FileMaker Targets iPad, iPhone Solutions With Latest Update

FileMaker 12, available Wednesday, offers new layout functionality and ready-to-go templates to aid in quick development of databases tailored to work across the spectrum of IOS devices, as well as on the Web, and on Mac and Windows PCs.

Filemakers' Eric Jacobson, senior product manager, and Ryan Rosenberg, vive president of Marketing & Services, demonstrated the product's new capabilities during a visit to CRN's Manhasset, N.Y. office in March.

With FileMaker's new themes, database authors and administrators can quickly add layouts with the look and feel of native iPad and iPhone apps to existing databases, while continuing to provide the ease of use FileMaker is known for. In addition, the update provides enhanced handling of graphics and videos, including the auto-generation of resized graphics and thumbnails on the fly, along with improved charting tools and secure handling of external data sources.

In one major change that potential users will need to evaluate, the FileMaker file format, unchanged since version 7, is updating. Legacy databases can be upgraded to the new format, but older FileMaker versions will not be able to access FileMaker 12 files, according to Jacobson.

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To further promote FileMaker solutions on mobile devices, FileMaker is eliminating the price on FileMaker Go, their iPhone/iPad runtime app, available in Apple's App Store. Go provides users with the ability to access FileMaker server data without purchasing an individual FileMaker solution. (The FileMaker Go paid app will continue to be available to support earlier database versions.)

FileMaker's Server line adds new data organization and encryption features and a 64-bit architecture for improved performance, along with an enhanced Web publishing engine to support an unlimited number of Web connections (depending on hardware).

FileMaker's partner community, the FileMaker Business alliance, includes over 1,200 consultants and integrators. Their free Technical Network offers tools and support to over 20,000 individual developers.

Pricing for the FileMaker 12 family remains the same. Standard FileMaker retails for $299, with workgroup sharing capabilities of up to 9 concurrent users; FileMaker Advanced, with added customization and reporting, is $499; and the Standard and Advanced Server versions are $999 and $2999. For all the products, significant upgrade discounts are available.