Filemaker 9 focuses on ease of use

Filemaker 9 was unveiled on Tuesday in what the company called its most dramatic offering in years. As with other recent Filemaker releases, version 9 focused on making tasks easier to do for customers — a hallmark of the company’s client and server software.

“Filemaker has always been about ease of use and Filemaker 9 is no different,” Jon Sigler, FileMaker vice president of product management, told Macworld. “Our goal was 20 minutes or less for a knowledge worker to be able to setup the server from start to finish.”

Among the new features in Filemaker 9 is a Quick Start screen for new users; Conditional Formatting, which highlights data based on parameters the user sets; and the ability to email a link to other FileMaker users, which they can click to access your database.

Filemaker Server 9 customers will enjoy some significant changes in the latest release, as well. A PHP Site Assistant will help users build a Web site from two to eight pages, all in a wizard-like format, easing the burden of trying to build the site manually.

The server version has also undergone what Filemaker characterizes as the “most significant redesign of the server interface ever.”

Filemaker now has the ability to connect to data stored in external SQL data sources including MySQL, Oracle SQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

“This is probably the biggest one we’ve ever had,” said Sigler.

All FileMaker 9 products are immediately available. For New users FileMaker Pro 9 costs $299 and FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced costs $499. Existing users of FileMaker Pro 7, 8 and 8.5 can upgrade to FileMaker Pro 9 for $179. Existing users of FileMaker Developer 7, FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced and 8.5 Advanced, and FileMaker Pro 7, 8, 8.5 and 9 can upgrade to FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced for $299.

FileMaker Server 9 costs $999 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced costs $2,499. Existing users of FileMaker Server 7 and 8 can upgrade to FileMaker Server 9 for $599. Existing users of FileMaker Server 7 Advanced and 8 Advanced can upgrade to FileMaker Server 9 Advanced for $1,499.

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