FileMaker Pro Goes Universal

FileMaker Inc. today announced the availability of Universal Binary versions of both FileMaker Pro 8.5 and FileMaker Server 8.0v4.  The updates boast massive speed increases of up to 91% on the client side and 116% on the server side when run on Apple’s new Intel based Macs.  Since the speed increase and the porting to Universal Binary might not be enough to entice the average user to upgrade, FileMaker has also been updated to include a couple of new features as well.

FileMaker Web Viewer is a feature that makes it possible to include live web information in a FileMaker database.  This could be useful to anyone looking to include map information in their database.  For example, in addition to static contact information, it is now possible to include mapping information as well.  Or, reference a page from Wikipedia when it pertains to your database record.  The FileMaker record will always be up to date with the latest information available from Wikipedia as the information is not captured, but instead referenced live from the web.  This insures that the latest information is constantly available.

Another new feature is the ability to do what FileMaker refers to as Web Scraping.  Specifics on the functionality are not yet fully documented, but the concept is intriguing.  Web Scraping would allow FileMaker Pro users to essentially capture miscellaneous information from web sites.  Normally the only way to import information is through an ODBC connection or by pulling information from some sort of delaminated file.  Web Scraping seems to imply that it will be possible to write scripts that will capture information from more random web based sources. has a great QuickTime movie that demos the usefulness of some of FileMaker 8.5’s new features.

While the new features of FileMaker Pro might be a touch on the light side, I’m glad to see the release of a Universal Binary version of the software.  The new Intel based Macs have proven themselves to be real powerhouses and now we can take full advantage of the product.  Now if we could just get Microsoft and Adobe to release their updates…


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