Tuesday, 15 May 2018 23:01

FileMaker 17 makes all users Advanced Featured

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The latest release of FileMaker is here. FileMaker 17 provides master-detail layouts, six new starter apps, and other new features.

A notable change in FileMaker 17 is that FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced have been collapsed into a single product, FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced.

This means all users get the entire feature set, director of platform engineering Andy Lecates told iTWire, although developers can control the availability of the advanced tools to end-users when they deploy FileMaker Pro Advanced.

The new starter apps provide — not surprisingly — starting points for various purposes. They are simple enough for users to learn from, said Lecates, but they can be extended without the need to understand relational schemas thanks to the new add-on tables functionality.

Senior consulting engineer Ronnie Rios described how the Meetings starter app could be modified to track files relevant to a meeting. This involves adding a tab to the layout, and using Portal Setup to add an add-on table to the app, picking 'attachments' from the list of types. Then users can simply drag and drop files onto the meeting records, and FileMaker takes care of the relationships without them having to be made explicit.

Master-detail layouts make it easy to create apps that use this common interface style (pictured above) that's especially suitable for iPads. For example, a staff directory might present a list of departments down the left of the screen, and selecting a department displays in the rest of the screen a list of the employees in that department.

Rios said this too was achieved via the Portal Setup command, but this time by selecting the required list of records.

"We've got a very powerful engine that allows us to do this," said Lecates.

The FileMaker Data API is no longer a trial feature. This REST API provides a way for other applications (eg, analytics programs such as Tableau) to access FileMaker data, as well as creating, updating or deleting FileMaker records. Changes in version 17 include support for scripts and uploading files into container fields.

Security improvements include protection from brute force or dictionary attacks by temporarily locking accounts after a few failed sign-in attempts.

FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced requires macOS Sierra 10.12 or later, or Windows 10 (Pro or Enterprise, with the Fall Creators Update), Windows 8.1 (Standard or Pro), or Windows 7 SP1 (Professional or Ultimate).

FileMaker Server 17 features a new admin console, as well as support for other FileMaker 17 features.

FIleMaker Server 17 requires macOS Sierra 10.12 or later, or Windows Server 2016 Standard (with Desktop Experience) or Windows Server 2012 R2 (with the KB2919355 update).

FileMaker Go now provides generalised support for device sensors (including location, air pressure, rotation rate, acceleration, speed, heading and step count), as well as locally-generated notifications (eg, "Approaching site - do you want to start monitoring?") even when FileMaker Go is in the background or not running. FileMaker Go also supports dragging-and-dropping text, photos and files.

FileMaker Go 17 requires iOS 11.2 or later.

FileMaker 17 2 560

FileMaker Cloud will be updated "in the coming weeks" to support FileMaker 17 features, but only FileMaker 17 clients will be compatible with FileMaker Cloud 1.17.

One of the aims of FileMaker 17 is to let developers "build better stuff faster", said Lecates.

The prices of the various FileMaker 17 products were not available at the time of writing, but can be found here.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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