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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > FileMaker 13 now official, adds tools for web, iOS development

FileMaker 13 now official, adds tools for web, iOS development
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Dec 3, 2013, 09:16 AM
Having leaked it yesterday, today Apple-owned FileMaker has formally announced FileMaker 13, the next major edition of its database creation software. One of the major additions is WebDirect, an HTML5-based method of publishing databases to the web without special programming. When developing iOS frontends, users can now generate them in a single step, and add things like slide controls, popovers, gesture controls, custom keyboards, and barcode capture functions.

During the design process, FileMaker now supports sharing custom themes and styles -- the latter involving elements like colors, fonts, and text styles -- plus dragging-and-dropping data fields into layouts. Objects can be hidden or displayed based on business logic, and databases should be easier to integrate with web apps. On the backend, a new HTML5 administration console for FileMaker Server 13 makes it possible to manage settings remotely. FileMaker Pro Advanced's encryption has been upgraded to across-the-board 256-bit AES for desktop, server, and iOS data.

Smaller additions include the ability to undo after saving a layout, and more Inspector design attributes, such as padding, inner/outer shadows, and layout backgrounds; backgrounds can be fullscreen and/or use colors and gradients. A new Getting Started tour has been added, as have redesigned Starter Solutions for tasks like Assets, Contacts, Invoices, and Contact Management.

There are over 50 new features in all. Licenses for FileMaker Pro 13 start at $329 new, or $179 for upgrades. New monthly subscription options cost $9 for Pro, $15 for Pro Advanced, and $29 for Server, although the subscription model requires minimum order quantities. FileMaker Go, the companion iOS app, is a free download and has been upgraded to not only support FileMaker 13 but match the aesthetics of iOS 7. Server-concurrent connections for Go and WebDirect are priced at $25 per month for a pack of five.

( Last edited by NewsPoster; Dec 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM. )
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Dec 3, 2013, 10:42 AM
This truly brings FileMaker to the next level. FileMaker is by far the de facto choice for custom databases for workgroups. Access is no longer even competition. My *only* gripe with FileMaker is that they are still marketing it as a product that needs no programming skills, and that is only true to an extent. Sure you can build a simple little form or use one of their templates maybe without previous programming knowledge, but, if you really want to build a good database for yourself or your business, you should really have a decent understanding of relational database theory (and even better, application development), before you get started with FileMaker. Or better yet, hire a Certified FileMaker Developer to assist you with the project.
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Dec 3, 2013, 01:47 PM
If it's such a great database, why isn't the client 64-bit?
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Dec 3, 2013, 02:18 PM
designr, it's likely that there is still a lot of Carbon code in it. Carbon code can't be made 64-bit. It is a great database, but it's sad that it hasn't been fully modernized yet. I'm still waiting for modern looking UI elements too. System 6 style scroll bars start to get old after a while. ;-)
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Dec 4, 2013, 07:44 AM
Well, I spent several hours with the new FileMaker (Server).. and in general, I am pretty blown away. My favorite thing about the new web publishing is how handles drag and drop of digital assets, in the browser. Uploads them to server, and those assets can be immediately streamed to anyone else connected to the database. I'm a DJ, if you haven't guessed, and for me, this is going to be massive. I can build an awesomely customized database, complete with playlists, and be able to access it from anywhere, including a mobile device. This means I can also put a microphone into my iPhone, and with FileMaker Go, record samples directly to the server database while I'm on the road.

What I don't like is that unfortunately, only IE9, 10, Safari 6, 7 and Chrome 21 and up are supported.. so older browsers can't take advantage of the new web publishing.. I guess that's understandable though since each browser implements javascript a little differently and given the complexity of what FileMaker has achieved here, it would be crazy to think they could support all browsers.. though, Firefox would have been nice, I guess. I tried Firefox and it kinda works but is glitchy.

The auto-update of data works incredibly well, as it does as if you were in FileMaker.. very very impressive.

Yes, I hear you about FileMaker not being 64 bit, but as far as I can tell, the "look" of the app has been completely overhauled.. and is now driven by CSS3. Seems to me they retain the OS 6 scroll bar for backward compatibility with older solutions, but you can definitely tweak the design, and it seems, even hack the CSS3 yourself if you know what you're doing.
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Jan 3, 2014, 06:05 AM
During my time of developing databases since version 2.x (this is going back some years now), I have found FileMaker Pro to be an excellent application primarily for the ease in which databases can be created and the flexibility and useful features it provided.

