FileMaker Resuscitates Database Market with Pro 10

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

With the release of FileMaker Pro 10, FileMaker aims to breathe new life into the relational database market by incorporating Web-centric features and improving ease of use.

There was a time when the PC market was filled with database vendors pitching their various products. Names like Dbase, FoxPro, Paradox and Clarion were all the rage when it came to relational databases, simply because those products helped to legitimize the PC for business use.

Most of those vendors have faded into the past, and custom-developed databases have been replaced by vertical market applications that accomplish to meet most business needs. Even so, there is still opportunity for those looking to create custom databases. That opportunity is fueled by a simple business axiom—"Make the software fit the needs of the business, as opposed to making the business fit the needs of the software." FileMaker champions that axiom with FileMaker Pro 10, the latest entry in the product’s 20-plus-year history.

The product has an interesting fit in the market; it’s designed as a database that an end user can hit the ground running with, yet it features advanced capabilities that move the product into the software development realm. For end users, that means a database can be created by simply importing in a spreadsheet, while software developers can go a bit further and create complex applications for both the Web and the desktop.

For end users familiar with FileMaker, the latest release brings several new features and a new GUI, which makes common tasks more accessible and much easier to use. New features include:

  • 30 updated starter solutions (sample applications, such as contact management)
  • 10 new themes (quickly customize the look and feel of a database)
  • Dynamic reporting (change report parameters on the fly)
  • Script triggering (define events or user actions that automatically execute scripts)
  • SMTP integration (send e-mails directly from the product)
  • Saved finds (save filtered searches for future use)

Developers will also be pleased with some new additions, which include:

  • Enhanced SQL support (Microsoft, Oracle, MySQL, OBDC)
  • SMS enhancements (support for remote deployment)
  • Improved file recovery (consistency checks and recovery logs)
  • Support for IPv6
  • Improved field controls (specify fields based calculations in scripts)

File Maker Pro is available in several versions, starting with FileMaker Pro 10, a $299 package that’s geared toward individual users with basic database needs. The company also offers FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced, which offers additional tools, such as enhanced debugging and scripting, along with custom menus and a run-time engine. That product retails for $499. The company offers a pair of server products that support multiple concurrent users over networks and provide the ability to share databases over networks or even the Web.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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