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FileMaker Pro is an easy to use, cross platform database application from FileMaker Inc. FileMaker is famed for its combination of power and ease of use. It is also noted for the integration of the database engine with its GUI-based interface, which allows you to modify the database by dragging new elements into the layouts/screens/forms that provide the user interface. This results in a 'quasi-object' development enviromment of a kind which is still largely unique in the "industrial strength" database world.

FileMaker was one of a handful of database applications released on the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s that completely revolutionized the industry. It is perhaps odd that today much of this heritage has been lost. With the notable exception of FileMaker, leading databases tend to be very rigid in their design and resistant to change, as well as forcing the user to learn arcane search languages and scripting languages to perform common tasks.

FileMaker is available for the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems. This is another of its key strengths - it delivers comparable interface and functionality in multiple operating systems, without the need for file conversion, and can be networked simulatneously to a mixed PC and Mac user base. FileMaker is also scalable, being offered in desktop, server, web-delivery and mobile configurations.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Timeline
3 Description
4 User Groups
5 Resources and Sample Files Etc


Much of the early history of FileMaker has been lost, but sometime between 1983 and 1985, the original FileMaker was developed by Nashoba Systems. Forethought, which had sold the IBM PC database Nutshell, acquired FileMaker and sold a version called FileMaker Plus, in 1986.

Not to be outdone, Nashoba took it back and offered FileMaker 4 in 1988. Claris was being formed at about this time, and within months they purchased all of Nashoba and changed the name once again to FileMaker II. A slew of randomly-numbered minor versions followed, when things finally settled down with the release of FileMaker Pro v1 in 1990. At this point, FileMaker was still a MacOS-only application.

A significant move - possibly one of the most important in FileMaker's history came with the release of FileMaker v3 as a seamlessly cross-platform Windows and Macintosh database. This move gave it a very strong position in the marketplace and has continued to be one of its key advantages.

By 1995 FileMaker was the only product in Claris' lineup that had continued strong sales, other classics like MacWrite and Resolve (a re-labeled Informiz WingZ) had been milked for many years before being updated far too late to have any impact in the market. Eventually Claris decided to abandon all of their other products, and changed their name to FileMaker Inc. to clarify their position in the market.


Date -------Version-----------------------Published By
Apr 1985------- FileMaker, v1.0 -----------------Forethought Inc.
Oct 1986 -------FileMaker Plus, v2.1 -------------Nashoba Systems
Jun 1988 -------FileMaker 4, v 4 -----------------Nashoba Systems
Aug 1988 ------FileMaker II, v 1.0 ----------------Claris Corporation
Jul 1989 -------FileMaker II, version 1.1v2---------Claris Corporation
Oct 1990 ------FileMaker Pro 1.0v1---------------Claris Corporation
Mar 1991------ FileMaker Pro 1.0v2--------------Claris Corporation
Mar 1992 ------FileMaker Pro 1.0v3--------------Claris Corporation
Sep 1992 ------FileMaker Pro 2.0v1------- -------Claris Corporation
Oct 1992 ------FileMaker Pro 2.0v2 --------------Claris Corporation
Mar 1993------ FileMaker Pro 2.0v3--------------Claris Corporation
Apr 1993 ------FileMaker Pro 2.0v4--------------Claris Corporation
Aug 1993 ------FileMaker Pro 2.1v1--------------Claris Corporation
Feb 1994 ------FileMaker Pro 2.1v2 --------------Claris Corporation
Jul 1994 -------FileMaker Pro 2.1v3/SDK 2.1-------Claris Corporation
Jul 1994------- FileMaker Pro Server 2.0v----------Claris Corporation
Jul 1994 -------FileMaker Pro SDK 2.1v1-----------Claris Corporation
Mar 1995 ------FileMaker Pro Server 2.1v1---------Claris Corporation
Dec 1995 ------FileMaker Pro 3.0v1---------------Claris Corporation
Jan 1996 -------FileMaker Pro Server 3.0v1---------Claris Corporation
Jan 1996------- FileMaker Pro 3.0v2---------------Claris Corporation
Jun 1996 -------FileMaker Pro 3.0v3---------------Claris Corporation
Jun 1996 -------FileMaker Pro 3.0v4---------------Claris Corporation
Jun 1996 -------FileMaker Pro SDK 3.0v1-----------Claris Corporation
Sep 1997 -------FileMaker Pro 4.0v1---------------Claris Corporation
Jun 1999 -------FileMaker Pro 4.1v2---------------FileMaker, Inc.
Sep 1999 -------FileMaker Pro 5.0v1---------------FileMaker, Inc.
Nov 2001 -------FileMaker Pro 5.5v1---------------FileMaker, Inc.
Sept 2002 ------FileMaker Pro 6.0v1---------------FileMaker, Inc.


Key to the FileMaker system is the database engine being tied tightly to the forms (screen, layouts, reports etc) used to access it. Most database systems separate these tasks, or to be more accurate, ignore access entirelly, concerning themselves primarily with organization and storage of the data. In FileMaker each table of the database is stored as a separate file (with relational links to other files) and each file has its own in-built interface capabilities. This integrated model is highly flexible, making it easy to develop quickly and to make changs on the fly as the data structure is altered - however it does carry some drawbacks in the dseign and support of very complex relational solutions.

For the novice user, for instance, it is possible to create an address book application simply by dragging fields into a form. The database engine adds fields to the datastore on the fly as the user adds fields. More advanced users and developers will find that powerful calculation and scripting options are available, all controlled from a high level point-and-click interface.

FileMaker also provides an interface (API) for integration of third-party tools, making it highly extensible. In addition there are a variety of web publishing options suited to both low-end and larger scale project requirements.

User Groups

New York FileMaker Developers' Group and their corresponding wiki " class="external">

Resources and Sample Files Etc

FileMaker Inc Web Site - including Technical Knowledge Base " class="external">
Database Pros - free source of Tips and Tricks " class="external">
NightWing Enterprises - demos, samples and resources " class="external">
FileMaker World - directory of developers, examples, tutorials " class="external"> - news feed and online archive of FM Info