New FileMaker Boosts Analysis, Collaboration Features - InformationWeek
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Jake Widman
Jake Widman

New FileMaker Boosts Analysis, Collaboration Features

FileMaker is now shipping FileMaker 11, with new spreadsheet-like features for creating charts and graphs and generating reports, as well as new ways to share and update information.

FileMaker is now shipping FileMaker 11, with new spreadsheet-like features for creating charts and graphs and generating reports, as well as new ways to share and update information.The new version of the widely used cross-platform database takes some cues from the way people use spreadsheets to view and analyze their information. For example, FileMaker Pro 11 adds the ability to generate common graph types. That means businesses can slice their data with all the flexibility of a true database and create pie, bar, line, or area charts from the results, creating an almost dashboard-like access to up-to-date business intelligence. The charts can then be published to the Web with the Instant Web Publishing function. Users can also set up Quick Reports in a familiar spreadsheet-like table format, complete with subtotals and totals.

For collaboration, FileMaker Pro 11 has added a Snapshot Link feature, which collects a specific set of records at a specific time, including their layout and sort order. The person who set up the Snapshot Link can then e-mail it to any other FileMaker 11 user, who can retrieve the records and edit them, with changes being written back into the database. Another feature that helps keep data up to date is a Recurring Import, which lets users set up an automatic import filter for Excel, CSV, or tab-delimited files. Every time the database is opened, the data is re-imported, ensuring that the database reflects the most current information. For example, sales people can update their totals in a spreadsheet daily, and FileMaker will always load the latest version.

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To help users get up to speed with the new features, FileMaker Pro 11 comes with more than 30 Starter Solutions, prebuilt database frameworks for handling common business tasks -- invoicing and preparing expense reports, for example. The Starter Solutions are more than just templates, they're fully customizable databases with the relationships already built in. Further help comes from the new Quick Find feature, which lets users search across all fields for any term, wherever it appears.

Demonstration videos of these new features are available at the FileMaker site. There are new enhancements to the rest of the FileMaker line as well:

  • FileMaker Pro 11 Advanced adds customization tools and has a new interface for creating customized menus and an improved script debugger for fixing problems in scripts.
  • FileMaker Server 11 gets a new tool for diagnosing client issues and the ability to save an empty version of any database for troubleshooting.
  • FileMaker Server 11 Advanced removes the limit on how many users can simultaneously access a database and enables administrators to assign privileges to groups of users.

FileMaker Pro and ProAdvanced 11 work with Windows XO, Vista, and 7, or with Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard (full system requirements here). FileMaker Pro 11 costs $299 with a $179 upgrade price; FileMaker Pro 11 Advanced is $499/$299 upgrade; Server 11 is $999/$599 upgrade; and Server 11 Advanced is $2,999/$1,799 upgrade. FileMaker 8 and 8.5 users can take advantage of the upgrade pricing through September 23.

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