The FileMaker 17 Platform
The FileMaker 17 Platform is a landmark release with many new and improved features that make it more powerful and even easier to use. Here are some of the reasons why we think it’s the best version yet. Earlier releases included three different versions of the desktop application…FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro (for User Connections), and FileMaker Pro Advanced. Version 17 simplifies this to one application…FileMaker Pro Advanced. The Tools menu can be enabled or disabled in the preferences. System administrators have the option to completely remove this option during installation, but the application name is always FileMaker Pro Advanced and Get(ApplicationVersion) returns “ProAdvanced 17.0.1”. One of the changes you’ll notice as soon as you enter Layout Mode is the addition of panels on the left and right side of the window. The left panel includes tabs for Fields and Objects. The right panel is a docked version of the four-tab Inspector. The new panels put a lot of power at your fingertips, but you may find the need for a second (or third) display so that you can comfortable work in Layout Mode on one display and view your work in Browse Mode on another. Calvin Cooper has more details here. Another Layout Mode change that is less obvious is the ability to select and manipulate individual objects within groups without needing to ungroup. This can be a nice time-saver, which Monica Blum describes here.
The My Apps window replaces the Launch Center with a more intuitive experience that makes it easier to open your apps and get started creating new ones. Todd Stark shares a few thoughts about the My Apps window here. FileMaker Pro 17 includes six new starter apps plus a brand new Add-on Tables feature which allows anyone to quickly add new tables and related functionality to your app. Chad Adams has more details here. A new portal option allows a developer to easily create master-detail layouts that have a great user experience. Stu Dietz shares several examples and tips here. Developers who love to create modular scripts that can easily be moved between apps will appreciate the new Perform Script by Name script step. Jay Sayers digs into what’s possible here. Developers who create a lot of tables will also appreciate the new Default Fields feature. By default, five new fields will automatically be created in each new table. The default fields can be overridden with your own favorite default fields. Jeremy Upton shares how here. The Send Mail script step has a simple but powerful improvement that allows multiple file attachments to be included in an email message. David Roche explains more here. FileMaker Pro 16 enabled many script steps (such as Insert from URL) to use a local or global variable as a target. In version 17, the Show Custom Dialog script step now allows the use of variables as the target for input fields. Jessie Cisneros shares some tips here about why that can make development a bit easier. FileMaker’s licensing options have changed significantly over the years. Version 17 takes a fresh approach to simplifying the license options and treating the previously separate products as a true platform. Whether you buy User, Connection, or Site licenses, you’ll get access to all of the individual pieces of the platform. Mark Richman provides an introduction to what’s new here. Both FileMaker Server and FileMaker Cloud now include an improved version of the FileMaker Data API that allows performing scripts and uploading files to container fields. The FileMaker Data API is now metered, but it includes a generous data allowance with all license types. FileMaker Server has a redesigned Admin Console, a more powerful command-line tool, and a trial version of the FileMaker Admin API. Together, these three admin interfaces offer tremendous flexibility and power. FileMaker Server admins will find they have some new things to learn. The FileMaker Developer Subscription includes an updated version of the iOS SDK as well as a new command-line Data Migration Tool. The Data Migration Tool solves some longstanding problems by allowing fast transfer of all data, accounts, and value lists from a solution into a clone of the solution. This tool will make it much easier and faster to move updated versions of an app from development to test or production environments. FileMaker Go 17 receives some great new features including access to sensor data and local notifications. Apps can now use auto-complete in text fields, keyboard shortcuts on external keyboards, and drag and drop of text, photos, and files on iPad. The FileMaker 17 Platform has a great set of features and we think it offers a tremendous value and flexibility. We’re excited to build new apps that are more powerful than ever. Greg Lane is a FileMaker 16 Certified Developer at Skeleton Key in St. Louis, MO.
About Skeleton Key
Skeleton Key helps turn complex, complicated, and outdated systems into true information platforms. Our team of consultants and developers do this by developing custom-fit software tools and reporting dashboards that help businesses find, use, and understand their data, freeing them to focus on and grow their core business. In addition to custom databases and applications, we also provide training and coaching for getting the most out of your existing systems and understanding your unruly data. Skeleton Key is an open-book management company and active player of the Great Game of Business.