A couple days ago I received a package from April L’Assange. She is (in her own words) “currently not working for FileMaker Inc.”, but she had something I might be interested in. In the package I found a DVD with screenshots, sample files and a program, supposedly FileMaker 12 in alpha status. The files I saw were really exciting. Some of the things I found are described here. I might add more soon.
New File Format
First the bad news. I could not open the sample files (extension fpc) with my current FileMaker version. It looks like the file format will change with the new version; understandable with all the new features that were added to the program.
On the other side I was able to open fp7 files. A dialog popped up, asking my if I like to convert the file. Press OK and the database will be converted into a fpc file.
Before FileMaker 12 you had to go to the actual file to manage the fields and tables in this file. Now you can manage the database from all related FileMaker files as long as they are defined as external data sources and you have full access to the current and the related files.
This saves a lot of time when you manage bigger projects, especially when you try to separate data from layouts.
A minor new feature are table comments. You can add a comment to your table (similar to comments for fields), allowing better documentation of your database.
Each field may have an alias. There are different reasons why and when to use an alias. For example:
- The alias is used as the field label when the field is added to an layout. Without an alias the original field name is used.
- In import/export and sort dialogs you may use alias instead of field names. In case you use cryptic field names with pre- suffixes (_uc_TestSample_limit_n) alias are a great help. The common user will see a more readable name like “Sample Qty” and, if exported into Excel, the column will have the same name.
In privilege sets you can set the option whether field names, aliases, or both are accessible. This will definitely help an inexperienced user to select the right field in the sort dialog.