Filemaker Inc. has released FileMaker Pro 9.0, a major update to its line of database applications. Among numerous new features are a Quick Start screen, which gives less-experienced users an easy way to open or create databases; Conditional Formatting, which dynamically alters the formatting of fields based on user-defined rules; and the capability to connect to external SQL databases such as MySQL, Oracle SQL, and Microsoft SQL Server.
As usual, FileMaker Pro comes in several different editions. FileMaker Pro 9 retails for $299, with upgrades available for $179. FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced, which adds customization options and development features such as a script debugger, costs $499 new or $299 as an upgrade. For sharing databases with groups of users, you'll need one of the FileMaker Server products: FileMaker Server 9 ($999 or $599 to upgrade) if the clients are primarily other FileMaker Pro users or FileMaker Server 9 Advanced ($2,499 or $1,499 to upgrade) to support up to 100 simultaneous Web users using Instant Web Publishing. The two Server editions include a new Admin Console to simplify management of any FileMaker Pro server, plus a PHP Site Assistant and API that enables PHP-driven Web sites to use information in a FileMaker Pro database.
A 30-day demo version of FileMaker Pro 9 is available; it's a 273 MB download. Also available is a trial version of FileMaker Server 9 Advanced, a 157 MB download.