By Craig Saunders, 4 December 2013
Wahoo! A new release of the venerable database platform, FileMaker, is out today.
For software developers a new release of one our main tools of the trade is like Christmas... and look at that it *is* December already.
With a new version like this we get some all new superpowers to make our solutions more impressive, faster, and of course, better looking. There are some really important things too, like security, encryption, and new server admin tools with graphs showing how many bits are bobbing around between the clouds, the people, and all those 'mobile devices'.
Well, if you're a business owner or manager or someone just trying to make life better with some decent 'systems' then FileMaker 13 brings some major new possibilities for you, especially with WebDirect and a lot of enhancements to the mobile version, FileMaker Go.
So here we go with a bit of a run down on the highlights:
I reckon there are 2 ways to look at it:
You can think of WebDirect as a way to access FileMaker solutions from a web browser. Yes, that means you don't have to license and install the FileMaker application on everyone's computer!
WebDirect used this way is ideal for people who don't need to work within a FileMaker system all day, every day. The FileMaker Pro application is still more powerful and does some things a lot better, like printing and producing PDFs. But for occasional users or people who only need to do a few specific things in the database, then this is an easier way to get them onto it.
You can think of WebDirect as a low cost way to provide a 'web app' for people outside your organisation, say your clients or contractors, to interact with you.
Whichever way you look at it, WebDirect is revolutionary and there's honestly very little, if anything, out there that's comparable.
FileMaker 13 brings quite a few new ways to make better looking and easier to use screens. Behind the scenes we've got a lot more control over how things look and behave too, with styles, customisable themes, and visibility control (so we can hide the sh*t you don't need right now).
More obviously though are the two new types of control: Pop-overs and Slides... these are very web like and add to that 'liveliness' feeling when you're using a system.
Pop-overs bring up more information or options without having to open a new window or dialog box. They help keep things uncluttered while having more detailed information or additional options easy to access without going to a different screen or new window.
Slides come from the mobile world, and in FileMaker Go (the iPhone and iPad version of FileMaker), they work by swiping left and right to move between slide panels. Slides help you access more information or move to the next step, without having to leave the screen you're on.
You might also be interested to know how FileMaker Inc intend to make money from this if you can use a FileMaker solution from a free web browser now?
Sadly although owned by Apple, which has more money than God, FileMaker Inc. is required to keep its head above water all by itself, so there's a new licensing system:
Basically, to connect the free clients (WebDirect and FileMaker Go) you'll need some concurrent connection licenses for your FileMaker Server. The more you have, the more WebDirect and FileMaker Go licenses you can have on the system at any one time.
Well, we'll be going more in depth in our FileMaker blog to look into the new stuff, and how to use but I will also add that there's a lot you don't see like speed improvements in both Server and FileMaker Go, and ongoing development of things like the backup process, SQL engine and 64-bit capabilities.
In fact one thing to note is that because of changes to the SQL in FileMaker we're releasing an update to our Reactor plugin (that does Calendars, Gantt charts etc) in the next few days?so keep an eye on that over at Fusion Plugins
We're rapt to see the FileMaker platform embracing the web and mobile spaces even more, and as always maintaining its place as one of the fastest and most robust ways to build database solutions there is.
Drop us a line or fire questions at us via this blog and we're more than happy to fill you in on the finer points.