Upgrade keeps it simple but adds sophistication
There is no question that FileMaker Pro is the king of the mid-range databases, and is still one of the easiest applications.
This new version is a major upgrade that puts FileMaker Pro significantly ahead of all the competition.
It can now support up to eight terabytes of data; tables (the life-blood of relational databases) are handled with far more sophistication than before; security has been beefed up, and the version also supports Unicode.
I converted a database of Chinese characters into FileMaker Pro 7, but the characters all came up as gibberish. Thanks to Unicode, I was able to rescue the database by converting that field into Unicode characters and then importing the data into a new field.
The new field was flawlessly recreated, and one character that had never been displayed properly was now visible - an added bonus.
One feature that is bound to interest users is 'Instant Web Publishing'. The process of making the database available cannot be done more easily: a few clicks of the mouse and you can log into the database from a web browser. For serious needs, one would have to tweak the interface. But to get something up and running quickly, one cannot imagine a simpler process.
This is a truly wonderful product for those who need a serious database that can be administered with great ease.
FileMaker Pro 7
Price: $2,330, or $1,160 for the upgrade
Pros: Most significant upgrade yet. Still the easiest database to use, hundreds of new features, huge storage capacity
Cons: Converting from a previous version can be difficult if there is Chinese; some advanced features still missing. Cannot be used as an ODBC or JDBC data source on Mac OS X