro 13
Company: FileMaker, Inc.
System Requirements: see this page.
The last FileMaker Pro upgrade appeared about a year and a half ago. Version 12 introduced a broader set of changes then than these made available earlier this month in FileMaker Pro 13. But the 50 or so features which 13 does introduce are impressive, welcome, and very well-implemented.
Most significantly, FileMaker Pro 13 further advances your ability seamlessly to present data in full desktop-style data directly on the web. In sophisticated fashion, users can now fully interact with databases in their browsers (forms, effects and gestures etc on mobile devices), make and see updates in real time, manage content and perform automation. Where sharing and publishing data was once limited in scope and ease of use and/or where many FileMaker operations were once limited to the desktop, everything is now also instantly and transparently available on mobile platforms as well as other desktops. FileMaker can now live in your browser too.
There were previously two models for publishing data from FileMaker Pro on the web. Version 13 introduces FileMaker WebDirect. This is a completely new browser-based technology using HTML 5. Data from a database built in (or seamlessly converted to) FileMaker Pro 13 can now be displayed in browsers. So far, Safari and Chrome are certified by FileMaker; but not FireFox. This doesn’t mean that the latter won’t work – just that not every last aspect of functionality is guaranteed; although the use of 100% HTML 5 and CSS technology means this is not a major drawback.
In Filemaker Pro 13 users create a solution intended for the web in the usual way but with browser optimization at the forefront of their minds – probably using this help document until they become more familiar with the process. They may well also use one or more of the customized starter solutions that come with the product. Once the file is hosted on FileMaker Server 13, it really is as simple as accessing everything that you can work on in the FileMaker client in a browser.
As you perform standard operations in FileMaker Pro 13 – from simply adding and editing database fields, through all the usual scripting, to dragging-and-dropping files into container fields (over 40 attributes for which data type can now be returned in the appropriate function), every change is reflected immediately via Server in browser(s) which access it. FileMaker gives clear and useful guidance on the number of concurrent users this infrastructure supports. Although it’s in the hundreds rather than thousands, that’s in accord with the FileMaker user-base and intended market.
The development, editing and control of layouts – the basis of FileMaker Pro interactivity – have been streamlined; they were found nicely improved during the current evaluation. A “field picker”, for instance, uses the HUD model instead of a conventional popup Inspector. Saved changes can now be undone; this assists in reducing the number of backup/milestone versions of files under development.
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