MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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116 MacDirectory REVIEW | PRODUCTIVITY FILEMAKER PRO 10 > A WELCOME UPGRADE The term "venerable" can be overused in software reviews, but in the case of FileMaker, the word is unavoidable. Only a handful of titles have been around for as great a part of the Mac's first quarter- century. Even though the internals have been completely revamped over the years, the interface has remained familiar, to say the least. FileMaker Pro 10 made its debut at Macworld and with it comes a substantially revamped look and a host of new features. We took a look at FileMaker Pro 10, representing the entry- level version of the database. It's the stolid, single-user or client version and offers a step up for Bento users. As with previous releases, there's also an Advanced version for developers and two levels of server products. One issue that FileMaker users and devel- opers have had to deal with over the years is the fact that nearly all of the frequently used commands resided in the menu bar. It meant either remembering any number of keyboard shortcuts or a lot of mouse- ing around to do data entry or retrieval. The most visible change to the FileMaker interface is the expanded status toolbar, now moved to the top of the screen. On the left, you'll see FileMaker's familiar three-ring binder icon and slider for paging through records. To the right is a button area that can be easily customized from a collection of oft-used commands. The bottom edge offers a thin bar for quick access to all your layouts including (finally!) the ability to display more than the first eight characters of a layout name. The small, pie-chart icon provides a way to switch between found and un-found data. Opening Ceremonies When FileMaker Pro 10 opens, you'll be presented with the Quick Start screen that is very much true to its name. If it's your first time with the program or simply want to learn more about the new features, the Learn More button offers tutelage ranging from a quick video overview to a two-hour interactive training session. The screen will also let you directly open Excel, Bento and the usual assortment of delimited text files. The release also offers a number of new templates (a.k.a. "Starter Solutions") that can be customized to suit your specific needs. Any database from FileMaker 7 or later will open without the need for conversion. "Ease of use" is an ongoing theme in FileMaker Pro 10. There is a lot less jumping back and forth between the program's different modes (well, at least the jumping is done for you). For example, if you are using the Report Wizard to create a listing that requires summary fields that are not yet defined in your database, the wizard will take you to the database definition window where you can quickly add them. The data in any report view of Pro 10 is now live, meaning WORDS BY RIC GETTER

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