Author Archives: janet

FileMaker 17 was Released this Morning May 15 2018

Basics

Here we go! If you are reading this on May 15, keep in mind that information and clarity is still in short supply as FileMaker 17 rolls out. I’m doing lots of web surfing, have been testing the beta version and reading the help but I’m not 100% sure on every point yet. So, take your time before you press the Buy button and whip out your credit card. I may have an update within a couple days with some refinements to a few points by then. I just want to give you the best I got today so those who have been waiting for this new release can starting figuring out your plans and budgets.

Excited but Professionally Cautious on Day 1. I am excited to announce this new more powerful version of FileMaker’s family of related FileMaker products. It is great fun to play with this brand new upgraded tool but we do so while taking professional cautions – we duplicate our existing files as test versions for experimentation, leaving our FileMaker 16 systems in place.  We need to know all this new version can do and we do so with the caution you use when one’s business data and database tools are involved.

Our client work using FileMaker 17 is going to have to wait for at least a few weeks and often we prefer months to learn about and evaluate new features. We will publish what we learn in experiments and if issues are discovered in running FileMaker 17. We’ll advise on when it might make sense for those of you who are wanting to upgrade from an older version in order to get access to the many new features that have accrued while you ran your older version of FileMaker.

Why wait to upgrade? One example. There are lots of different printers out there and those printers are relied upon to print important business and personal documents. Printer drivers for older or more exotic printers may lag in keeping compatible with the latest technology releases. We now often use digital equivalents like PDFs, but those sometimes dated printer drivers are used when PDFs are generated also.

In the world of FileMaker 17, FileMaker Pro 17 does not technically exist

Instead, you have FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced which is the upgrade of FileMaker Pro 16 Advanced with the added capacity to optionally deactivate the Advanced features. Doing so means that you then essentially operate as if you were running FileMaker Pro (which no longer exists as standalone software).

In larger installations, especially, you may want to deactivate some of the advanced features for your average users and keep the full version turned on for those who are more advanced. I haven’t tried out this deactivation process and or reactivation should one wish to turn the advanced features back on. I’ll certainly will be trying that in the next few days and will report back as I learn more or read experiences elsewhere.

Recommended: read the FAQ from FileMaker regarding licensing. Here you will learn the difference between FileMaker Concurrent Connections Licensing and FileMaker User Licensing, among other things.

Pricing

Teams Cloud (FileMaker Cloud)

Filemaker Cloud runs on Amazon servers (AWS) rather than on hardware in your own shop (or a boutique FileMaker Server somewhere offsite). Pretty cool, but I’ll skip this for now except to say: this is complicated enough that I’m not yet ready to try to break it down. If you are interested in this option, you can get to details from the filemaker.com/filemaker-cloud.

Teams Server (On Premise) Annual

The minimum is 5 users. I’m showing you the annual pricing for 1 user for 1 month. You actually pay for a year but they quote the cost as a per user per month. Just to help with the math, let’s say you have 5 users, it would cost you 5 * 12 months * $15 = $900 per year and you get FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced, plus FileMaker Server. FileMaker Go access etc.. The Perpetual tab lets you buy once, kind of like traditional FileMaker, and upgrade again at some future date. It costs 3 times the price of Annual (in this example $2700). This is fair as a 3 year wait between upgrades isn’t unusual for a lot of shops.

Teams Server (On Premise) Perpetual

This is buying FileMaker Server bundled with a fixed number of users (you can probably buy more users later), but what it doesn’t do is buy you any upgrades. You’ll need to upgrade the whole team at some future date and pay accordingly. This only makes financial sense if you are confident you’ll want to run the same version (in this case 17) for more than 3 years without upgrading. Otherwise, you get flexibility and cash flow paying annually and getting the upgrade each time along the way if you want it.

Individual Perpetual 3-User Example Works Especially Well for Upgraders

If you are upgrading with fewer than 5 users (say, 3), you are in luck. You can upgrade if you own FileMaker Pro 14, 15 or 16. The price to upgrade for an single user is $197. This is a one-time purchase – no automatic upgrading involved. The full purchase price is another matter. It’s $540, which is what you would expect to pay for purchasing FileMaker Pro Advanced. If you are 3 Users purchasing Full Individual Licenses, that’s $1620 which is worth your while to get into this database information party when you have the need. The time you’ll save and information you’ll gain with a good database will quickly pay for itself.

