FileMaker Pro 12 lets you easily create and use custom business solutions that run on iPads, iPhones, Windows, Macs and the web. It offers built-in user-friendly themes, Starter Solutions and easy design tools to quickly build solutions that help make everyone more productive.
“Visually stunning” and “databases” are two words that you may not think of as going together, but FileMaker is changing that. FileMaker Pro 12 still has all the ease of database creation for which previous versions were known, to which are added new features and capabilities that make it a tool for creating some truly visually stunning and interactive databases. FileMaker, Inc. is an Apple subsidiary and lives up to the Apple design aesthetic with eye-popping charts, strong design control, and multimedia file embedding into FileMaker databases. Some users may balk at the fact that any existing databases are converted to FileMaker 12’s new format, because any clients that need to connect to an updated database have to be updated as well. But most FileMaker devotees will find that the enhancements of the latest version (including the new design tools for creating apps for Apple mobile devices) make it worth upgrading all of their systems to version 12.
Order and buy FileMaker Pro 12 online, in Lagos, Nigeria, with free delivery
FileMaker Pro 12 introduces 40 new layout themes and they are gorgeous. Many of them have sophisticated shading and 3D effects and really enhance a database application. There are even themes tailored just for touch devices.
Templates and Container Fields
I selected the Assets starter solution—a simple, nicely-designed database application. The prefab form makes it simple for end users to jump in and get working, and the template could likely be used as is by those needing asset management. In the data entry form, I tested one of the new capabilities in FilerMaker Pro 12, dragging and dropping an image and video into a pre-defined container field. This capability makes it very easy to add multimedia into a database. One caution: when I tried to drag and drop a large file about 1.5 GB in size into the field, FileMaker crashed. Some pop-ups or warnings about files that may be too large would make this feature more efficient.
What’s cool about these enhanced container fields is that they can hold images or be configured as interactive to hold hi-def video that gets streamed from the database or to add a PDF file that a user can scroll through in the database app.
Creating charts has vastly improved in FileMaker Pro 12 over version 11, thanks to the Quick Charts feature. In addition, there are five new chart styles: Bubble, Scatter, Positive/negative, Stacked bar, and Stacked column.
Making a chart is simple, even easier than in Excel. I added some data to my app and changed into tabular view. I then selected the columns I wanted to include in the chart. Since it’s an Assets database, I wanted to make a “Cost by Item” graph so those are the columns I selected. I then right-clicked and had the option to create the chart. A neat, perfectly-formatted bar chart popped up on screen.
You can change the chart style by applying the same themes as you can apply to the entire database or form. I jazzed up my chart by changing the bars with a shaded 3D effect. FileMaker allows you to print the chart or to save at as a layout. Once you save as a layout, you can copy and paste the chart into other applications such as Word or PowerPoint. I was looking for a way to save the chart as an image file, which would be handy for embedding into an external document for later use, but FileMaker folks confirmed that you can only save as a layout. In any case, FileMaker users will be pleased about the advances in charting.
Designed for iOS
Keeping in step with the transition from a desktop to mobile computing word (and particularly with the frenzy for Apple mobile devices) FileMaker Pro 12 allows database designers to use layouts customized for iPads and iPhones. Users can preview how a database designed for an Apple mobile device will look in a Preview screen. Filemaker has been optimized in version 12 for creating apps for the iPad and iPhone.
The location-based functionality in these mobile devices can be integrated into FileMaker databases for tracking and projects.
Other New Tweaks
FileMaker Pro 12 offers plenty of granular formatting options. For instance, a button on a form can be configured to change color after a user enters data. I like how you can easily customize buttons in ways like making them mouse “hover” objects. Other design capabilities include gradients, image slicing, and borders.
A new accessibility inspector associates labels and fields so that visually impaired users can use assistive technology, which will read aloud form fields.
Of course, advanced capabilities such as scripting and creating reports are still in FileMaker. New script steps have been added, “Find Matching Records,” “Insert Audio/Video,” “Insert from URL,” “Insert PDF,” “Open Managed Container,” and “Sort Records by Field.”
Users also can connect external databases via ODBC and JDBC connections. Databases can be published to the Web, and FileMaker Server adds even more functionality for larger organizations such as 64-bit capability, improved WAN performance, backup, and more. Larger organizations can connect FileMaker to Windows Active Directory, but doing so requires FileMaker Server.
Can’t be Beat for Apple and Lighter Database Needs
FileMaker Pro 12 is the database solution for Apple users (and it’s great for Windows users, too). It’s ideal for those with little database experience and who only need a smaller database solution. You wouldn’t use it to run a high-transaction financial or business solution; Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle are the powerhouses for heavier database needs.
You would be hard-pressed to find another database product that is so polished, eye-catching and fun to use. FileMaker also works seamlessly across mobile devices. Although users can’t leverage the new capabilities of FileMaker Pro 12 without upgrading all connecting client devices to version 12, and it’s not a database option for larger organizations, it’s a well-engineered database solution that gets more advanced with each new version. FileMaker Pro 12 is an Editors’ Choice pick and a sure-fire solution for small-business databases.