has announced FileMaker Pro 6 database software, a “significant upgrade” that offers easier-than-ever templates and tools, and a virtually limitless ability to gather, manage and share information, according to Dominique Goupil, president of FileMaker Inc. Plus, it offers a Mac OS X only feature.
“In the last two years we’ve shipped about a million units of the product each year,” Goupil MacCentral. “The key to our success is ease of use in a software category not known for ease of use. Version 6 continues that tradition and takes us in three new directions: digital image capture and import; XML import/export; and timesaving features with batch file import, a Format Painter, custom dialogs, and more. Plus, we’re revving the rest of our product line to make sure they work nicely together. There are no file format changes so various versions of FileMaker are totally compatible.”
One new feature of FileMaker Pro 6 is the ability to easily import large numbers of images from a folder into a database and, on Mac OS X only, capture digital images and image-data directly from cameras. Simplifying the steps to add images extends the FileMaker lead in managing multimedia, and enables even more creative databases, according to Chris Trytten, director of product management.
“You just select a folder containing digital image files and all files are imported to a specified field in each record,” he explained. “This offers seamless, quick capturing of digital images directly from your digital camera. You can also bring in metadata or Exif data (aperture, shutter speed, flash on/off, date & time, GPS data, etc.)”
Though FileMaker Pro 6 takes advantage of Mac OS X’s Image Capture feature, there’s not a “tight relationship” between FileMaker and iPhoto. Trytten said that FileMaker Pro is pointed at a market segment where photos are larger part of a database solution, whereas iPhoto is targeted toward more mainstream digital photography use.
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With integrated XML (Extensible Markup Language) import and export, FileMaker Pro 6 will deliver the benefits of “virtually limitless” information exchange, Trytten said. The widespread support of XML standards means FileMaker can integrate and exchange data with many applications, without difficult and expensive methods of converting data between proprietary formats, he added. FileMaker Pro 6 users can, for example, retrieve data from XML-enabled Web applications, import accounting data from QuickBooks, or query corporate databases without using ODBC drivers. And with XML export, FileMaker Pro 6 users can share information with users of other applications; for example, exporting formatted FileMaker data in an e-mail or into Microsoft Excel, or document-authoring applications.
“People use FileMaker Pro to gather, manage, and share data,” Trytten said. “There’s a sea of data out there and with version 6 and its XML import-export implementation, customers can access data they ever could before in easy-to-use ways. This will help with integrating FileMaker Pro in diverse environments.”
FileMaker Pro 6’s XML features are highly flexible. You can import any XML grammar via XSLT. You can gather data from a variety of sources and applications, including the Web, corporate data sources (Oracle, MS SQL Server), a growing list of XML-aware apps (Microsoft Office, SAP), and other FileMaker databases. It also allows for the auto querying of host data without ODBC. No expensive drivers are required, and there’s no installation and configuration. FileMaker Pro 6 offers automated data-exchange and application integration that can be scripted or menu-driven. And there’s workgroup support with a central stylesheet repository
The update offers more than 20 new templates for business, education and home users. And those users, as well as developers of FileMaker databases, will save time and be more creative with new features like format painter, customizable dialogs, improved layout themes, and the ability to sort the database from a field’s context menu, Trytten said.
“One great benefit to the end user is the global find and replace capability,” he explained. “If there’s a repetitive type of change you have to make, this feature lets you do wholesale changes, which will be a big productivity boost. And the out-of-the box functionality is especially important to new users. We’ve redone and extended the number and types of templates, as well as including information on how to customize them.”
FileMaker Pro 6 is available now for a suggested list price of US$299; upgrades are $149. FileMaker Pro 6 shares the same file format as FileMaker Pro 5 and 5.5, so FileMaker Pro 6 solutions work with FileMaker Server 5 and 5.5. The current FileMaker Server software supports FileMaker Pro 5, 5.5 and 6.
FileMaker Pro 6 Unlimited is available now, and enables publishing FileMaker databases to an unlimited number of Web users over a corporate intranet or the Internet. FileMaker Pro 6 Unlimited is available for $999 ($499 upgrade for licensed customers of FileMaker Pro 5 or 5.5 Unlimited). Volume license pricing is available. Licensed customers of FileMaker Pro 5.5 Unlimited may be eligible for a $350 rebate when upgrading through Dec. 31.
FileMaker Developer 6, for creating professional FileMaker solutions, includes the features of FileMaker Pro 6, script debugger, database design report and developer tool. It’s due in September for $499. Licensed customers of earlier versions of FileMaker Developer may be eligible for a $100 rebate. For rebate details, go to the
FileMaker Web site.