But if you are 3 users in size, have FileMaker Pro 14 or higher and want to Upgrade this gets downright cheap. You are good with a deal that’s about what upgrading to just regular FileMaker would cost you previously. 3 individuals * $197 = $597.

No FileMaker Server with this Individual Option. You don’t get FileMaker Server in this deal which is unfortunate, but maybe you can live without it for the good price. My tests showed I could do peer to peer file sharing. This means 1 of the 3 FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced Macs or PCs functions as the host for the other 2 users. Look for updates to this post for certainty or call FileMaker or read some more FileMaker 17 articles. FileMaker Pro Advanced can host up to 5 users. There are complications when you do this, so exercise caution. Every version that I know of recommends that you don’t deploy a regular Mac or PC to serve as host if it is actively running all sorts of other software as not only does the performance take a hit for those sharing but there’s a greater chance the Mac/PC will crash and possibly damage your database in the process. You should have a great daily backup process in place at minimum when one of the Macs or PCs is the host and all 3 are actively used in multiple ways.

Changes

FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced can connect to the following hosts:

  • FileMaker Server 17, 16, and 15
  • FileMaker Pro 17, 16, and 15 Advanced
  • FileMaker Pro 16 and 15
  • FileMaker Cloud 1.17 and 1.16
  • The latest updates must be applied to the above software before hosting FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced apps.

FileMaker Pro Advanced 17 will not run on FileMaker Server 14 or earlier

  • We’ve been a bit slow to upgrade ourselves and need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 15 or higher to use FileMaker Pro 17 Advanced
  • Because we support customers using a wide range of FileMaker versions, we are conservative about upgrading the OS X versions we run. FileMaker Server 17 requires OS X 10.12 Sierra or higher and we are on the fence as to whether we want the Mac mini 2012 we use to run Sierra yet. For those of you who have a Mac mini 2012, at least, we are good through High Sierra at least. But you also know that every advance of the OS obsoletes some apps you may only use occasionally, but might like as they are.
  • We hope to do this update today and plan on going to FileMaker Server 16 to be able to experiment with FileMaker Pro Adv 17 with experimental versions of Studio Manager and our TCG FileMaker Database. FileMaker Server 16 will work well with FileMaker Pro Advanced 17 and FileMaker Pro 16 which we use as our daily driver.

FileMaker Server 17:

As usual, a new FileMaker Server 17 is part of the release and it is more tightly integrated with FileMaker Pro Advanced and FileMaker Go than ever before. Don’t go live with multi-user databases hosted by either of these new applications immediately. I recommend that you be prudent. Keep learning, follow this blog and also the FileMaker website for more details.

FileMaker Server 17 supports the following clients:

    • FileMaker Pro 16 and 15
    • FileMaker Pro 17, 16, and 15 Advanced
    • FileMaker Go 17, 16, and 15
    • Apps created using iOS App SDK 17, 16, and 15

Lots more to say. Expect further updates.

FileMaker Pro OSX and Windows Operating System Requirements by Version

filemaker_osx_windows_requirements_cropped

Recently I discovered this great page on the FileMaker Inc. site that I thought would be useful to many. The above screenshot is just the top part of this long table on the FileMaker Site that goes back to FileMaker Pro 5.5 amazingly enough.

Since individuals and firms often have Macs and PCs of different vintages, it might take some time to figure out if any computers need to be replaced or updated to accommodate a particular version of FileMaker Pro. In my case most of my clients are Mac-based, but lots of the firms I work with have at least one PC somewhere and they want to use it too.

Since I need this information, I copied and formatted the information into an Apple note in my FileMaker folder, so I could always have access to it. I hope you find this table helpful too. You could always just stash the URL above somewhere handy like I did at the top of my Apple Note.

FileMaker Pro and Server 15 Updates Make for macOS Sierra Compatibility

See the details over at my Studio Manager blog: FileMaker Pro 15 Update Out – Cleared for macOS Sierra.

For myself, I’m waiting a while. Since I often help clients move from older versions of FileMaker Pro to newer versions, I like being compatible with as many versions of FileMaker as possible and that is dictated by which OS your are running.

It also never hurts to be conservative about new software where a mission critical database is concerned. See my blog post above for more details on these considerations.

