FileMaker Pro 10 review

Ever since the release of FileMaker Pro 7, we have been amazed at the innovation applied to each new release. Aside from breaking new ground with a two-digit version number, the FileMaker folks are showing us what they’ve learned from producing the more user-friendly Bento.

Most notable is the movement and redesign of the Status Toolbar. What used to be the trademark of a FileMaker database, the left Toolbar Panel, is now displayed at the top of the layout. The graphics for the icons and tools have been redesigned, there are more features available, and the ability to customise the toolbar using drag-and-drop is now available. (A much asked for feature for many years.) While this makes FileMaker similar to familiar Mac applications (Email, Safari, iWork, etc.), it may require a little reworking of custom-designed layouts since more width and less height is available. For providing a little more variety with the layouts, FileMaker Pro 10 now has 10 additional colour and font themes. We especially liked the new Handwriting theme.

One of our favourite additions to the toolbar is the Pie Chart indicator for Found Records, since this shows the percentage of records found. Clicking on this toggles the view to see all the records not found. Speaking of found records, FileMaker Pro 10 now provides the ability to name and save Find Requests for later use. Plus,
the 10 most recently used Finds are kept in the Saved Finds menu.

Hit the trigger

FileMaker Pro developers are going to be jumping for joy when they start to play with the new script triggers. These triggers provide the ability to associate a custom script with events associated with the layouts and objects on the layouts. These script triggers can launch a script when a field is clicked, modified, entered, or exited. They can also be associated with the press of specific keys, when a layout is loaded, when a record is loaded, when a record is committed, and much more. Developers are also going to like the new feature of being able to automatically generate a script file when creating a new report layout.

Migrating files from Bento 2 and/or Excel has got a whole lot easier. FileMaker Pro 10 provides the ability to create a new database from these files without having to create a new database schema. If you’re into SQL database integration, FileMaker Pro 10 now has support for MySQL 5.1 (Community Edition), Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Oracle 11g. Also, Value Lists can now use fields from ODBC data sources.

The integration of email capabilities into FileMaker Pro has always been a strong feature. Even this has been improved by providing the ability to send email directly from within FileMaker Pro without having to open an email application. The parameters for the outgoing SMTP email server can be specified. Sending via email client is also still supported.

OUR VERDICT

The entire list of new features and capabilities of FileMaker Pro 10 are beyond the scope of this short review. However, the value of just the interface and ease of use enhancements, make it a must-have upgrade for any FileMaker Pro user. And the significant addition of script triggers provides a much-desired feature for custom database application developers.

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