May 21, 2009
FileMaker Pro: Version by Version
Guide to FileMaker Upgrades. When it comes down to it, this page is mostly about what you get in the various versions of FileMaker released since FileMaker 5 in the 90's. Every time a new version of FileMaker comes out, I update this page and tell you what's new. If you aren't already a Filemaker fanatic, there are a couple quick things you should know:
FileMaker 7 was a huge rewrite of FileMaker that rearranged the plumbing quite a bit. FileMaker 7 was upgraded in really significant ways and FileMaker 8, 9 and now 10 have capitalized on 7's potential. Since FileMaker 7 and above has so many changes, you may need to prepare and modify your FileMaker 3, 4, 5 or 6-based databases to get them to run smoothly on FileMaker 10. Don't assume you can just open your old files in FileMaker 10 and everything will work perfectly. Instead, try it and then test your converted files to see if everything is still working as expected. A free trial version of FileMaker 10 is available from the filemaker.com website.
More than 1/2 of the goodies in FileMaker upgrades are only available when you use them. Upgrading to FileMaker 10 won't transform your database beyond recognition. What you will get out of the box are some new features here and there. If you aren't going to take advantage of the new features, you should double-check to make sure the upgrade is worth your while.
We Highly Recommend FileMaker Maintenance. FileMaker Inc.'s maintenance program lets you pay a low annual fee to get all of their upgrades. What's cool about maintenance is that you can budget for it. It helps FileMaker budget, so they incent you with lower prices. What we like is that it means you are committed to take advantage of what FileMaker is capable of in your business. This is a commitment to keeping your mission-critical FileMaker databases current and cutting edge. Every time you let a FileMaker upgrade go by, you handicap your FileMaker users and experts. Every release of FileMaker includes major tools and enhancements that make your users more productive and your database more efficient and powerful.
FileMaker Fever. We've been writing about FileMaker 10 on Janet's FileMaker Fever blog. Please keep an eye on it (subscribe to the RSS feed or drop by regularly). If you are a prospective or current Studio Manager customer, don't miss Janet's Studio Manager Bulletin blog as well.
May 21, 2009
Should You Upgrade to FileMaker Pro 10?
Emphatically yes! FileMaker 10 is superb. It has many features that an end-user can benefit from without bringing in a FileMaker expert. You can check out FileMaker's What's New in FileMaker 10 page and even better is their FileMaker 10 Video Tutorials Page.
FileMaker 6 Users. 5 upgrades. A whole new world of possibility, functionality and ease awaits you. If you have a complex FileMaker system developed in FileMaker 6 or earlier, there may be extra work involved to get your old database running perfectly on FileMaker 10. FileMaker 7 was almost a complete rewrite on the inside. The best bet would be to open your files in FileMaker 10 and then test to see if everything works. If a few things don't work, see your local consultant for an estimate.
FileMaker 7 Users. 4 upgrades. I highly recommend that you upgrade to FileMaker 10. It's an enormous upgrade.
FileMaker 8 Users. 3 upgrades. Go for it. You'll get native tabs that will give you much greater facility with less effort in formatting your entry screens. Conditional formatting will color-code any database dynamically to draw your attention to urgent matters. You'll get the ability to save Finds, persistent Sorts and a customizable toolbar for each user.
FileMaker 8.5 Users. 2 upgrades including conditional formatting and better backup verification in FM9 plus saved Finds, persistent sorts, quick reporting in browse mode and a much more powerful and granular File Recover capability to ensure the safety of your data.
FileMaker 9 Users. FileMaker Inc. has given even FileMaker Pro 9 users a lot of good reasons to upgrade once again (that's why I highly recommend you become a Maintenance customer). The new extremely powerful Recover command is something you'll want when that rainy day hits. Or how about saved Finds for each user plus persistent sorting everywhere! Or the new customizable toolbar so your favorite commands are at the ready?
Version Comparison Chart Available. FileMaker has made a great little chart showing all the features added over time to FileMaker going all the way from FileMaker Pro version 4 released in 1997 through to version 9 released in July. Control or right click to download the pdf.
July 31, 2007
Ten Reasons to Upgrade to FileMaker Pro 9 from 8.5
January 20, 2007
What Was New in FileMaker 8.5
What we didn't say about FileMaker 9. The following are additional features you will get in FileMaker 9 that came out in FileMaker 8.5. Now that FileMaker 9 is out, you will want to upgrade all the way to 9 as 8.5 was just a stop along the way.