FileMaker Pro 14 Update will address El Capitan Compatibility Issues

FileMaker 14 Update in the Works

FileMaker Inc. announced today that they are working on an update

FileMaker, Inc. is planning to release updates to address compatibility issues with OS X El Capitan as well as other general bug fixes. FileMaker, recommends that you wait for these updates before using FileMaker with OS X El Capitan.

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on when that update is expected to be released. I’ve so far heard mixed reviews from those using FileMaker 14 on the El Capitan Gold Master. Some have had good luck. Others warn of danger damaging files. So, I would take FileMaker Inc.’s advice and wait for this impending upgrade to FileMaker 14.

FileMaker 13 and Prior Versions of FileMaker Pro

FileMaker Inc. also had something to say about prior versions of FileMaker Pro:

FileMaker 13 and earlier versions of FileMaker have not been tested or certified with OS X El Capitan).  These products were developed and released before OS X El Capitan became available.

While these earlier versions may install and run, you may encounter installation and stability issues for which there is no resolution.

My experience on previous OS X Upgrades and FileMaker is that this is likely to be the last official word from FileMaker Inc. on these pre-14 versions of FileMaker.

I will be keeping up on this issue informally with other FileMaker consultants and developers to determine the safety of running prior versions of FileMaker under OS X 10.11 El Capitan. As I mentioned in the previous post today, it may work to run FileMaker 13 and prior as a guest under El Capitan but may never work safely running earlier versions of FileMaker under El Capitan. FileMaker Inc. won’t commit to the safety of such an undertaking.

I advise you to avoid upgrading a Mac to El Capitan if you need to run your own FileMaker files locally on that computer. Around Tokerud Consulting Group, we have Macs all the way back to one of the first Mac minis that can still run OS 9 Classic so that we can help folks who need to convert their FileMaker systems from all the way back to FileMaker II 1.0.

FileMaker Pro Users need to wait on OS X El Capitan Upgrades

FileMaker Pro 14?

Upgrading to OS X El Capitan might be the fun and exciting thing to do today – Day 1. It’s free and your Mac probably supports it. But, we don’t have a go ahead on FileMaker Pro 14 from FileMaker Inc. yet (10:20 am PDT). Sometime within a week and possibly later today, we may hear whether FileMaker Pro 14 is certified to run under OS X El Capitan. But please read on.

FileMaker Go 14 just got an update to 14v3 yesterday and is now FileMaker-certified good to go with iOS 9 and even supports Split View and Slide Over in iOS 9.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see FileMaker Pro 14 get an update to 14.0.3 soon which would very likely be required for OS X El Capitan.

FileMaker Pro 13?

I think the chances are less than 50-50 that FileMaker Pro 13 will be certified for OS X El Capitan. Yes, Apple owns FileMaker, Inc. So, we might want them to support FileMaker Pro 13 on the brand new shiny OS X El Capitan. I’m with you but the kind of people who want to upgrade to OS X El Capitan on day one might also be the kind who already have FileMaker Pro 14 which came out in early May.

FileMaker Pro 11?

Don’t be silly! But, FileMaker Pro 11 is a very popular version of FileMaker and there are still quite a few installations out there. I have found that as a client of a FileMaker Server 11 or even FileMaker Server 10, I have been able to run FileMaker Pro 11 on OS X Yosemite Macs.

Caution is the Word

Don’t be adventurous with your precious FileMaker data today. You can always check FileMaker.com’s Knowledge base and search for OS X El Capitan to see what the official word is at any point in time.

FileMaker 14 is Rocking

FileMaker 14 was released on May 13 2015. After working with it on a trial basis for a few weeks, we’ve switched over and are using it to develop our Studio Manager 14 product for creative services businesses. We are hoping to deliver that release by the end of this month.

This is a very balanced release, but perhaps will please those who develop FileMaker databases the most. There are a ton of features that make it possible to create great-looking, powerful and easy to use systems quickly. We are having a lot of fun taking advantage of FileMaker 14 with our individual clients and with Studio Manager.

FileMaker Inc. is not ignoring the FileMaker user by any means though. Things move quicker and operate more easily in FileMaker 14.

FileMaker 14 is easy for developers. But what if you aren’t someone who wants to get under the hood with FileMaker yourself? You still have good news because it means you can get tweaks and custom work done on the cheap.

FileMaker Web Direct lets you develop in FIleMaker and deliver your database to anyone with a web browser. Now Android users can access FIleMaker databases via Web Direct as well.

