Review: FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced

Debug FileMaker scripts, reports, and designs more easily. (February 28th, 2008)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: FileMaker, Inc.

Price: $499 US

The Good

  • Comprehensive features. Very stable. Robust troubleshooting tools. Extensive support. Cross-platform. Easy to customize. Established developer community.

The Bad

  • Interface has not kept up with recent developments in the OS X interface.

FileMaker, Inc. released two versions of its premiere database product, FileMaker Pro 9 and FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced; or four if you count the two corresponding Server editions, FileMaker Pro 9 Server and FileMaker Pro 9 Server Advanced. Users who regularly need to modify or customize FileMaker databases as well as administer them will be most interested in the Advanced version. Its advantages fall into four broad categories:

Customization: You can permanently change Menus and toolbars by renaming, adding, or deleting menu items. You can also replace Menus with ones of your own creation. On updating a menu its toolbar icons, context menus, window options, and keyboard shortcuts are updated automatically.

filemaker Scriptscreen


FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced Design Screen


Scripting: The Script Debugger is more powerful than before in setting, tracking and managing breakpoints and current values. It also offer greater flexibility in which scripts or portions of scripts are executed and how. There are also direct links to the relevant documentation.

filemaker Scriptscreen


FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced Locate Scripts Screen


Reporting: FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced makes it easier to present documentation of a database's construction. This extends to script groups, tables in external SQL databases and to the new functions introduced in this version. You can design custom functions and add tool tips to fields or layout objects. Reports can now provide much more comprehensive information on schemas, options, relations, and other database design elements.

PHP Site Assistant: PHP is more widely used as a server-side scripting language for the generation of dynamic web pages. The PHP Site Assistant in FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced makes this easy once you have some experience with PHP.

In database development, FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced allows you to import multiple tables simultaneously and use copy and paste to move fields and tables in or across files. There are also better file maintenance tools that maximize database performance.

What's more, FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced supports the creation of standalone runtime applications that do not require FileMaker Pro to be present. This includes a Kiosk version, which has numerous applications that up to now were difficult or impossible to implement.

In conclusion, FileMaker Pro 9 has managed to offer the very best of both worlds. It offers real power, scalability and robustness alongside approachability, a clean and usable interface. It has many useful features designed to adapt the product's use to your circumstances while retaining consistency with both earlier and Windows versions and with desktop environment in which you are likely to use it. I recommend it unreservedly.

Related Product Reviews:
FileMaker Pro 9



Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Mark Sealey



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