First Look: FileMaker 13

FileMaker Launches FileMaker 13

Apple subsidiary FileMaker upgraded its namesake family of database solutions to FileMaker 13 this month. The new version continues FileMaker's efforts to extend the product's reach to the Web and mobile devices, whether or not FileMaker is running on the client. The upgrades include enhanced security and developer options, while maintaining the product's ease of use for everyday functions.

Web Direct

Web Direct, FileMaker 13's most innovative new feature, creates HTML5 compatible Web browser layouts from standard desktop FileMaker layout tools, enabling quick deployment of solutions to the Web, without requiring FileMaker on the client end (connection licensing applies).

FileMaker Senior Product Manager Eric Jacobson, who demonstrated the solution in CRN's offices, described it as a "breakthrough technology, and the easiest way to build rich, dynamic custom solutions" for the Web.

With Web Direct, databases provide real-time updates in both directions between web browsers and the central database. Web Direct requires the FileMaker Server version of the product.

Layout Tools

FileMaker 13 includes a number of enhancements to its data input, management and reporting layout tools. With the included Themes, users are able to quickly produce of professional looking layouts, and developers and resellers can customize the themes for individual clients. Themes specifically designed for mobile solutions include iPad- and iPhone-specific layouts, as well as support for responsive layouts that support client window size and orientation changes.

Administration And Management

On the management side, enhanced database structure reporting aids in development and troubleshooting of complex solutions. In addition, Jacobson touted FileMaker's suitability in virtualized environments.

New security features in the Advanced and Server versions include end-to-end database and communications encryption with 256-bit AES.

Developer tool enhancements in FileMaker 13 include improvements to the script debugger tools and new administration tools for the server component, including remote server admin access over TCP/IP.

Via ODBC and JDBC, FileMaker can connect to other databases. With its robust charting and reporting capabilities, it can also function as a front-end suite for other enterprise databases.

FileMaker Go

FileMaker's free iPad app, FileMaker Go, can load databases locally or over the net. CRN had no trouble hosting databases wirelessly from FileMaker Advanced on Windows 7, which were immediately recognized and opened in Go on an iPad. New Go enhancements include bar code scanning and support for mobile keyboard types, including telephone, URL, and numeric-specific keypads.

Find A Solution Provider? Yes, It Can

CRN's favorite menu item in FileMaker -- located right on the help menu -- continues to be the option for Consultants and Solutions, where FileMaker provides access to its directory of solution provider partners. The FileMaker Business Alliance includes over 1,000 registered partner firms, and its Developer Network program includes over 50,000 individual developers.

Starter Solutions

FileMaker 13 ships with 16 customizable starter solutions including databases for Contacts, Event Management, Inventory, Invoicing, Expenses, Projects and Time Billing, among others. On the design side, over 50 different themes are available. Developers can also create runtime solutions for customers that provide database functionality without requiring customers to purchase FileMaker clients.

Update Your Records

Available now for Mac OSX and Windows, FileMaker starts at $329 for the basic desktop package; and $549 for the Advanced suite, which comes with encryption, runtime, and additional database management tools. The Server version starts at $1,044, with additional charges for concurrent connections and an unlimited connection option. FileMaker Web Direct supports up to 50 concurrent connections, according to the company. Annual licensing options are also available, beginning at $9 a month for the desktop FileMaker and $29 a month for the Server version.