FileMaker Pro is a cross-platform relational database application from FileMaker Inc. (a subsidiary of Apple Inc.). It is noted for the integration of the database engine with the GUI-based interface, which allows users to modify the database by dragging new elements into the layouts/screens/forms that provide the user interface. This results in a "quasi-object" development environment that sets it apart from other commercial databases.
FileMaker was one of a handful of database applications released for the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s.
FileMaker is available for both the Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems and can be networked simultaneously to a mixed Windows and Mac OS X user base. FileMaker is also scalable, being offered in desktop, server, and web-delivery configurations.
With the introduction of the Macintosh, Nashoba combined the basic data engine with a new forms-based GUI, creating a program that was dramatically easier to use. Leading Edge was not interested in the product, preferring to remain a DOS-only vendor, and kept the Nutshell name. Nashoba found another distributor, Forethought Inc., and introduced it to the Mac market as “FileMaker.” When the Macintosh Plus was introduced, the next version of FileMaker was named “FileMaker Plus” to reflect the computer’s name.
Forethought Inc. was purchased by Microsoft, which was then introducing a series of products that are today the core of Microsoft Office. Microsoft had introduced its own database application, Microsoft File, shortly before FileMaker but it was outsold by FileMaker and was withdrawn from the market. Microsoft negotiated with Nashoba for the right to publish FileMaker, but Nashoba decided to self-publish “FileMaker 4”.
Shortly thereafter, Apple Computer formed Claris, a wholly owned subsidiary, to market software. Within months they had purchased Nashoba to round out their software suite. By that time, Leading Edge and Nutshell had faded from the marketplace because of competition from other DOS and later Windows platform database products. FileMaker, however, continued to succeed on the Macintosh platform.
Claris changed the name to “FileMaker II” in order to be compatible with the naming of their other products, such as MacWrite II, but the product was changed little from the last Nashoba version. Several seemingly randomly numbered minor versions followed, and things finally settled down with the release of “FileMaker Pro” 1.0 in 1990. At this point, FileMaker was still a Mac OS–only application.
A significant milestone in FileMaker’s history came with the release in September 1992 of a multiplatform version. Except for few platform-specific functionalities, a “solution” (as FileMaker Pro databases are called) looks and feels the same in Windows as on a Mac. This gave it a very strong position in the marketplace and continues to be one of its key advantages. The following version 3.0, released around 1995, was a significant upgrade with new relational and scripting features.
By 1995 FileMaker was the only strong-selling product in Claris’s lineup. In 1998, Apple moved development of some of the other Claris products in house, dropped most of the rest, and renamed Claris to “FileMaker, Inc.” to further develop and market FileMaker.
Version 4.0, introduced in 1997, added a plug-in architecture much like Photoshop, which provided for third-party developers to add various non-native functionalities to FileMaker. A bundled plug-in was the Web Companion, which allowed the database to act as a web server; other “plugs” add new features to the interface or allow FileMaker to act as an FTP client, perform external file operations, and send messages to remote FileMaker files over internet or intranet.
Since its emergence from the Apple fold, FileMaker Inc. has invested substantially in software development. Version 7 of FileMaker Pro, released in March 2004, supported file sizes of up to 8 terabytes (up from 2 gigabytes in previous versions). Individual fields could hold up to 2 gigabytes (up from 64 kilobytes in previous versions) and FileMaker’s relational model was enriched, offering multiple tables per file and a graphical relationship editor which displayed (and allowed manipulation of) related tables in a form which in some respects resembled the familiar “entity-relationship diagram” format. With this change, FileMaker Inc. also introduced a worldwide developer certification program in recognition of the growing numbers of professional developers working with FileMaker.
FileMaker 8 offered the developer an expanded feature set. One feature is the tabbed interface, which allows the user to easily create a multi-tabbed layout. Script variables, tooltips, enhanced debug features, custom menus, and the ability to copy and paste entire tables and field definitions, scripts, and script steps within and between files all increase FileMaker's reputation as a rapid development environment.
Version 8.5, released July 10, 2006, added an integrated web viewer (the ability to directly view such things as shipment tracking information from Federal Express and Wikipedia entries) and Named Layout Objects.
Until recently, each table of a FileMaker database system was stored as a separate file (with relational links to other files) and each file had its own built-in interface capabilities. Version 7 introduced the capability to build multiple tables into one document. Compared to other RDBMS products, it is fairly easy to develop quickly and to make changes on the fly as the data structure is altered. More complex systems may introduce some separation between interface and data files and FileMaker provides the flexibility to accommodate this.
A substantial body of professional FileMaker developers has grown up around the product and provides the expertise required for complex systems and implementations. A certification program was introduced by FileMaker Inc. in 2004 to provide differentiation of professionals in the field. FileMaker also provides an interface (API) for integration of third-party tools, making it highly extensible. In addition there are a variety of web publishing options suited to both low-end and larger scale project requirements.
