FileMaker Gets Easier and Broadens Reach

Focusing on both major front-end and back-end renovations, FileMaker yesterday announced the release of FileMaker Pro 9, a popular small and mid-sized business database for Windows and Mac operating systems.

“It’s the biggest release in nine years,” said Ryan Rosenberg, vice President of marketing and services at FileMaker. The new version focuses on making FileMaker easier to use and on connecting to a broader world of data, he said.

FileMaker Pro 9
The new Quick Start Screen is designed to help you conquer the often complex world of databases.

FileMaker Pro 9
Using Conditional Formatting, you can set the way a field or object is displayed based on parameters that you decide. FileMaker Pro 9 comes with 20 predefined conditions or create your own.

FileMaker Pro 9
Connectivity to popular SQL databases means you can build relationships between FileMaker Pro 9 and external data sources.

The new FileMaker 9 product line, which includes FileMaker Pro 9, FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced, FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced, features more than 30 ease-of-use enhancements. The goal, he said, is to simplify creating, automating, sharing and reporting from databases.

To help new users get — and stay — up to speed, FileMaker Pro 9 now includes a Quick Start screen, which is designed to remember your favorites and provide access to the new videos in the FileMaker Learning Center; provide a one-click process to send an e-mail with a hyperlink so you share a database with other FileMaker Pro users; offer the capability to consolidate multiple data reports into a single PDF file; provide conditional formatting to highlight data based on parameters the you set; and offer the capability to e-mail a link to other FileMaker users, which they can click to instantly access your database.

Another major concentration in FileMaker Pro 9 is the capability to tap to larger pools of information by connecting to company and Web data that resides in SQL databases. That is, you can access live Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL data as if it were FileMaker-based data. For example, the company says that new FileMaker Pro 9 tools let you safely and securely create custom reports, add calculations and other fields, and even build relationships with existing FileMaker data.

For those at your business responsible for database design, new features in FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced that are designed to provide faster and easier ways to create advanced and customized databases. For example, enhanced database design report and file maintenance tools were added to make it easier to modify and maintain databases.

A new script debugger and data viewer is designed to identify and correct script errors earlier in the design process. And a PHP site assistant link is designed to provide a one-click launch of the PHP Site Assistant included in FileMaker Server 9.

The new Server 9 products, which are built to allow workgroups to share databases over the network and the Web, come with a new Admin Console, so FileMaker Pro users can easily set up and administer Server software.

FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced, Rosenberg said, now feature one-click integration with the Web using PHP. With FileMaker Server 9, Rosenberg said, you can generate a fully working PHP Web site using FileMaker data without writing code in 20 minutes.

FileMaker Pro 9 and FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced cost $299 and $499, respectively. FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced cost $999 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced is $2,499, respectively. Upgrading pricing is also available.

Dan Muse is executive editor of’s Small Business Channel, EarthWeb’s Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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