FileMaker has released the latest version of its database tool, which features a new-look user interface and other features to help newcomers get started with database work, while adding enhancements that might also draw enterprise customers.
FileMaker 10 introduces a simplified user interface that puts the most commonly used functions in plain sight, the company said, and offers features to help users get started, such as the ability to create a database directly from an Excel spreadsheet.
"A lot of users are new to the database sector. They've been using data in a spreadsheet and now the boss wants to have that information in a database. We've made it easy to grab an Excel file, import it and get started with a solution in literally 30 seconds," said Kieran Saunders, FileMaker sales engineer for Northern Europe.
For more professional users, FileMaker has added Script Triggers which enable designers to create a script that runs when certain conditions are met.
This could be used to perform actions on a scheduled basis, or triggered when the user types into a field to validate their input, for example. "For developers, this feature will just blow them away," said Saunders.
Another new feature, Dynamic Reports, enables users to update records in the database from the report view, and have the report automatically regenerate itself to reflect any changes.
The server versions of FileMaker 10 can also support up to 999 concurrent users, up from a maximum 256 in the previous release, enabling growing firms to continue to use FileMaker rather than migrate to another database.
Server versions also now support automated sending of information via a built-in SMTP server. This could be used to automatically generate a report and send it via email to a manager every night, according to Saunders.
FileMaker has also updated its web publishing feature with a CSS format optimised for display on Apple's iPhone, enabling mobile users with this device to get easy access to a database through the browser.
The software is available in four versions: FileMaker Pro 10 (£219), FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced (£329), FileMaker Server 10 (£699) and FileMaker Server 10 Advanced (£2,199).
FileMaker Pro 10 supports Windows and Mac OS X. Client versions run on Windows XP SP3 or Vista SP1, or Mac OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5.
On the server side, FileMaker now supports Windows Server 2008 as well as Windows Server 2003 SP2, but drops support for Windows 2000. On the Mac it supports Mac OS 10.4.11 and 10.5.4.
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