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Filemaker Pro

File Maker Pro

F

ileMaker Pro is a cross-platform relational database application from FileMaker Inc., formerly Claris, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. It integrates a database engine with a GUI-based interface, allowing users to modify the database by dragging new elements into layouts, screens, or forms.

History

FileMaker began as a MS-DOS-based computer program named Nutshell. It was developed by Nashoba Systems of Concord, Massachusetts, around 1982 or 1983. Nutshell was distributed by Leading Edge, an electronics marketer that had recently started selling IBM PC-compatible computers.
With the introduction of the Macintosh, Nashoba combined the basic data engine with a new forms-based graphical user interface (GUI). Leading Edge was not interested in newer versions, preferring to remain a DOS-only vendor, and kept the Nutshell name. Nashoba found another distributor, Forethought Inc., and introduced the program on the Macintosh platform as FileMaker. When the Macintosh Plus was introduced, the next version of FileMaker was named FileMaker Plus to reflect the new model's name.
Forethought was purchased by Microsoft, which was then introducing their PowerPoint product that became part of Microsoft Office. Microsoft had introduced its own database application, Microsoft File, shortly before FileMaker, but it was outsold by FileMaker and Microsoft discontinued it. Microsoft negotiated with Nashoba for the right to publish FileMaker, but Nashoba decided to self-publish the next version, FileMaker 4.

Shortly thereafter, Apple Computer formed Claris, a wholly owned subsidiary, to market software. Claris purchased Nashoba to round out its software suite. By then, Leading Edge and Nutshell had faded from the marketplace because of competition from other DOS and later Windows platform database products. FileMaker, however, continued to succeed on the Macintosh platform.
Claris changed the product's name to FileMaker II to conform to its naming scheme for other products, such as MacWrite II, but the product was changed little from the last Nashoba version. Several minor versions followed, and things finally settled down with the release of FileMaker Pro 1.0 in 1990.
In September 1992, Claris released a multiplatform version for both the Mac and Windows. Except for few platform-specific functionalities, the program's features and user interface were the same on both platforms. Version 3.0, released around 1995, introduced new relational and scripting features.

By 1995 FileMaker was the only strong-selling product in Claris's lineup. In 1998, Apple moved development of some of the other Claris products in house, dropped most of the rest, and changed Claris's name to FileMaker, Inc., to concentrate on that product. Version 4.0, introduced in 1997, added a plug-in architecture much like that of Adobe Photoshop, which enabled third-party developers to add features to FileMaker. A bundled plug-in was the Web Companion, which allowed the database to act as a web server. Other "plugs" added features to the interface and enabled FileMaker to serve as an FTP client, perform external file operations, and send messages to remote FileMaker files over the Internet or an intranet. Version 7, released in 2004, introduced a new file format (file extension .fp7) supporting file sizes up to 8 terabytes (increased from 2 gigabytes in previous versions). Individual fields could hold up to 4 gigabytes of binary data (container fields) or 2 gigabytes of 2-byte Unicode text per record (up from 64 kilobytes in previous versions). FileMaker’s relational model was enriched, offering multiple tables per file and a graphical relationship editor that displayed and allowed manipulation of related tables in a manner that resembled the entity-relationship diagram format. Accompanying these foundational changes, FileMaker Inc. also introduced a developer certification program.

In 1997, Sun Microsystems approached the ISO/IEC JTC1 standards body and later the Ecma International to formalize Java, but it soon withdrew from the process.[15] Java remains a de facto standard, controlled through the Java Community Process.[16] At one time, Sun made most of its Java implementations available without charge, despite their proprietary software status. Sun generated revenue from Java through the selling of licenses for specialized products such as the Java Enterprise System. Sun distinguishes between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) (a subset of the SDK); the primary distinction involves the JRE's lack of the compiler, utility programs, and header files.

Description

A defining characteristic of FileMaker is that the database engine is integrated with the forms (screen, layouts, reports, etc.) used to access it. Until recently, each table of a FileMaker database system was stored as a separate file (with relational links to other files) and each file had its own built-in interface capabilities. Version 7 introduced the capability of building multiple tables into one document. It is designed to be easy to develop quickly and to make changes on the fly as the data structure is altered.

Scripting

FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced include scripting capabilities and a variety of built-in functions for automation of common tasks and complex calculations. Numerous steps are available for navigation, conditional execution of script steps, editing records, and other utilities.

SQL and ODBC Support

FileMaker, since version 9, includes the ability to connect to a number of SQL databases without resorting to using SQL, including MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle. This requires installation of the SQL database ODBC driver to connect to a SQL database. SQL databases can be used as data sources in FileMaker’s relationship graph, thus allowing the developer to create new layouts based on the SQL database; create, edit, and delete SQL records via FileMaker layouts and functions; and reference SQL fields in FileMaker calculations and script steps. It is a cross platform relational database application.