FileMaker Resuscitates Database Market with Pro 10

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databases have been replaced by vertical market applications that accomplish to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.

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