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In-Depth: The New FileMaker 12 Product Line-up

In this In-Depth feature Ryan Rosenberg, Vice President of Marketing and Services, of FileMaker, Inc., talks to Architosh about the new FileMaker 12 database product line-up. The company is pushing to make FileMaker a premier platform for Apple iOS software development

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Instant iOS

Possibly the biggest part of the FileMaker Pro 12 story is the Apple iOS news. In this release, the database software leader is making FileMaker Go 12 for iPad and iPhone absolutely free. “These are very popular products for us,” says Ryan Rosenberg, “and we wanted to make it even easier for customers to create superb software solutions for iPad and iPhone.”

02 - FileMaker Pro 12 adds 5 new chart types to the existing collection, allowing better visualization of your data.

In essence, FileMaker Pro is a powerful software development platform for Apple’s iOS mobile platform and it is helping developers and database users develop mobile apps that are feature rich and capable; and it is much easier to develop on FileMaker than other iOS development tools. “You are not going to develop the next great game for iPad on FileMaker,” says Ryan, “but for business applications that are data rich, FileMaker Pro 12 is a great development platform for Apple’s iOS platforms.”

FileMaker Pro 12 comes with 16 starter solutions with layouts tailored for iPad and iPhone. New features for iOS support include the ability to record video and audio from your Apple mobile devices directly into the database. You can now add files to databases from the mobile device and there is improved multi-tasking including 4-finger Multi-touch swipe support.

03 - A projects database app on the iPad.

03 - A projects database app on the iPhone.

FileMaker Go 12 on your iPad or iPhone is “location” aware, making certain functions like tracking deliveries, projects and more very useful. There is also AirPlay support for video and music streaming. This means multimedia can be streamed directly to mobile devices running FileMaker Go 12. Finally, you can export or email data in Excel, CSV and other formats from FileMaker Go 12 also.

FileMaker Go 12 for either iPad or iPhone (and they are separate apps) is now free on the iTunes store.

Servers and Multimedia Management

The final third part of the FileMaker 12 story concerns superior file and multimedia management. You can now automatically manage and encrypt remote files. Container fields–special database fields for holding files and very media–have been enhanced. You can store documents, photos, video, music and more inside FileMaker Pro 12.

FileMaker Pro 12 will quickly generate thumbnail views of high-resolution images. And you can stream video, music, PDFs and more with FileMaker Server. I was very impressed while watching Eric Jacobson, Sr. Product Manager, show me this feature in real time, especially between desktop and mobile versions of the database app.

FileMaker Server 12 and FileMaker Server 12 Advanced add many new features. The products are now completely 64-bit architecture based. That greatly elevates FileMaker Server’s workgroup and enterprise capability. Data stored in cache can be up to 1 terabyte. There is less disk I/O and a better cache flush algorithm lowers the possibility of file corruption.

There is also faster WAN (wide-area network) performance with far faster value list and portal filtering. The Server version automatically creates remote folder structure for file management of media. This means it will create the file folder directories for the storage of these media files, which are accessed and managed with FileMaker. It will encrypt files, backs them up, and provides downstream streaming immediately and automatically.

During our preview, Eric Jacobson, Sr. Product Manager, showed off just how streaming works by streaming media files to an iPad over a wifi network but it would work over a WAN as well.

On the Web side of things, FileMaker Server 12 has a completely rewritten web publishing engine for greater speed and stability, with now up to 200 concurrent connections. New progressive backups means there is block-level incremental (delta) backups running as a separate process in the operating system. Delta means that it tracks the bits that have changed, bundles and applies them to the baseline backup–rather than backing up the entire database file or files every time.

Also, there is a new Web-based Group Start Page, for Server Advanced only. List all of the databases accessible to your team all on one web page. It is easy to configure, discover, eMail, bookmark or add a link to other web pages.

Finally, if you think all these changes come easy, they don’t. The FileMaker file format has not changed in the past several versions but it will be changing this time. This means you will need server and desktop versions of FileMaker 12 to work together.

Closing Comments

FileMaker has done a wonderful job with this version 12 update. The new design features add even more polish and make iOS database-driven application development even more enticing. Making the mobility products free is a wonderful way to encourage developers and database designers to explore FileMaker 12 if they have not done so already.

FileMaker has keep the pricing points the same as before. FileMaker Pro 12 is 299.USD, FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced (which is the development version) is 499.USD, while FileMaker Server 12 is 999.USD and Server 12 Advanced is 2999.USD. To learn more about FileMaker products for Mac, Windows, and iOS devices go here: www.filemaker.com

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