FileMaker and Its Marketplace

However you approach FileMaker Pro, some core strengths of the platform are important for all types of users:

  • Flexibility Working with FileMaker Pro is inherently open-ended. It is simple to create ad hoc data queries, quickly manage data entry, add functionality to a live system, or deploy to the Web in minutes.
  • Ease of Use The folks at FileMaker, Inc. have labored hard to make FileMaker as approachable as humanly possible. Day-to-day users can easily learn how to add fields to a database, create reports, add form layouts, and more. With FileMaker Pro, organizations can be less dependent on specialized software engineers.
  • Interoperability FileMaker Pro supports many common, open standards for data exchange (SQL, ODBC, JDBC, XML) and allows users to connect their database solutions to the greater world of standards-based applicationsboth within their organizations and online on the Web.
  • Modern Data Architecture FileMaker Pro, despite being "just" a productivity application that lives on your computer along with Microsoft Word and Solitaire, allows users to create fully relational data structures and to properly build architectures that correctly manage real-world data.

Ultimately, FileMaker exists between the world of desktop applications and high-end, enterprise-level server systems. It is the third option: a flexible, robust workgroup application that can quickly come together, evolve over time, and be dramatically cost-effective.

Rapid Application Development

In the world of software development, flexibility and speed are critical. We live in the world of Internet time, and usually businesses embark on a development project only when they need something yesterday.

The practices and experiences of the past two decades have proven software development to be a risky, unpredictable business. NASA's travails are painful reminders that this stuff is, in some ways, truly rocket science. New job functions have been developed in software quality assurance and project management. Certification programs exist to sift the wheat from the chaff.

FileMaker Pro exists in many respects to help organizations take on less risk and navigate the waters of software development without having to take on massive engineering efforts when they aren't warranted. Because this is a rapid application development platform, it is possible to build a system in FileMaker Pro in a fraction of the time it takes to build the same system in more classic, compiled software languages or by using enterprise-level systems.

Low Total Cost of Ownership

FileMaker Pro is focused around offering a low total cost of ownership for organizations. In October 2001, the Aberdeen Group, an independent research firm in Boston, found that "under conservative assumptions, FileMaker Pro was superior, with an average ratio of 5:1 in [cost of ownership] over the industry average database" (quote taken from the Aberdeen Group Executive White Paper "FileMaker Low-IT Database Cost-of-Ownership Study," October 2001).

Both the cost of the software itself and the rapidity with which systems can be built mean that IT organizations have a viable alternative to the massive enterprise-level systems of the past.

FileMaker Is a Seasoned Platform

FileMaker Pro is now 20 years old. In the mid-1980s, Nashoba Systems created an initial version that was acquired and published by Forethought, Inc., in April of 1985. Nashoba then reacquired the rights to the software and published FileMaker Plus in 1986 and FileMaker 4 in 1988.

Claris Corp., which was then being formed by Apple Computer and was to become FileMaker's guiding parent, purchased Nashoba and published FileMaker II in 1988 and 1989. Finally in October 1990, FileMaker Pro 1.0 made its debut and set the product line on the course it has largely followed to this day. In December of 1995, Claris shipped FileMaker Pro 3.0, which saw the introduction of relational data modeling to the platform and, even more important, a completely seamless cross-platform application that's virtually identical between the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. Today a majority of FileMaker's audience lives on the Windows side.

In 1998, at the time of version 4.1, Claris Corp. rechristened itself FileMaker, Inc. and focused all its energy around its flagship product.

FileMaker has been profitable every quarter since (an extraordinary feat considering the climate in Silicon Valley for the previous few years) and continues to enjoy the backing (as a subsidiary) of a cash-flush Apple Computer, Inc.

Other major innovations have occurred along the way, but nearly everyone in the community recognizes that it was the watershed version 3.0 that broke open the gates for FileMaker. Version 4.0 introduced web publishing to the platform, and version 6.0 offered significant support for XML-based data interchange.

In 2004, FileMaker Pro 7.0 was released. This major release featured a reengineered architecture from the ground up, a new model for working with relationships, modern security capabilities, and the capability to hold multiple data tables within a single file.

FileMaker Pro 8, launched in August of 2005, is the next release built on the new architecture of 7; it is a testament to that architecture that FileMaker 8 contains as many significant features as it does.

You're Not Alone

FileMaker, Inc. has sold more than 10 million units worldwide as of this writing. Users range from a single magician booking gigs in Denver, Colorado to Fortune 500 companies such as Citibank and Genentech. Just like any tool, FileMaker is noteworthy only when it has been employed to build somethingand its builders come in all shapes and sizes. The only true common element seems to be that they own computers and have information to store.

There are some trends: FileMaker Pro is widely used in the world of both K12 and higher education. All 50 of the top universities in the United States use FileMaker Pro. The nonprofit industry is also a key focal point for FileMaker, as is the creative-professionals industry.

Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8

FileMaker Overview

Using FileMaker Pro

Defining and Working with Fields

Working with Layouts

Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker

Relational Database Design

Working with Multiple Tables

Working with Relationships

Getting Started with Calculations

Getting Started with Scripting

Getting Started with Reporting

Part III: Developer Techniques

Developing for Multiuser Deployment

Implementing Security

Advanced Interface Techniques

Advanced Calculation Techniques

Advanced Scripting Techniques

Advanced Portal Techniques

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro

Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing

Importing Data into FileMaker Pro

Exporting Data from FileMaker

Instant Web Publishing

FileMaker and Web Services

Custom Web Publishing

Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution

Deploying and Extending FileMaker

FileMaker Server and Server Advanced

FileMaker Mobile

Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions

Using FileMaker 8
Special Edition Using FileMaker 8
ISBN: 0789735121
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 296 © 2008-2020.
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