Tuesday, 10 May 2016 23:01

FileMaker 15 addresses mobility, security and more

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FileMaker 15, a new release of the application development system for OS X, Windows, iOS and the web, delivers new or improved features in the areas of mobility, automation and integration, ease of use, security, and performance.

FileMaker 15 marks the first release on the company's new annual development cycle. "Everything gets incrementally better" with each release, FileMaker consulting engineer David Head told iTWire.

Designed to make it possible for 'citizen developers' to develop custom applications while including features expected by professional developers, FileMaker can be used to create applications for iOS, OS X, Windows and the web.

FileMaker 15 recognises that "mobility is front and centre" for customers, and so includes "a lot of cool stuff" for iOS, FileMaker managing director Joel Katz told iTWire.

That includes support for Touch ID, 3D Touch, iBeacon, and app extensions (to support content sharing and customisation with other apps, such as photo editors and cloud storage; pictured above). For example, a FileMaker app might allow a user to take a photo, annotate it with Skitch, and then store the result in the FileMaker database, explained Head, or a PDF document referenced by a FileMaker container field might actually be stored in iCloud or another cloud storage service.

In addition, improvements to FileMaker WebDirect make it possible to create responsive web interfaces that work well with smartphones. "We encourage people to design for the device," said Head.

Developers' work is simplified by error highlighting and multiple undos when scripting, along with support for additional SQL data sources including PostgresSQL and IBM DB2.

Ease of use features include an additional collection of four simpler starter solutions (for contacts, inventory, content management and tasks) designed to provide more appropriate starting points for beginner users, web-based help for faster retrieval (with a downloadable PDF version for offline use), and a redesigned status toolbar.

Security is "very important for businesses... [and] very important to us", said Head, but it is an area that is sometimes overlooked by those citizen developers. So FileMaker 15 includes proactive security warnings in various situations, including the use of a FileMaker Server admin account without a password, or connections to hosts or websites with invalid security certificates. The new version also makes it clear that the sample security certificate supplied with the product is only for testing use, as well as supporting SSL certificates (including intermediate, subjectAltName [SAN], and wildcard certificates) from a broader range of providers.

In addition, a new concealed edit box is available in forms so that sensitive information needn't be displayed onscreen.

To help developers optimise app performance, data filtering and sorting is performed without blocking other activities, and a new logging feature helps identify server processes that take a long time to complete.

FileMaker 15 also introduces simplified licensing terms for teams of five or more to access databases hosted on FileMaker Server from FileMaker Pro (for User Connections), FileMaker Go, or FileMaker WebDirect.

Prices start at $1,085.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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