FileMaker Pro 7 Beefs Up

At a Glance
  • FileMaker Pro 7

FileMaker 7 now stores multiple tables and uses a clear graphical model (right) to define and show you the tables' relationships.
FileMaker 7 now stores multiple tables and uses a clear graphical model (right) to define and show you the tables' relationships.
FileMaker Pro has long been the database of choice for people who don't need complicated database capabilities. However, with the release of FileMaker Pro 7, this popular workhorse gains increased muscle for higher-end apps. Version 7 will easily work for a great majority of database applications, including programs with browser-based interfaces, Godzilla-size content-management programs, and complex data files with many tables that each define relationships. Upgrade to version 7 if you need the beef.

Using its Instant Web Publishing tool, nonprogrammers have a greater ability to share databases that coworkers may add to or change. Version 7 also sports 70 FileMaker script steps that work in the Web environment, including the multiple ways of looking at data (Form, List, and Table) that made earlier FileMaker versions so practical.

As for graphics handling, FileMaker Pro is now able to store container fields as large as 2GB, holding any kind of binary file, including video, audio, and Adobe Acrobat files. Combine this with what the program calls "portals"--the ability to use relationships to display information from other tables within a form or table--and you can quickly home-brew a capable content-management tool that lets you create pages resembling photo contact sheets. These can hold, for instance, video clips that demonstrate new products. FileMaker Pro 7 also enjoys 8-terabyte file storage limits.

Version 7 retools the way FileMaker handles complex databases, supporting multiple tables per database file, and adding stronger relationship-designation tools that will be familiar to users of Microsoft Access but that are easier to work with.

FileMaker Pro 7

Still a great app for database newcomers; worthwhile upgrade for more-complex projects.
List: $299, upgrade $149
Current prices (if available)

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Practically unlimited file size
    • Easy to share databases on the Web
    • Powerful new tools for managing files, windows, and relationships
    • Better control over user-access privileges

    Cons

    • Relationships Graph can get confusing
    • Can’t trigger script when user exits field
  
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