updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed April 4, 2012
Suite places extra emphasis on iOS
Apple-owned FileMaker has released a new set of database offerings, beginning with the flagship FileMaker Pro 12. The software brings a variety of changes, many of them with an iOS focus. It for instance includes 16 new Starter Solutions, which also have iPad- and iPhone-optimized screens; among 40 new themes are ones that are specially designed with iOS formatting in mind. When customizing a database, iOS screen stencils can be used.
More general FileMaker 12 improvements include new design tools, such as gradients, image slicing, dynamic alignment guides, and configurable grids. Quick Charts can be used to create fast graphs, and there are five new chart styles: bubble, scatter, positive/negative, stacked bar, and stacked column. New container fields let users drag-and-drop to store files such as photos, video, audio, PDFs and other documents; files can be stored in a database or linked, and the software will automatically organize files and optionally encrypt them.
Also in the upgraded offerings are FileMaker Server 12 and Server 12 Advanced. Both are 64-bit apps, and can access more memory, which should help with larger databases. WAN performance has been improved, and an overhauled web publishing engine is said to have better speed and stability when integrating custom webpages with databases. Backups can now be progressive.
The two FileMaker Go apps for the iPad and the iPhone have been updated as well. Both now support proper multitasking, allowing the apps to resume after switching back from another app. Audio and video can be recorded directly to a container field, with matching native media playback. When connecting to a Server 12 database, media can be streamed. Export options have been expanded to include Excel, CSV, TAB, and HTML.
FileMaker Pro 12 is $299 new, or $179 as an upgrade. Respective Pro 12 Advanced prices are $499/$299, while Server 12 and Server 12 Advanced come in at $999/$599 and $2,999/$1,799. The FileMaker Go apps are each free downloads, but are meant to hook into FileMaker Pro databases.