With the release of the FileMaker 19 platform, it may be time to reevaluate your organization’s upgrade strategy.
Some organizations always want the latest and greatest features as soon as they become available. Others prefer to wait as long as possible and only upgrade when forced to do so due to a compatibility issue with their computers, operating systems, or other applications. Most fall somewhere between these extremes. In any case, we recommend that you have a plan so that you can take advantage of new features that are important to you while also avoiding unplanned costs and downtime.
Most of the organizations we work with are on annual license plans, so when a new version is released, there’s rarely an issue with needing to buy an upgrade. However, it can still require a significant amount of time and effort to install upgrades on servers, workstations, and devices. In some cases, hardware will need to be upgraded and other applications and integrations may need to be upgraded in parallel.
In the past, some FileMaker version upgrades have required file format changes and sometimes significant development work to address compatibility issues. While we still recommend testing a new version before putting it into production, most recent upgrades have required very few development changes and the experience is usually uneventful for users.
Things to know
FileMaker Server 19 can be used by both FileMaker 18 and 19 clients. Older clients are not supported by FileMaker Server 19. FileMaker Pro 19 and FileMaker Go 19 can connect to files hosted with FileMaker Server 18 and 19.
All FileMaker 16 and 17 products are “end of life” (EOL) as of September 18, 2020. End of life means that support is no longer available from Claris and updates will not be available.
The following operating systems are NOT supported with the FileMaker 19 platform:
- Windows 7
- Windows Server 2012R2
- macOS High Sierra (10.13)
- iOS 12
FileMaker Cloud for AWS 1.18 is the last version of this hosting product. Many of our clients are using FileMaker Cloud for AWS to host their apps because it is one of the lowest-cost options for cloud hosting and it is incredibly reliable with very little maintenance. All versions of FileMaker Cloud for AWS will no longer be supported as of January 1, 2022. Claris has announced that the future roadmap includes a Linux version of FileMaker Server and we hope to transition many of our hosting clients to this new version when it becomes available.
If you’re currently hosting with version 18, plan for an upgrade to your server or cloud host to version 19 within the next twelve months.
Start by upgrading a few of your power users to FileMaker Pro 19 and FileMaker Go 19 within the next month or two. As they can verify that all is working well, plan to roll out the new versions to all remaining users who have compatible systems. For anyone who requires a hardware or operating system upgrade for their computer or device, determine the best time to purchase and deploy those upgrades. Once all the clients have been upgraded, implement the host upgrade.
If you’re currently hosting with version 16 or 17, you won’t be able to use FileMaker Pro 19 or FileMaker Go 19 until you upgrade your host.
You should start by doing some compatibility testing with a test server or at least a local copy of your solution. Once you’re satisfied that your solution is working well, you’ll need to coordinate the host and client upgrades. If you have a small number of users, you could upgrade the host and clients to 19 all at one time. If that isn’t logistically practical, first upgrade each of your clients to version 18 (so that they can still connect to your current host) and then upgrade the host to version 19. After the host has been upgraded, you can begin staging the deployment of FileMaker Pro 19 and FileMaker Go 19.
If you’re currently hosting with version 15 or earlier, you’ll need a plan to simultaneously upgrade your host and clients to a current version.
There are scenarios where you may want to consider an intermediate upgrade to FileMaker 17 or 18. For example, if you still have computers with older operating systems such as Windows 7 or macOS High Sierra or iPads that can’t be upgraded to iOS 13.4. If you fall into this category, you’ll want to plan carefully to avoid getting into a jam as you start doing upgrades. For instance, if you buy a new Mac, it is going to come with macOS Catalina, which requires FileMaker Pro Advanced 18 or FileMaker Pro 19 and won’t be able to connect to older hosts.
As you can see from these scenarios, the longer you wait between upgrades, the more difficult it becomes to avoid complicated deployments and significant downtime.
If you need help planning or implementing your FileMaker upgrade strategy, click the Free Consultation button at the top of this page and we’ll be glad to schedule a call to discuss how we can help.
About Skeleton Key
Skeleton Key develops apps on the FileMaker platform making them easy-to-integrate, easy-to-use, and quick to build and deploy. Our team of experts takes a comprehensive consulting approach to focus on learning how your organization operates. With deeper insights into the way your team works, we’re able to create an ideal solution built around your operations while forming a partnership founded on trust and transparency. We hope you found this content useful and we would love to hear from you if we can be of any further assistance.