I’ve written up my favorites about FileMaker 14 on my tokerud.com FileMaker page. That’s the page where I keep my favorites for each version of FileMaker so that you can see what you will get when going from a previous version of FIleMaker up a notch or two or three.

FileMaker Pro 13 Compatible with OS X Yosemite

Yosemite_FileMaker13

FileMaker Pro 13 and FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced are compatible with OS X Yosemite according to FileMaker Inc.: help.filemaker.com. FileMaker Server 13 is not shown as compatible. So we would expect an update of FileMaker Server 13 within 30 days or so.

There are minor known graphical interface issues so far and we quote:

  • Possible crash if the Add Relationship dialog is moved while creating a self-joining relationship in join graph.
  • In join graph, mouse cursor changes its shape when it’s moved over a TO or text note even though a modal dialog is being displayed.
  • The first item in lists is scrolled out of the visible area when the following dialogs are opened: Manage Database, Import Script, Manage Scripts and Manage Layouts.
  • The Sample Color tool does not work when invoked via right clicking on a field and picking “fill” from the contextual menu.
  • Video launched from an interactive container and played in full screen mode will be enlarged rather than reduced, which may cause video content to be truncated.
  • Highlighted items in field drop down lists are rendered as black text that can be difficult to read.

It seems pretty clear looking at the FileMaker help on versions of FileMaker Pro prior to FileMaker Pro 13 is that FileMaker Inc. is not going to be able to afford to do thorough testing on these older versions to be able to provide assurances that all will be well in Yosemite.

Check to see if your version of FileMaker Pro will work with OS X Yosemite

OSXYosemiteIf you are using a FileMaker Pro database and want to continue doing so, don’t forget to check that your version of FileMaker Pro is compatible before you upgrade to OS X Yosemite or any other version of OS X above your current version. Here is the URL from filemaker.com.

As of 9:15 am, OS X Yosemite is not listed on FileMaker.com’s Compatibility web page. I hope to see Yosemite added to this list within 24 hours of the official Yosemite release — probably sooner. So check this page before upgrading.

If your current version of FileMaker Pro is not listed at all, you’ll want to wait longer and investigate filemaker forums and other means to determine the safety of using Yosemite.

Not the official word from FileMaker Inc. but MIT Information & Technology Knowledge base says the OSX Yosemite Gold Master 3 was OK for FileMaker Pro 13 but not for FileMaker Server 13 when I looked at it today.

Featuring Amelia Earhart in my Knowledger Project

Updated July 2. This is my Knowledger Filemaker Go 13 app as a work in progress. The final version will be simpler and more elegant but I haven’t had the time yet (- Mark Twain). But will do a little explaining about some of what I like here.

Knowledger Entry Screen Annotated

Knowledger is about collecting knowledge by entering topics – people, places or things and occasionally related information such as which groups (organizations, schools, businesses a person or thing is or was in. My groups file contains The Beatles, Harvard, Apple, Google, Danger and many more. Knowledge professionals and enthusiasts have projects and ideas that benefit from on-going attention. Knowledger is a means to carry your obsessions around with you and continuously learn about them and collect new ones.

Since FileMaker is customizable and scriptable and can open powerful URLs, it is a good place to build an app that can run on iOS, Mac, Windows or the web. Knowledger can then call on other native apps via the Open URL command to enhance its capabilities and become a very personal and personalized tool. I’ll list a few things I’ve done here to serve my knowledge work.

1. Creating and Storing Wikipedia PDFs for any topic with a few clicks. The lower left quadrant of this iPad entry screen shows a FileMaker web viewer pointed at the appropriate wikipedia page.

  • As you flip through your collection of people here, the appropriate wikipedia page is displayed.
  • Along the top of the web viewer are native FM buttons on the left that allow you to control the web viewer back, forward, reset and reload.
  • Along the top on the right is the button to send a wikipedia URL to Readdle’s PDF Converter app, addressing it as it likes with “pdf” preceding “http://”.
  • Click and you see your topic URL displayed in PDF Converter’s builtin web browser. One more click creates a PDF.
  • Then a click on Open in… allows you to select FileMaker and send that PDF to FileMaker’s directory returning to FileMaker where the PDF+ button at the top right of the screen will create a new record in Files for this person (Person# 135) and
  • Store that File# 1730 in this person record so that the big photo here is ready for an insert file from FileMaker Go by tapping the big picture frame. All of this could be automated further by connecting some steps with more advance URL schemes. I’m working on that.

