FileMaker 9 opens up to enterprise data

Integration with other enterprise apps now a possibility

FileMaker has released version 9 of its namesake database software, FileMaker Pro, with new integration features that will simplify access to SQL data sources and Web publishing with PHP.

Versions prior to version 9 only supported static imports and exports of data from SQL databases, but the new release can connect to live databases to manipulate the data in real time.

Three popular enterprise databases - Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and the open source MySQL - are supported in the release.

FileMaker's Asia Pacific regional manager, Steve McManus, said the "revolutionary" release allows users to connect to a world of data and perform reporting in a much easier way than traditional enterprise applications like Brio and Cognos.

McManus said FileMaker's ease of use has made it popular among educational and not-for-profit organizations, and in enterprise circles some 70 of the Fortune 100 in the US use the software.

"The ACCC is the largest government customer in Australia and NSW Police use FileMaker in the media area," he said.

In addition to real-time database connectivity, FileMaker Server 9 now sports support for PHP with an API and Web publishing framework, which enables users to generate a PHP Web site without writing code.

The Apple-owned FileMaker runs on Windows and Mac OS X, but the company has had reports of people integrating it with PHP running on Linux and Solaris.

The server product also ships with a new administration console for remote management.

Matt Darby, information systems manager at the Kambala girls school in East Sydney, said the support for PHP in FileMaker 9 opens up the prospect of it being integrated with the existing open source Moodle learning management system which is developed in MySQL and PHP.

"It's exciting to see if a FileMaker front end could be used to merge the school database with the learning and content system," Darby said.

Macarthur Anglican School database administrator Richard Turnbull is also keen to leverage the PHP Web publishing capability of version 9, which could be used to display a record of a student's work on the Web for parents to view.

FileMaker Pro 9 and FileMaker Pro Advanced 9 clients are available now for $499 and $799 respectively, and the server and Advanced server retail for $1645 and $4175.

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