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Chapter 1. Using FileMaker Pro 6 > What’s New in FileMaker 6?

What’s New in FileMaker 6?

If you’re a brand-new FileMaker user, all of FileMaker 6 is new. FileMaker veterans will notice dozens of changes, big and small, including customizable dialog boxes, global search and replace, improved importing, and a convenient format painter. Besides expanding its support of Mac OS X, FileMaker also now fully supports Windows XP, in addition to Windows 2000. That means FileMaker can now take full advantage of the stability and protected memory of the new-generation operating systems on both platforms. Here’s a quick rundown of FileMaker’s major changes:

New features and improvements

  • Integrated XML Import and Export: By fully supporting XML (Extensible Markup Language), FileMaker 6 makes it even easier to integrate FileMaker with other databases, whether they exist on a corporate mainframe or on a distant Web server. The adoption of ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) in version 5 represented a major step in letting FileMaker access enterprise-level data. By adding import-export XML support, FileMaker 6 extends such abilities while sidestepping many of ODBC’s awkward intricacies. FileMaker also maintains a Web site of XSL templates, which you can download and modify for your own projects (Figure 1.1). For more information, see pages 269.

    Figure 1.1. Downloadable XSL templates extend FileMaker’s power by making it possible to generate live queries of Web sites. Examples include package and stock tracking templates.

  • One-step folder import: Now you can import in a single step an entire folder of files, whether images or text. This folder import feature will also capture each file’s name and path, and automatically generate thumbnails for any images (Figure 1.2). For more information, see page 89.

    Figure 1.2. The new folder import feature will not only grab each file’s name and path but even generate thumbnails of images.

  • Direct import of digital camera images (Mac OS X only): Many users will find this slick feature reason enough to upgrade to version 6. It couldn’t be simpler. Connect your camera or memory card reader to your computer via USB or FireWire and the images will be downloaded automatically into a FileMaker database. Here’s the best part: the database also will grab any metadata associated with each image, such as individual exposure settings (Figure 1.3). Virtually all digital cameras store EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data, but programs that actually use the information have been slow coming to the marketplace. FileMaker 6 not only uses this data, but can combine it with FileMaker scripts and the new folder import feature to make such tasks as maintaining illlustrated product catalogs wonderfully easy. For more information, see page 91.

    Figure 1.3. If you’re using a Mac, FileMaker can automatically capture exposure information from your digital camera files.

  • Easier Found Set operations: You can now extend or constrain your record searches in far fewer steps than FileMaker previously required. For more information, see pages 55 and 57.

  • Context menu sorting: You no longer have to open the Sort dialog box to run a sort. Instead, you can right-click (Windows) or -click (Mac) on any form field and instantly sort the records by that field in ascending, descending, or value-list order (Figure 1.4). For more information, see page 67.

    Figure 1.4. By right-clicking (Windows) or -clicking (Mac) a field, you can instantly sort all the records based on the field’s values.

  • New templates: In all, FileMaker 6 includes 20 new templates to help you get to work right away. Highlights include templates for your music collection, student and classroom records, purchase orders, and even a photo catalog—to make handling your digital camera images even easier (Figure 1.5). For more information on opening templates, see page 210.

    Figure 1.5. With 20 new templates for everything from music collections to purchase orders, you don’t have to start from scratch.

  • Web Companion: Security has been improved so that users viewing your database through a Web browser cannot directly see the source code and design of your Web pages.



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