By Craig Saunders, 2 February 2015
At the end of last year FileMaker Inc announced the end of support for FileMaker 11 - that doesn't mean it will stop working, but it does mean they will no longer be doing updates such as bug fixes, compatibility and security patches.
So maybe now is the time to make the leap?
Moving up from FileMaker 11 is pretty simple despite the fact that under the hood the changes in FileMaker itself are huge. Databases convert very simply and quickly.
The big change in FileMaker 12 was the layout 'engine' - that is the underlying way that FileMaker draws screens and reports are changed - in fact it is now based on CSS, the same standardised technology that the web uses. As a result when you upgrade you might see one or two small rendering issues - some objects on layouts might appear slightly different in size or positioning - generally not a problem and easily fixed if need be.
FileMaker 13 is the current version, and you can upgrade directly to it from 11 (or even earlier versions). FM13 builds upon the FileMaker 12 changes - it's faster and better again. It also adds some nice new user interface controls such as pop-overs and slides. They also added WebDirect in FM13 which provides a relatively quick way to make your database accessible in a web browser.
The biggest downside to FileMaker 13 is the introduction of connection licenses - FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect use these. You need to purchase concurrent licences for both, which essentially is how many people you think will be accessing the database at any given time i.e. you might have 100 users in total, but only 20 of these are expected to be accessing the database at one time, meaning you purchase 20 concurrent licences.
On the plus side, FileMaker is getting faster over the internet and more web savvy with each version - this means FileMaker are staying current especially if you are using publishing to web or connecting over the internet i.e. cloud based hosting.
As always, we at Digital Fusion always recommend using the annual licencing option given by FileMaker. The main reason behind this is the ability to upgrade free of charge to the latest version of FM.