College eager for FileMaker upgrade

The country's biggest user of the FileMaker Pro database, Auckland College of Education, is ready to take advantage of features in a new version.

The country’s biggest user of the FileMaker Pro database, Auckland College of Education, is ready to take advantage of features in a new version.

FileMaker Pro 7 was released last week and will solve an immediate problem for the college, says information systems general manager Anne Buzeika.

The new version has a file size limit 4000 times greater — 8TB — than the present release. Buzeika says that means the college’s student picture file, which is at the 2GB limit, can continue to be stored in a real-time database rather than having to be archived.

FileMaker is a relative minnow in the database market, but it’s the basis of the college’s student and staff administration systems. As a key customer, Buzeika had advance knowledge of the new release, which she describes as adding FileMaker Pro’s ease of use to substantial database.

“The whole development process will be so much easier.”

However, Chris White, IT manager at Christchurch FileMaker site Cookie Time, says the new release is a one-way trip for those who upgrade.

“While it can convert files from the older version, this conversion is one way and there is no way to go back.”

He says FileMaker has worked hard to make the process as simple as possible, but complex sites could face a significant amount of tweaking when they upgrade.

“In some cases they will also have to upgrade their hardware as the software now has a minimal requirement of Mac OS X or Windows 2000/XP.”

FileMaker is attempting to make the product more intuitive, with visual tools to handle relationships, database templates and an improved layout wizard. FileMaker Pro 7 needs no database development or software programming experience, the company says.

While the client software has been shipped, the server version of FileMaker will ship early in the next few months.

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