After 20 months of anticipation from the product community, FileMaker Inc. finally unveiled its next-generation platform for business productivity: FileMaker Pro 13. Having worked closely with FileMaker 13 for several months prior to launch, I can tell you there are plenty of improvements to satisfy any level of FileMaker developer or end user. For new FileMaker users, the platform makes it much easier than ever before to create beautiful app-like databases—and it offers some long-awaited features that FileMaker fans won’t be able to live without.
Chief among the more than 50 new features are
The marquee feature of the new FileMaker 13 is a web-sharing technology called WebDirect, which allows you to share your FileMaker database through any HTML/5-compliant browser—with no web development skills required.
Databases accessed via the web use an interface that mirrors the one in FileMaker’s desktop app. Changes made through the web are updated to the FileMaker database in real time, so you can see up-to-date information regardless of the client used to make the updates. This is a very cool way to share your database with users that may not have FileMaker.
FileMaker Go’s app-like design tools
On the mobile device front, I’m excited to report that FileMaker 13 offers additional support for native iOS behaviors, including pop-overs, slide controls, and gesture support. The built-in cameras in the iPhone and iPad can now be used to scan bar codes, and FileMaker Go supports seven different iOS keyboard types, so users are shown the appropriate keyboard based on the type of data being entered.
Shareable themes and editable styles
FileMaker 13 builds upon the new design surface introduced in version 12 and adds major improvements to FileMaker’s design capabilities, including support for shareable custom themes and styles, and the ability to drag and drop data fields onto design layouts.
FileMaker offers over 50 themes, all customizable. To help you give the database a uniform look, FileMaker is introducing styles, which let you change the look of objects all at once. You can create custom styles and use them later. With more options, you’ll spend less time applying the same designs to all your layouts and more time using your database.
New browser-based admin console
A welcome treat for anyone who needs to manage FileMaker Server, FileMaker 13 includes a web-based administrative console that requires no Java and runs natively in any HTML5-compliant browser, providing crisp, clean, and responsive server administration without relying on third-party software.
In my upcoming FileMaker Pro 13 New Features course, I’ll be going into each of these topics in depth, as well as touching on many more new things in FileMaker 13. Speaking as a 20-year FileMaker enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to check out this latest release, especially if need to get your databases into a web browser, or onto an iPhone or iPad.
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