Today FileMaker launched their new FileMaker 17 platform. This highly awaited platform update comes with many additions. We wanted to share some of our favourite features and explain how they can benefit you or your organization.
In short: FileMaker 17 allows us to build faster by using templates
For the novice:
New starting point options:
- New basic starter apps
- Template tables e.g. contacts, tasks, events etc
- A new look for the file explorer
For the experienced:
- When leveraging a file’s default XML for schema objects, FileMaker now provides facility to edit what tables, fields and even layout objects will appear when creating new files and base tables. The means less preparation work is required when beginning a new project.
- Default Fields – New files and tables will benefit with the addition of default fields. These are essential fields any good system should have them as standard in every table, starting with record IDs and logging information.
- Add-on Tables – via the highly employed portal feature you can add new tables to display records from. You can select a template ‘table type’ while doing so. FileMaker will create typical fields that would be used in such a table (e.g. Contacts, Companies, People, Addresses etc…), as well as buttons and even a basic script. You also wouldn’t need to open any component management tools to do so!
The above features should serve as good time-saving resources!
Other new development features:
Fewer floating windows; Objects, Fields and the Inspector are now attached to the main layout window (on the left and right respectively) when in Layout Mode.
FileMaker can now display records in a portal from the same table the layout is based on, without the need to create self relationships. The portal will show a list of records from the table you are browsing, allowing the user to select one from the list and instantly see corresponding record details via fields placed elsewhere on the form layout. The result being a ‘master-detail’ view with the portal list being the ‘master’ and the remaining layout-area fields showing the ‘detail’.
This functionality in itself isn’t new but for the developer it means a tidier relationship diagram and simplified context management so it’s definitely welcome.
This can be used in calculations that need to determine whether the record being evaluated is active or not, useful for conditional object display.
Returns a unique, 24-byte number. When used for ids this can improve performance for operations based on relationships
In short: There is a new data migration tool
Go from days to hours or hours to minutes when importing large data sets. This new time-saving command-line tool helps you update your deployed custom apps quicker.
Feature level: Advanced
This is a first from FileMaker and gives development/support teams an official FileMaker tool to migrate customer solution data to a new system version. The tool in some ways appears simple as it’s command line only, but it has proved effective in our testing and simple but effective tools is exactly what support teams want.
In short: There is improved disconnection handling
Temporary network disconnects will not necessarily mean that the file automatically needs to close, allowing the user to continue while the connection is restored.
In short: Apps to apps – it can connect to almost any API enabled system
There is extensive new API functionality. Includes extensive new API functions, which mean that FileMaker solutions can be built to be more connected and interactive than ever before.
This comes in two forms:
Admin API (trial)
The Admin API allows administrators to send control commands and read status information for the FileMaker server Admin Console remotely. This could be of benefit when adminstering multiple servers. Imagine being able to build a control deck that manages all of your client servers in one resource. This is now entirely possible.
Data API (no longer a trial)
Not only is it now the full version but there are key new features; support for calling server scripts and the ability to upload files to container fields. The API has been standardised making it easier to work with and get connected to other apps and API sources.
This is a powerful feature that opens up so many connectivity options, but, should be used with care.
In short: FileMaker 17 can automatically collect sensor information with its new sensor support feature.
Automatically collect data on iPad and iPhone with the new sensor support feature. Using a new calculation function, your mobile apps can capture information from iOS sensors in your iPad or iPhone device including location, air pressure, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, barometer, and battery level.
New function: GetSensor
Capture information from an iOS devices sensors (the device would need to be running FileMaker Go, or custom app equivalent). This function can capture information related to:
- Magnetic (compass)
- Step counts
- Air Pressure
…so clearly this opens up lots of new possibilities!
Other new mobile features:
iOS App Software Development Kit (SDK): improved message handling
iOS SDK allows developers to turn FileMaker solutions into fully native apps with custom launch icons on iOS devices. The resulting app would work just like your database equivalent FM Go but with a more bespoke experience. FileMaker has improved Receiver Message (application status and activity) handling features for iOSAppSDK developers
This will now function like FileMaker Pro for text fields and value lists.
Developers may now utilise a script step designed to invoke (or schedule) an iOS notification when an event happens and FM Go is running in the background.
In short: FileMaker 17 includes brute force attack prevention.
- Account lockout
- Ability to protect against brute force and dictionary attacks
- Temporarily lock after a few sign-in attempts
We are always happy to discuss whether a FileMaker system could be the right solution for your specific business situation and needs, or to discuss potential updates and improvements to your existing system. Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.