FileMaker Ships Task Manager App
FileMaker is adding to its line of add-on applications with the release of FileMaker Tasks, a task management program that works with the FileMaker Pro 6 database.
The $69 program is available now for download from FileMaker. It is being released in versions for both Windows and the Apple Macintosh.
FileMaker Tasks is intended as an organizational tool to help manage, assign, and track everyday tasks on a timeline, says John Dasher, product manager for FileMaker applications.
Its task-management tools include ways to create task files and store them centrally, tracking assignments, deadlines, and priorities. A tracking view lets users quickly check the status of assignments, milestones, and deadlines.
Because the data is stored in FileMaker Pro, users can easily search on various criteria, such as team member, assignment, deadline, or project. The program includes a report generator that is simpler than most database report systems. Users can create reports through checkboxes and pop-up menus, he says.
"We chose a straightforward, well-understood problem and tried to present a straightforward solution," Dasher says. As with the Meetings program, FileMaker Tasks supplies an e-mail template so users can route material from the program through several e-mail programs, including Outlook, Eudora, and the Mac-only programs Entourage and Apple Mail.
Dasher also emphasizes the program's file-sharing capabilities, available when used with the FileMaker server edition. "I think it really shines when you give the whole team access."
Users can exchange information across platforms, but the program does not yet support personal digital assistants, Dasher says. However, he said testers have already requested that feature.
Not for Project Management
The program is not intended as a full-fledged project management application, Dasher says. "There are some great high-end project management programs out there, but they're complex and require a commitment to learn," he says. He positions FileMaker Tasks as something between e-mail or the to-do list in Outlook and the sophisticated Microsoft Project.
Nor is it intended as a competitor to Best Software's Act contact manager, which is designed as a tool specifically for sales staffs, Dasher adds.
FileMaker Tasks is the third in a series of ready-to-use business programs designed to work with the FileMaker database. As with the others, it is delivered unlocked, so developers can customize the application for a specific business or use. It is a full application, not a runtime, but does require use of FileMaker Pro 6. FileMaker is offering a $333 bundle of FileMaker Tasks and FileMaker Pro 6, which sells separately for $299.
The first two FileMaker applications, which shipped in September, are the $49 FileMaker Meetings, an organizational tool; and FileMaker Recruiter, designed to help manage job applications, priced at $299.
The applications are designed to be stand-alone programs, however; for example, FileMaker Meetings and Tasks can't share names and e-mail between them, Dasher says.