Back in 1985, a graphical flat-file database application made its debut on the fledgling Macintosh platform and really rocked the world. Suddenly it was possible for anyone to create easy-to-use, point-and-click database solutions, so the app took off. It was called FileMaker, and soon became a necessary purchase for any and all businesses that were using the Mac. Fast-forward to 2015, and the company that makes FileMaker is 30 years old, a subsidiary of Apple, and has just released the newest version of the platform, FileMaker Pro 14.
When it first launched, FileMaker was a single-user flat-file database system. Despite that limitation, it was popular for a number of use cases and really took off. Today, FileMaker has millions of users, a vibrant user community, a Business Alliance with more than 1,200 member businesses that support and develop with FileMaker Pro, and a Made for FileMaker site where hundreds of third-party solutions developed with FileMaker can be purchases. The single app has grown into a powerful and programmable relational database management system with a server front-end for workgroups, an iOS app known as FileMaker Go, and a tool called FileMaker WebDirect to create web-centric solutions.
All of the components of FIleMaker Pro have been updated in FileMaker Pro 14. The tool lets users and developers create business processes that are accessible from web browsers, desktop computers (both Windows and Mac), and mobile devices. The FileMaker Go 14 app now has a new interface allowing screen orientation locking, providing enhanced signature capture, and control of audio and video playback. FileMaker Pro 14 and FileMaker Pro 14 Advanced provide design tools that can be used by both casual users and professional developers to create business processes that run on all devices, even if they’ve never designed a solution previously. The same interactivity that’s available on the desktop app also shows up in desktop and tablet web browsers thanks to the improved FileMaker WebDirect.
The company has also added a new Launch Center that provides an app-like user interface complete with colorful icons. Users can organize solutions, personalize the look, and launch solutions with a click or tap. Launch Center is cross-platform, running on FileMaker Pro 14 on Mac and Windows, FileMaker Go on iPad and iPhone, and in web browsers through WebDirect.
We’ll have a full hands-on review of FileMaker Pro 14 and Go 14 soon.