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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

Several weeks ago Kevin Mallon, Filemaker’s senior public relations manager sent me an email asking me to meet in Boston for a preview of the new (yet to be announced) Filemaker Pro 12. I met with Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker Vice President of Marketing and Services and Eric Jacobson, Sr. Product Manager, to preview the upcoming next major release of FileMaker Pro 12

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Ryan began the presentation giving me a background story–of which I’m mostly familiar–on FileMaker Inc.. Interestingly, this story has taken a new twist as Apple surged to its leadership role worldwide. Years ago FileMaker might not have “play up” that it was owned by Apple, but today it is clearly a message worth telling. Let me recap Ryan’s message.

For a tremendously long time FileMaker Pro has been the best-selling “workgroup” database application on the market. And it’s growth has been accelerating. In the middle of last decade, FileMaker sold about 7 million units. Last year FileMaker sold over 18 million units worldwide marking its biggest accelerated growth year ever.

Who Uses FileMaker

Chances are, as a design or engineering professional, you may have never used FileMaker Pro or a database product like it. But many of you have. It is a leading database in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry and was the number one database used–by a wide margin–by architectural firms as noted in a 2003 industry research report published by Architosh.

70 of  the Fortune 100 use FileMaker. It is used by the 50 largest universities in the United States and has over 4,000 government deployments. FileMaker is deployed by tens of thousands of small business customers worldwide and is available in 15 languages. And let me repeat this other fact mentioned earlier. FileMaker is wholly owned by Apple, the world’s largest company by market capitalization.

The FileMaker 12 Story

So the new FileMaker 12 has three areas of improvement and innovation. The first area is in the area of “design.” With FileMaker Pro 12 you can instantly change the look of your older or current databases with 40 brand new layout themes.

“We’ve made it incredibly easy to update the look of existing databases by simply applying one of the beautiful new themes,” says Ryan Rosenberg, Vice President of Marketing and Services. There isn’t any need necessarily to change the layouts of fields or menus, just apply one of the 40 new themes and graphic improvements are instantly applied to your existing layout.

01 - FileMaker 12 supports sophisticated graphical layout features like image slicing and gradient fills. There is also the easy ability to do rounded rectangle fields and tabs, making your solutions look as polished as any A-shelf application.

Additionally, FileMaker 12 has brand new design capabilities. There are new gradients and borders and new and updated grids and guides. (see image 01) In the past there was an applied T-square like guide which would help you align elements. But the new intelligent guides are more like what you see in Apple’s Keynote app. “We have things like image slicing and object states to help make your database layouts incredibly attractive,” says Ryan Rosenberg. “And we have custom stencils to make it easy to product layouts for the screens of the iPad and iPhone.”

Lastly, FileMaker 12 adds 5 new Quick Charts styles, which will enable additional data visualization. (see image 02 below)

next page: Instant iOS

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