FileMaker 17 puts mobile app creation in everyone’s hands

Anthony Caruana
16 May, 2018
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Many Macworld Australia readers will be familiar with FileMaker. it’s been a “go to” program for Mac users, ever since it made the jump from DOS back in 1985. Over the ensuing three decades it has evolved from a tool designed for true boffins into an app,caiiton creation tool that almost anyone can use to create tools they need for everyday tasks and larger business applications.

FileMaker 17 has been released and, while you might not expect too much to change, there’s enough in this new version to attract new users – particularly those looking to create bespoke mobile apps when the App Store doesn’t quite deliver what they’re after.

The first thing vert’s will notice is that there is no more mention of FileMaker Pro. While previous versions have split FileMaker into two version, Pro and Advanced, the Apple subsidiary, perhaps taking a leaf from their parent crane’s book, has simplified things. The main desktop version now comes in just one version – FileMaker Pro Advanced. It’s a bit of a mouthful but it means there’s no need to figure out what version to buy. It’s now a ‘one size fits all” deal.

It’s not just the mac OS and Windows versions that have been updated. FileMaker Go for iOS devices, FileMaker Server, FileMaker Web and FileMaker Cloud have all been given a facelift. And, if you’re worried about where your data is if you choose the Cloud version – the company confirmed to me that Australian users will have their data hosted in the Sydney AWS region.

When it comes to app creation – there are several paths you can take. You can start with an existing project and amend it, you can import data from a spreadsheet or some other data source to get things kickstarted, or you can use the sample and starter apps that ship with the product.

The samples are ready-to-use applications that works straight out of the box. And while the starters are also fully functional, they are simpler and are designed to let novices start on a project without having a completely blank canvas in front of them.

During a demonstration I had with the Filemaker team earlier today, I saw the Meetings starter app updated with some extra fields and the ability to store file attachments. The entire process was very straightforward as FileMaker 17 handles all the backend scripting, table creation and other technical tasks.

As well as working with its own data, FileMaker 17 supports data sharing and collection from external sensors like GPS (so you can geofence applications or collect location data), iBeacons and gyroscopes or barometric sensors.

As has been the case for a couple of years, you have the choice between buying a perpetual license or subscribing to the software. Perpetual licensing starts at $792 with upgrades from FileMaker 14 or later at $290.40. Monthly subscriptions start at $22 per user per month for five to nine users, with the price reducing through various tiers to $15 per user per month for up to 99 users.

Filemaker Cloud can be purchased from the AWS Marketplace.

There’s also a free trial if you want to try before you buy.

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