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Chapter 1. Using FileMaker Pro 5.5 > What's New in FileMaker 5.5?

What's New in FileMaker 5.5?

If you're a brand-new FileMaker user, all of FileMaker 5.5 is new. For FileMaker veterans, the biggest change is that FileMaker now fully supports the Macintosh OS X and Windows 2000 operating systems. It's also “Windows XP ready” though not yet certified as fully supported (see page 292). That means FileMaker can take advantage of the stability and protected memory of both new-generation operating systems. That change alone makes upgrading worthwhile, but FileMaker's improvements don't stop there:

New features and improvements

  • Record-level security: File sharing security now can be set on a record-by-record basis, giving you more precise control over which users can read or change data. Previously, read-write privileges could not be assigned below the file level.

  • Query corporate-level data: Continuing a trend first begun in FileMaker version 4.1, version 5.5 makes it even easier to integrate FileMaker and mainframe databases through built-in ODBC (Open Database Connectivity). FileMaker 5.5 can run calculation-based queries of corporate data sources, such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. FileMaker can also run a simple query to import data from any ODBC-compliant database. Such features let you take advantage of FileMaker's easier-to-use interface yet still access enterprise-level data.

  • Update corporate-level data: Updating ODBC databases now can be automated using a new “SQL Execute” script step. Once the script is written by a company's IT developers, FileMaker users can update a corporate database without having to create individual SQL queries.

  • Enhanced Instant Web Publishing: Version 5.5 adds more options to its Instant Web Publishing feature, making Instant Web pages perform more like FileMaker's Custom Web Pages. For example, you can now hide FileMaker's status area, add your own navigation buttons, and trigger scripts through the Web browser. All of these changes make Instant Web pages behave more like regular Web pages.

  • Faster Web publishing performance: FileMaker's Web Companion now is multi-threaded, making performance over an HTTP server twice as fast as it was in version 5.0.

  • Improved importing from Microsoft Excel: Version 5.0 already allowed you to drag and drop an Excel spreadsheet into FileMaker. Version 5.5 now lets you import named cell ranges from Excel. Excel's named ranges make it easier to keep track of cells, and that advantage can be put to use in FileMaker.

  • Enhanced Table View: You now can sort columns just by clicking the column header.



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