4 Reasons to Upgrade FileMaker Pro 8.5
- Web Viewer. Now you can access web pages and specific web information right inside your filemaker database. For example, you can show a google map of your customer, prospect and vendor contacts as you flip through their contact records. Very cool. Also, you can do a little bit of specifying to get specific information from websites like Amazon or FedEx. FileMaker includes several of these bits of code for you and they are editable as text.
- Universal Provides a Big Speed Bump. You are going to want FileMaker 8.5 for your Intel Mac. The speed improvement is extreme. FileMaker zips like you've never seen it before.
- Object Functions and Scripts. FileMaker 8.5 lets you assign names to fields, tabs and other layout objects. Once named, new script capabilities let you execute different script functionality depending on which tabs or fields are active. You need this extra functionality to take full advantage of FileMaker 8's new tab controls.
- You Need it to Run Studio Manager 8. Studio Manager 8 uses tab controls to the extreme and needs FileMaker 8.5's extra features to do so.
October 27, 2005
FileMaker 8 Advanced is Fantastic
FileMaker 8 puts spit and polish and lots of great new features on top of the excellent, robust foundation of FileMaker 7. FileMaker 7 provides a huge canvas on which FileMaker Inc. could express itself. And they did.
FileMaker 8 Advanced is worth having in just about every shop. If you have one copy of FileMaker 8, make it 8 Advanced. Even if you aren't technically advanced, you could have a FileMaker expert walk you through implementing all sorts of good things over the phone. Here's a few of the reasons to upgrade from 5, 6 or 7.
10 Reasons to Love FileMaker Pro 8
- Clairvoyance. Look out Quicken, we can fill in the blanks with the best of them now.
- Drop-down lists with arrows. This gives you the user the best of both worlds. You can use a menu or just type freely relying upon clairvoyance to fill in the rest. There are no better, easier-to-use drop-down lists than these and you can implement then by clicking a single checkbox.
- Tab Controls. Now you can give yourself a self-sufficient little tabbed area on your screen in 30 seconds. Draw a rectangle on the screen. Type the names of the tabs and you are done. And you can make them look good too. Don't just take the default style.
- Custom Menus.Just give yourself and your staff the exact menus you want. Take some off the list instead of having to have them all on or all off. How binary of them. Now you get to pick and choose. Take off some of the scary commands for your more casual users. Give yourself some of your very own keyboard equivalents finally. You can even customize the famous Cmd-F Find command to run exactly how you want it to. It's scriptable.
- Importing Tables. Tired of having to manage and work with 10 or more files every time you want to do the simplest things with your database? In 8 Advanced, you can import all the secondary tables or just all the tables into a single file. Think of how easy backup gets.
- Write to Excel Directly. You could already open Excel files directly. Now you can write data in Excel format. No hassle.
- Calendar Date Picker. Another one of those just click a checkbox options for any date field. Double-click the field. Select Calendar Drop-down. Done. But check the icon checkbox too just to make it even sexier.
- Send Mail. You can send emails to a group of select people in your database on the fly. Choose Send Mail and fill in the boxes with data from your database or your own typed in message and subject and click OK. That creates emails in your email program and then actually sends them out for you - with attachments, cc and bcc.
- Instant Finds and Sorts.FileMaker Inc. took the gloves off in delivering even more ease of use than before. They questioned everything and looked under every rock and came up with Find Matching Records and a Sort dialog that defaults to only showing you a list of fields on the current layout, not ALL the fields in the whole database. The instant find is accessible by control- or right-clicking into a field. You get the option of finding every record with the contents of your current record. Click into the San Francisco in the city field and choose Find Matching Records. Done. Or keep going with all sorts of other instant finds.
March 10, 2004
FileMaker 7 Rocks the House
We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto. FileMaker 7 is a horse of a different color. It is magnificent and bold. It is powerful beyond measure. It looks good and feels like our tried and true FileMaker we are used to. And, it's going to take a good 12 months to learn its secrets. Meanwhile, those of us who live, eat and breathe FileMaker, will straddle the fence between FileMaker Pro 5 and 6 and 7. We, at Tokerud Consulting Group, are studying the tutorials, white papers and technical briefings and have attended a day of training at FileMaker Inc. We've tried converting a couple applications with mixed results - which is to be expected.
We are as excited as all get out, but are going slowly because any existing relational application will probably need special extra work before and after conversion to get it to work correctly. And, if you want to take advantage of all of FM7's tricks, you'll probably need to be building from scratch or swap old sections for new sections over time. Give us a few days, and we will have much more to say about this new wonder.
