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FileMaker Ships Major Revamp with FileMaker Pro 7

Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc. has released FileMaker Pro 7 and FileMaker Developer 7, the latest version of its widely used desktop database application for Windows and Mac OS X. FileMaker Pro 7 represents a substantial rewrite, providing a plethora of new features and capabilities at the cost of making FileMaker Pro 7 not backward-compatible with previous versions. Perhaps most significantly, FileMaker 7 revamps the product’s relational architecture so a single database may contain multiple tables, each with separate record formats (vastly simplifying information organization and database design), and FileMaker can open multiple windows on a database, enabling more sophisticated, easier-to-use interface designs. Relationships can now be defined and managed using a point-and-click graphical interface which provides a visual overview of how tables within a file are linked together. FileMaker can now import, export, and store a wider range of files (including Word documents, images, audio, PDF documents, spreadsheets, and more) using an enhanced container field, plus fields can now store up to 4 GB (2 GB for text fields) and databases can sprawl up to 8 terabytes in size. Security options have also been revised in FileMaker Pro 7, including individual account names, passwords, and privilege sets. The underlying FileMaker engine is substantially more transaction-centric, which should provide more stability and data integrity, particular in multi-user and Web publishing applications. Web publishing in FileMaker Pro 7 is now available to five simultaneous users – rather than the much-loathed 10 IP numbers in a 12-hour period – and the built-in Instant Web Publishing provides a more complete representation of the FileMaker solution via the Web (providing you’re using a very up-to-date Web browser), and FileMaker’s previous CDML markup language is gone, replaced with XML and XSLT markup solutions. FileMaker Pro 7 includes numerous other enhancements; FileMaker has posted a brief summary of new features as well as a product FAQ covering the new version.

FileMaker Pro 7 and FileMaker Developer 7 are available immediately. New licenses for FileMaker Pro 7 are $300, and a special upgrade offer available through 17-Sep-04 makes upgrades available for $150 for previous versions of FileMaker all the way back to FileMaker Pro 2.1. (After 17-Sep-04, only FileMaker Pro 6 owners will be eligible for upgrades.) FileMaker Pro 7 is available for Mac OS X 10.2.8 or newer and Windows 2000/XP. FileMaker Pro 7 will not be available for Mac OS 9. FileMaker Deveoper 7 costs $500, with a $100 rebate available to previous owners.

FileMaker Inc. also outlined the rest of its FileMaker 7 product line, expected to be available mid-year. The $1,000 FileMaker Server 7 will enable up to 250 users to share FileMaker databases, enable remote administration, and support SSL connections and user authentication via LDAP or Windows NT domains. FileMaker Server 7 Advanced – the $2,500 replacement for FileMaker Pro Unlimited – will support up to 250 concurrent FileMaker clients as well as up to 100 Web connections. FileMaker Mobile 7 will cost $70 and provide access to FileMaker data for Palm OS and Pocket PC devices, and FileMaker also plans to update its FileMaker-based Applications (Donations, Tasks, Meetings, and Recruiter) by mid-year.

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