Back in the day, there were four essential apps every computer user installed to their computer; a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation/graphics, and a database. The idea was that when one of the first three programs couldn't do a job, you could knock up something simple in the database app to fit a particular business need. But, over the years, many of those niches were filled with commercial applications and the database applications we created became more complex. Over that time, FileMaker evolved to help people create increasingly complex business apps. Now at Version 17, the FileMaker software family simplifies the process of creating complex apps that are ready for the mobile world.
FileMaker 17 is now available and it continues to make app creation more accessible. Out of the box, it includes two sets of template apps. There are sample apps that are fully functional and include lots of programming logic and other smarts. But if you're getting started with app and database development, the starter apps are simpler and provide an easier entry point as you learn about customisation and features within the software.
For example, taking the Meetings starter app, it was easy to add a section for file attachments. By adding a tab to the screen, which is a simple process, the software automatically creates the required extra database tables, primary and foreign key relationships and other backend elements that would typically have to be programmed by hand.
It also supports data sharing and collection through various APIs and can access data from external sensors such as GPS (so you can geofence applications or collect location data), iBeacons and gyroscopes or barometric sensors.
One significant difference from previous releases is that the Filemaker Pro application has been ditched from the Apple subsidiary's lineup. It's been consolidated into the FileMaker Pro Advanced application so there's now one version of the desktop software for mac OS and Windows users. That complements FileMaker Go for iOS devices, and the Server, Web and Cloud programs.
The Cloud version is hosted on AWS with the company confirming that Australian users will have their data hosted in the Sydney AWS region.
If you're keen to try it out, there's a free trial. Pricing starts at $792 for a perpetual license although upgrades FileMaker 14 or later are $290.40. Monthly subscriptions start at $22 per user per month for five to nine users, with the price reducing through various tiers to $15 per user per month for up to 99 users. If you need more than 100 licenses, then you need to call and negotiate.
Filemaker Cloud can be purchased from the AWS Marketplace.