|Apr. 1985||FileMaker, v1.0||Forethought Inc.|
|Oct. 1986||FileMaker Plus, v2.1|
|June 1988||FileMaker 4, v4||Nashoba Systems|
|Aug. 1988||FileMaker II, v 1.0|
|July 1989||FileMaker II, version 1.1v2|
|Oct. 1990||FileMaker Pro 1.0v1||Claris Corporation|
|Mar. 1991||FileMaker Pro 1.0v2|
|Apr. 1992||FileMaker Pro 1.0v3|
|Oct. 1992||FileMaker Pro 2.0v1||First Multi-platform (Macintosh and Windows) version|
|Nov. 1992||FileMaker Pro 2.0v2|
|Mar. 1993||FileMaker Pro 2.0v3|
|Apr. 1993||FileMaker Pro 2.0v4|
|Aug. 1993||FileMaker Pro 2.1v1|
|Feb. 1994||FileMaker Pro 2.1v2|
|July 1994||FileMaker Pro 2.1v3/SDK 2.1|
|July 1994||FileMaker Pro Server 2.0v|
|July 1994||FileMaker Pro SDK 2.1v1|
|Mar. 1995||FileMaker Pro Server 2.1v1|
|Dec. 1995||FileMaker Pro 3.0v1||Relational architecture, TCP/IP networking introduced|
|Jan. 1996||FileMaker Pro Server 3.0v1|
|Jan. 1996||FileMaker Pro 3.0v2|
|June 1996||FileMaker Pro 3.0v3|
|June 1996||FileMaker Pro 3.0v4|
|June 1996||FileMaker Pro SDK 3.0v1|
|Sep. 1997||FileMaker Pro 4.0v1||Plug-in architecture introduced|
|May. 1998||FileMaker Pro 4.0 Developer Edition||Aimed at expert/professional FileMaker user|
|June 1999||FileMaker Pro 4.1v2||FileMaker, Inc.|
|Sep. 1999||FileMaker Pro 5.0v1|
|Nov. 1999||FileMaker Server 5.0v1|
|Apr 2001||FileMaker Pro 5.5v1||Built-in support for Mac OS X|
|July 2001||FileMaker Server 5.5v1|
|Sep. 2002||FileMaker Pro 6.0v1|
|Mar. 2004||FileMaker Pro 7.0v1|| Multiple tables/file architecture introduced;|
entity relationship diagrams;
|May 2004||FileMaker Server 7.0v1|
|May 2004||FileMaker Pro 7.0v2|
|Sep. 2004||FileMaker Server 7.0v2|
|Oct. 2004||FileMaker Pro 7.0v3|
|Aug. 2005||FileMaker Pro 8.0v1||Scriptable creation of PDF reports; script variables|
|Aug. 2005||FileMaker Pro Advanced 8.0v1|
|Sep. 2005||FileMaker Server 8.0v1|
|Dec. 2005||FileMaker Pro 8.0v2|
|Dec. 2005||FileMaker Pro Advanced 8.0v2|
|Jan. 2006||FileMaker Server Advanced 8.0v1|
|Jan. 2006||FileMaker Mobile 8|
|Apr. 2006||FileMaker Pro 8.0v3|
|Apr. 2006||FileMaker Pro Advanced 8.0v3|
|Apr. 2006||FileMaker Server 8.0v3|
|Apr. 2006||FileMaker Server Advanced 8.0v3|
|July 2006||FileMaker Pro 8.5v1|| Mac OS X Universal Binary Support;|
Embedded browser (Web Viewer)
|July 2006||FileMaker Pro Advanced 8.5v1||Mac OS X Universal Binary Support|
|July 2006||FileMaker Server 8.0v4||Mac OS X Universal Binary Support|
|Mar. 2007||FileMaker Pro Advanced 8.5v2||Windows Vista Support|
|July 2007||FileMaker 9||Native support for the SQL databases MS SQL, MySQL and Oracle.|
|Sep 2007||FileMaker Server & Server Advanced 9.0v2 Update||Web Publishing Bug Fixes|
|Nov 2007||FileMaker & Filemaker Advanced 9.0v2 Update||Bug Fixes|
|Dec 2007||FileMaker & Filemaker Advanced 9.0v3 Update||Bug Fixes|
|Feb 2008||FileMaker Server & Server Advanced 9.0v3 Update||Mac OS X Server 10.5 (Leopard) Support|
|Mar 2008||FileMaker Server 188.8.131.526 and Server 184.108.40.2066 Advanced Update||Bug Fixes|
FileMaker files are compatible between Mac and Windows. File type extensions are
Self running applications (runtime, kiosk mode) are platform specific only.
There are specific versions of FileMaker for Central European, Middle Eastern and Indian users. These versions are available from WinSoft , FileMaker’s Internationalization and localization partner.
FileMaker Pro 9 also includes the support of “cocoAspell” tool (Mac OS X interface for Aspell) from Mac OS 10.4.x for Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Croatian, Turkish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Greek.
|BASIC||.BAS||Import/export from/to Microsoft BASIC|
|ClarisWorks||.CWK/.CWS||Import or conversion from databases created in ClarisWorks.|
|Comma-separated Text||.CSV/.TXT||For import from/export to BASIC programs|
|DBF||.DBF||For import/export with dBASE III or dBASE IV.|
|DIF||.DIF||For import/export with spreadsheets (like MS Excel).|
|Microsoft Excel||.XLS||For import or conversion of Microsoft Excel data.|
|FileMaker Pro||.FP5, .FP3, .FM||Import from FileMaker Pro 3.0-5.0 and export to FileMaker Pro 5.|
|HTML Table||.HTM||Export for a web site in form of a relational database table.|
|ODBC||For imports from other data sources, and to make FileMaker Pro a data accessible.|
|Tabbed text||.TAB/.TXT||Import or conversion from/export to most of the existing programs.|
|Lotus 1-2-3||.WK1/.WKS||For data exchange with Lotus 1-2-3 & other spreadsheet applications.|