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FileMaker delivers databases over the Web

Apr 21, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* FileMaker Pro 7

FileMaker is one of the long-term industry survivors because its eponymous product has always been seen as providing good value for money, is stable and is easy to use. The latest release of FileMaker Pro, Version 7, is worth a look for its many improvements. These include a better security model that allows you to define access privileges for users and groups down to which individual fields in a table can be edited, are read-only, or invisible for each user or category of user; enhanced scripting features; plus a new table model.

One of the features that really impressed me was the Instant Web Publishing (IWP) subsystem that was redesigned for this release. IWP was first released in FileMaker Version 4 but the service has been significantly improved in this release.

You simply define your database and from the “Edit|Sharing|Instant Web Publishing” menu item you enable the IWP service. If there is a port-use conflict, change the port FileMaker will use (the product includes its own Web server), select from the currently open files that are to be published and finally configure user access privileges. You can also choose whether an IWP homepage that lists all available databases should be generated. Press OK and after a few seconds, you have Web access to your database.

FileMaker also supports importing and exporting XML content, a feature that when combined with IWP, makes for a very interesting development environment.

FileMaker Developer 7 builds on FileMaker Pro 7 by adding database schema and options documentation. It also supports custom functions, includes a built-in debugger, and offers the ability to generate stand-alone, royalty-free runtime or kiosk-based solutions that do not require a FileMaker application. 

Additional flavors of the software that are due to ship this summer include:

* FileMaker Server 7, which offers support for up to 250 simultaneous users, unattended scheduled database backup, hosting of up to 125 databases, encryption of data transfers between hosted databases and clients and support for external user authentication through industry standard protocols.

* FileMaker Server 7 Advanced, which adds the ability to share data with Web clients using XML and XSLT, support up to 100 simultaneous Web user-sessions and FileMaker Pro clients, ODBC and JDBC sessions.

* FileMaker Mobile 7, for Palm and Pocket PC devices.

FileMaker Pro 7 is priced at $299; FileMaker Developer 7 at $499. Prices for FileMaker Server 7, FileMaker Server 7 Advanced, and FileMaker Mobile 7 have not been announced yet.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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