Claris FileMaker Pro 19 came out on May 20 2020. Because I work on the databases of my clients, I carefully evaluate new FileMaker versions on copies of the originals. Almost all my work is done from FileMaker Pro when connected to a FileMaker database on a server even if that server is just another Mac in my office. I’m enthused about any new version of FileMaker Pro as I can count on it being better, easier to use, faster and more secure than the last. If you are on your own running a FileMaker database on your Mac or PC, back up your database at least twice on different drives, then test a copy of your DB with FileMaker 19. Test the important stuff including printing invoices and other essential documents.
FileMaker 19 is good to go!
After my extensive testing, I believe FileMaker 19 is your best option. It’s not too early. Don’t get me wrong, I am picky and cautious about my customers’ databases. Everything needs to work. The price for a single user upgrade from FileMaker 16 or higher is $197. A new version outright is $540. Claris.com has a Pricing link in tiny type at the top of the page. Yes, you can download a free 45-day trial version too. Also, remember that your FileMaker databases are accessible from iPhones and iPads.
FileMaker Server 19
The only “bad” thing I have to say about FileMaker Server 19 is that it only supports FileMaker Pro 18 and 19. That’s kind of stringent, but then you can upgrade from FileMaker Pro 16 or higher all the way to 19 and get Claris’s really affordable upgrade pricing.
I had been running FileMaker Server 17 and was a little reluctant to jump up to FileMaker 19 because I didn’t want to require my clients to be on at least FileMaker 18 (during development, I often have client databases on my server) . Since I had our own Studio Manager product and a fun genealogy product in development on that FM17 Server, I couldn’t access them from FileMaker 19 like I wanted. So, pandemic be damned, last week I carved out time to upgrade the server to 19 and convinced my client who was on FM16 to upgrade. One more to go…
FileMaker 19 Server was pretty easy and quick to install. It kind of takes care of things for you during the installation (almost a FileMaker Server installer for dummies).You do need to export settings from your previous FileMaker Server if you have one and uninstall that previous FM Server and read up a little on that. I wasn’t sure it was going to work and pushed ahead AFTER I made a Superduper backup of my Mac mini with FM Server 17 installed first. FM 19 Server requires a minimum of macOS 14 – Mojave which I had. So, you’ll need another solution if you have users on older Macs who need to get to your server.
I’m on a Mac, which you may know as my largest customer industry segment is creative services. That’s not likely to change since I have a really nice, customizable FileMaker product called Studio Manager focused on creative services business requirements. Since at this point there are many more PC-based FileMaker users than there are Mac users, Claris takes really good care of them. So, even though, I don’t have a PC, I am not at all worried that the PC version of FileMaker 19 won’t be as good as the Mac version.
I’m even thinking about buying a PC laptop for testing (OK, maybe a little gaming, but don’t tell the IRS). If anyone can enthusiastically recommend a high quality PC laptop, please let me know. I’m in the market for one.
My Mac mini server is running Mojave. Although I’ve had temptations to upgrade to Catalina which I’m already on because I bought a new MacBook Pro this year. But, you’ll find me lagging a little bit so that I can stay compatible with my average client who is only on the bleeding edge of a new OS when it comes installed on their machine or they are forced to upgrade for some reason.
FileMaker Pro 18 is very, very good, though. And I didn’t do a blog post about it last year. I moved in the last couple years – now in Novato, CA. Think of it that way. But I’m back. And I still recommend that you be on FileMaker Pro 18 at minimum by Fall. Waiting until the pandemic ends might be a bit of a slog at this point. I say enjoy the time you have left get this great and powerful version of FileMaker – 19!
One last thing for my Studio Manager customers who may be reading this. I have to say that Studio Manager 18 will make you very happy running on FileMaker 19. Every new Studio Manager version is upgraded to take advantage of new features in FileMaker. FileMaker 19 is not required, but highly recommended.