FileMaker 8 Adds Features, Retains File Format — FileMaker, Inc. today took the wraps off FileMaker 8, the latest version of its flagship desktop database product. Long-time FileMaker users will be happy to learn FileMaker 8 files are backward compatible with FileMaker 7, the company’s recent major overhaul of the venerable product (see William Porter’s review in TidBITS-721). They may also be happy to see FileMaker 8 offers built-in PDF and Excel spreadsheet export capabilities, making it simpler to exchange data with Excel and other applications and product electronic versions of documents with FileMaker data. Other new features include auto-complete data entry, a visual spell-checker, a built-in email mail merge feature for sending customized email messages, calendar drop-downs for entering date information, mouse wheel support, a visual graph of database relationships, and built-in tools for managing tabbed panels within layouts. FileMaker Pro 8 is available today for $300; FileMaker 6 and 7 users can upgrade for $180.
FileMaker Pro 8 also marks a change for FileMaker Developer Edition, which has been renamed FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced to appeal to users who are sophisticated enough to create their own database solutions but who don’t necessarily see themselves as developers. FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced enables database builders to customize menus, as well as create standalone applications and kiosks. New features include flexible tool tips, an enhanced script debugger which includes a data viewer and can disable individual script steps for testing, and an expanded database design report providing an overview of database and field setups. FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced costs $500, and FileMaker Developer 6 or 7 users can upgrade for $300. Additional FileMaker 8 products – FileMaker Mobile 8, Server 8, and Server Advanced 8 – should be available by the end of the year. [GD]