2. This wonderful old photo of Amelia in all her flying regalia is added more quickly because of FileMaker’s direct relationship with the camera roll.

  • I use the Google button shown beneath the thumbnails to search for images of Amelia Earhart in Safari and just save the good ones to the camera roll.
  • Then click the Add Image button at the top of the screen to add it to Amelia’s files.

3. The 6 Thumbnails control which photo or file icon is enlarged for a better view.

  • Tap a thumbnail its set field button sets its associated file number as the selected file.
  • Files are stored in a separate FileMaker file with one table for all the photos, PDFs, Word docs, Excel files or whatever else you want to add.
  • That way Knowledger stays trim and can be backed up quickly and the files can be backed up less frequently. I haven’t started storing video or audio yet but that’s certainly a possibility.

4. The 3 Other App buttons: Wikipanion, IMDB and Terminology.

  • Any app that supports a URL scheme can be opened from within FileMaker Go.
  • I send my person, place or thing name over to the other app to get additional services.
  • These are great apps.
  • Terminology is one of the very powerful apps that has a huge variety of actions it can take on whatever text you send its way and that’s why it is here even though one usually doesn’t send people’s names to a dictionary. This dictionary can do back flips and is worth checking out and using.
  • It’s counterpart from the same maker, Agile Tortoise, Drafts, is similarly in powerful.
  • Launch Center Pro is another savvy app that might assist Knowledger in its mission.

5. Send Notes to Day One. Another App in play here is the superb journaling app: Day One. When you click the Day1 label to the left of the notes field, you send your note about the person, place or thing as an entry to Day One.

This app is getting to be really fun to use but still is my personal — as time permits — project. I’ve found that building a little app with the purpose of stretching FileMaker and FileMaker Go to their limits while serving my own personal interests is really working. I often discover things in this work that applies to my *real* Studio Manager product and to client projects.

I hope this little piece of FileMaker makes it out the door as a real product soon. Maybe seeing this screenshot gives you a few ideas of your own…

Converting Web Pages to PDFs in FileMaker Go 13

This is the update post to my original post last summer using FileMaker Go 12. Things have improved greatly in FileMaker Go 13. Updated June 22, 2014.

Use Open In… to put PDFs in your FileMaker directory on iOS

As I predicted, you can now capture PDFs into your FileMaker Go 13 directory. Whenever you encounter a PDF on your iPhone or iPad, you can use Open In… and select FileMaker Go 13. That will put a copy of the PDF in your FileMaker directory. Now just tap on your container field on your layout and grab the PDF out of your FileMaker directory.

PDF Converter

I’m still happily using PDF Converter from Readdle to convert web pages to PDFs. PDF Converter will also convert images or anything in your clipboard to PDF. If you are just creating a PDF on the fly and in a web browser like Safari, you just need to insert “PDF in front of the already there HTTP:// in the URL in your browser to send it to PDF Converter. From there, click convert and open in… to send that file to your favorite app.

Editing PDFs

You can now use Open In… from your FileMaker Go Container field to edit PDFs in your favorite PDF app. I like Readdle’s PDF Expert 5 a lot and regard it as your best option. Very slick. Annotate your PDF there and then open it back up in FileMaker Go. And insert it back into the container.

Generating Wikipedia PDFs with a Button

In my Knowledger product in development, I have a button for each kind of thing you are learning about called Create Wikipedia PDF. The button uses the Open URL script step to send the wikipedia URL plus the person, place or thing direct to PDF Converter and drops you there. Then you can inspect the wikipedia screen to see you go what you wanted and if so, click the convert button there. In a couple seconds depending on the length of the PDF, you’ll see your PDF with an Open In… action icon. That gives you the option of going to your favorite PDF annotation program if you are in the mood to annotate that PDF or to Open in… in Filemaker Go 13 to put it in FileMaker’s directory. You can then add the PDF to your knowledge record for later offline use and reference should you need it.

Where does FileMaker Go Go from Here?

The recently announced Extensions capability in iOS 8 announced at WWDC will allow FileMaker Go to work a lot better and more easily with other apps. This could be a big leap forward for those of us who like being able to customize what our iOS devices can do. If you want to see details on creating PDFs, go back to my original post for some scripting action.