FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited Ships — FileMaker Inc. has shipped the English language version of its $1,000 FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, which removes FileMaker Pro 5.0’s little-loved licensing restrictions and ten-Internet-users-in-twelve-hours limit, and adds the FileMaker Web Server Connector, a Java servlet that permits databases published via FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited to be served via popular high-end Web servers like StarNine’s WebSTAR, Apple’s AppleShare IP, Apache, and Microsoft’s IIS. (See "FileMaker Pro 5 Released to Controversy" in TidBITS-499 for coverage of the initial release of FileMaker Pro 5.) FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited includes all the features of FileMaker Pro 5 – including Web Companion for simple Web serving needs, dynamic XML-based rendering of FileMaker Pro screen layouts to modern Web browsers, ODBC client and data source capabilities, and database synchronization.
As expected, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited does not include long-sought capabilities like multi-threaded execution that could mitigate the serious performance bottlenecks experienced in even modest database publishing. FileMaker’s solution lies in its Web Server Connector: when installed on a compatible Web server, the Web Server Connector can provide load-balanced access to databases shared by multiple copies of FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited. Those databases, in turn, could be served to FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited via the recently released $1,000 FileMaker Pro Server, which doesn’t offer authoring capabilities but can serve FileMaker databases in a multi-threaded manner. Thus, it’s possible to use multiple computers as an array, each of which in essence serves as a single "thread" in a database publishing operation. (See FileMaker’s diagram as an example of this technique.) Long-time database publishers using FileMaker Pro have generally been unimpressed by this design, noting they’ve been able to construct similar server arrays at considerably less cost for years using earlier versions of FileMaker Pro. However, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited offers some publishers an option heretofore unavailable: the capability to serve FileMaker Pro 5 databases to more than a handful of users. FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited requires a PowerPC-based Mac with Mac OS 7.6.1 and at least 16 MB RAM; some volume discounts are available. [GD]