Software

FileMaker 8.5 now Universal, features live Web data

FileMaker on Monday will ship a major upgrade to its database software, FileMaker Pro 8.5. In addition to new features like live Web data, the company will deliver Universal Binaries of the client and server products that boast up to 116 percent speed improvements over their PowerPC predecessors, according to the company.

Among the new features in FileMaker Pro 8.5 is the ability to add a live Web page to a record in your database using the Web Viewer Control. Information specified in the record — such as a customer’s name and address — will drive the URL. Once it is set up in the FileMaker structure the live Web link will be available for all records in the database.

“Filemaker is really more than a place to store data — it’s a place to find and deliver the information,” Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker’s vice president of Marketing and Services, told Macworld.

Using Safari’s Web kit as the structure for the Web Control Viewer, Rosenberg predicted the new feature would be very popular as more information is available on the Internet. Using examples like linking an individual to an Internet street map based on an address or obtaining shipping information based on a tracking number, Rosenberg said easy to use features like this could drive more business to FileMaker.

To make the process easier, FileMaker is including a list of pre-built links and databases as examples of what can be done. Rosenberg said that a quick look at how they are implemented and most people would be able to make their own right away.

Obtaining information over the Web isn’t the only substantial addition to FileMaker Pro 8.5 — the new version will also be Intel native and boast significant speed increases. FileMaker Server is seeing performance increases of 116 percent over its predecessor and FileMaker Pro 8.5 will see a speed boost of 91 percent, according to Rosenberg.

Another new feature of FileMaker Pro 8.5 is the FileMaker Learning Center. The learning center provides free video tutorials, how-to guides and other resources to help people learn the application at their own pace.

There are four versions of FileMaker database applications being released: FileMaker Pro 8.5, FileMaker Pro 8.5 Advanced, FileMaker Server 8.0v4 and FileMaker Server 8.0v4 Advanced.

FileMaker Server is staying at version 8.0 because there are no major changes to that version besides making it Universal Binary for Intel machines, explained Rosenberg.

FileMaker Pro 8.5 is available immediately and costs $299 — upgrades for users of FileMaker Pro 8.0 and FileMaker Pro 8.0 Advanced will be $99. FileMaker Server 8 and FileMaker Server 8 Advanced can get Universal CDs that support Intel-based Macs for $49. Pricing and upgrades for specific versions is available from the company’s Web site.

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