By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 1:13 am
You’d think there’d be a huge audience for powerful, easy-to-use database programs–especially ones that run on both Windows PCs and Macs. But FileMaker Pro, from Apple’s FileMaker, Inc. subsidiary, has long had the market pretty much to itself. Which is fine, because it’s a terrific program.
On Tuesday the company announced FileMaker Pro 11, an upgrade whose major new features are so logical that I was startled in some cases to realize that the software didn’t already have them:
As before, FileMaker packs lots of power into a user interface that’s much friendlier than Microsoft’s still-gnarly Access 2007. Starter Solutions” provide templates for a variety of applications, from businessy ones (asset management) to personal productivity (a task list) to the purely personal (a database for organizing your music). Bento’s approachable enough to make it a good choice for serious home users as well as corporate types, but I wish that the company would bring its even more approachable (and much cheaper) Mac database Bento to Windows users. (It wouldn’t be a cakewalk, since the Mac version ties itself heavily into Mac-specific stuff like iPhoto’s photo library–but I don’t know of any Windows apps that are even Bento-esque.)
FileMaker Pro 11 is $299 for the full version or $179 as an upgrade; FileMaker Pro 11 Advanced, which adds more features aimed at professional database developers, is $499 or $299 as an upgrade. It’s available now, and there are free trial versions at the FileMaker site. A few screens after the jump.