However, since FileMaker Pro 10, I have noticed certain unwelcomed changes. For a start, there are instability issues. We have lost Instant Web Publishing (IWP) in FileMaker Pro 13. And the security of data in fields of any table is now compromised due to a security hole placed into the Data Viewer feature since version 10.

Of greatest concern are the following issues I have noted with FileMaker Pro 13 and confirmed by other developers:

1. FileMaker Support pages show a question from a developer titled "FileMaker Go - Calculations involving GetNthRecord fail after 29 records" and a response suggesting FileMaker Inc is aware of the issue since 10 April 2013. Whether the issue has been fixed in FileMaker Go 12, I observe in FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced that the issue remains and actually fails to show the calculation result from the 79th record onwards. This is a major problem for my clients in terms of financial information they need to work with in the databases. So, on checking this with FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced I see the issue does not exist. It is only FileMaker Pro 13 that has introduced the bug since the last version (perhaps the bug was ported over from FileMaker Go 11), Since April 2013, the issue has not been fixed properly across the full FileMaker Pro 13 product range by checking that the GetNthRecord function works properly.

2. I note from the FileMaker Forum a developer wrote in February 2012 under the title "SECURITY ISSUE: Can't Hide Data Viewer from User's..." how the data viewer allows any user with a copy of Advanced app to view data in any field of any table in any non-admin/developer login account. Prior to FileMaker 10 the data viewer button for selecting fields to view data would be greyed out (unless you are actually logged into the developer account to modify the database). This is no longer the case and, in fact, FileMaker's recommendation is to request that users do not use the FileMaker Pro Advanced app. Unfortunately I cannot monitor this with my clients and, therefore, consider this a major security flaw in the product. I concur with the other developer. And now I see the issue has not been fixed since I mentioned this with FileMaker Inc in December 2012 (in writing). All that FileMaker Inc will do is force developers to use the new database file encryption option. However this new feature places an unnecessary burden on my clients by introducing another level of authentication and to further compromise the intellectual property of my solutions when I cannot remove the admin account with Runtime solutions just to satisfy the encryption requirements.

3. A serious bug existed when working in scripts causing sudden and unexpected quits (especially in FileMaker Pro 12). While I lived with this problem (the essential scripts were in place and I can minimise the crashes if I don't do too much work in modifying scripts), I see the latest FileMaker Pro 13 may have addressed this issue. However, the bug seems to have been moved over to the launch sequence when starting up a database. It doesn't happen all the time (so far about a dozen times for myself since I purchased FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced). It also occurs when you are in a text field for more than 15 minutes doing changes to the text and you don't save the text by committing the record. As a result, time is wasted waiting for the FileMaker Pro app to check the integrity of the databases. Furthermore my clients feel concerned about the possibility that such unexpected quits may cause irreversible damage to the databases should the problem persist over a period of time. Prior to FileMaker Pro 12, I have not seen this level of serious bugs crashing the app so easily. Now I understand my clients concerns and feel FileMaker Pro 13 is not up to scratch for prime time use in real world database solution environments.

After noticing these issues and explaining them to FileMaker Inc and requesting these issues by fixed as quickly as possible, the company has agreed instead to provide a refund for FileMaker Pro 13 (i.e. within the 30
days of purchasing the product). I sense the company may not be interested in fixing these issues with the potential that Apple could be trying to drop further development work of FileMaker Pro in the near future. Why? Apple does not like consumers to get free or low-cost FileMaker contacts databases to bypass the company's own contacts.app for identifying users and sending personal details to the iCloud. FileMaker Pro should only be used for large organisations and not for individual consumer use.

Given how long the company has been notified of the above issues, this appears to be the case.

I do note that numerous FIleMaker developers have complained in the past about how each upgrade of FileMaker under the control of Apple has only provided few extra features, but not substantial enough to be considered good value for money.

I just wonder whether Apple/FileMaker Inc is serious about its commitment to providing a good product to the consumer?

But if this isn't the case, I strongly recommend you check your FileMaker Pro 13 product very carefully. If it works for you, fine. If it doesn't, get a refund. The more people who get refunds, the more likely FileMaker Inc will make efforts to fix bugs and provide a quality product to the consumer.
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