10 Reasons to Love FileMaker Pro 7
- Stores any raw data file in a container field including Word, Excel, pdf, you name it.
- Scripts and calculations can style and color text.
- You can create a full-featured password and privileges security scheme with much less effort.
- You can filter portals by date, time, and other criteria.
- Relationships can be created much more quickly (1/10th the time).
- You can open multiple windows for a single file so you can see a single record and a list at the same time or compare two different records side by side.
- You can exactly control the size and placement of windows.
- It's fully multi-tasking. You can be running a report in one window while you do a Find or data entry in another window.
- Portals can be split into segments: rows 1-3 here and 4-6 there etc. giving you much more flexibility in how you display information on the screen or in a report.
- Much more powerful, easy and FileMaker-like web publishing.
August 15, 2002
FileMaker Pro Developer 6.04
If you are a FileMaker developer of any kind, this product is well worth the cost for three major reasons.
1) Developer gives you a powerful database documentation tool that will help you see all the elements of your databases and how they interrelate. It makes it easier to find your mistakes and is a great tool to help you clean up old stuff you don't use anymore (all those old layouts, remember?).
2) It also includes a tool that can create run-time FileMaker databases. They are single-user, so are great for certain types of applications but they won't run your whole shop so don't get any ideas...
3) The developer tool lets you change file names in multi-file databases and automatically changes all of the script and relationship references to go with the new name.
Any serious developer should at least have the FMP Dev 5.5 program if not FMP Dev 6.0. Paid up members of the FileMaker Solutions Alliance now get the latest version of FileMaker Developer with their membership.
July 12, 2002
7 Reasons to Upgrade to FMP 6
Another strong upgrade from FileMaker Inc. Here's what I like in FileMaker 6 that makes me hate to use FileMaker Pro 5.5:
1. Customizable dialogs. Up until now, you could only create a dialog with three buttons on it. You couldn't prompt for free-form data. Now you can stop creating extra layouts every time you need to prompt for non-multiple-choice data. This is a big timesaver and makes the database less complex - always a good thing.
2. Another feature of customizable dialogs... you can now use field information in the dialog text. For example, the dialog could show the company name the user is reporting on when it asks the user to select particular report options - this way the user doesn't forget where he or she is.
3. Global Find and Replace. Now you are not limited to finding in one field at a time. You can a particular word or name in all fields or a limited set of fields.
4. Another thrill for FileMaker old-timers. You can find within a find. So you can find for State=California. Then Find for Sex=Female within that found set. You get to think incrementally and be stimulated by the results as you go along. Every so often, you absolutely need this feature - and now it is here!
5. Has more complete and robust ODBC and XML functionality. This means we can retrieve and update data from web services or big corporate databases.
6. Little tweaks throughout fine-tuning the ease of use and functionality.
7. Direct importing of graphics and mp3 and other kinds of files, a whole folder at a time. Thanks!
April 12, 2001
10 New Things to Like about FileMaker Pro 5.51. Runs in OS X.
2. More resizable development windows like the define fields and scripts windows and they remember the size you've set them to.
3. Much improved instant web publishing - pages look better and 20 script steps can be executed with filemaker buttons.
4. Record-by-record access privileges allow you to easily restrict a user to seeing and modifying only his own records.
5. More functionality and control importing data from Excel - import named ranges.
6. When you open files over the network, FileMaker can be set to just look in one folder on one computer. No more opening the wrong files accidentally!
7. SQL statements can be stored in FileMaker fields and be used to import and export ODBC data. This really helps when you need to exchange data.
8. More powerful script import capability.
9. Data import scripts that match field names update automatically when you add new fields. Especially helps FileMaker-based products that need to be updated.
10. There's a Set Next Serial Value script step that lets you reset the next serial number easily.
September 15, 1999
10 New Things to Like about FileMaker Pro 5
If you are using FileMaker 3 or 4. You get 27 reasons to upgrade to FileMaker
6. Here's the first 10 reasons that apply to FMP 5.0:
1. Importing scripts from one file to another
2. Script printing is more readable
3. Conditional value lists
4. Larger and customizable color palette
5. Resizable windows field definitions and scripting.
6. Table View - looks like Excel with grid lines, resizable and moveable columns
7. Wizards to help non-expert users to design reports and other layouts more easily
8. Embossed, engraved and drop-shadow settings for fields and other layout objects
9. Conversion of Excel spreadsheets into FileMaker databases now includes field names
10. Value lists can be shared by multiple files.