FileMaker Pro is used throughout our school district for a variety of important tasks including inventory, guidance records, and keeping track of student behavior statements. It’s an essential tool, and FileMaker truly makes database creation easy and efficient. Since I’ve been exporting more and more of my work to the iPad, I was anxious to try out FileMaker Go. I have, and it is awesome.
FileMaker Go allows you to take your FileMaker databases with you, anywhere you want! You don’t have to make sacrifices either. This is a quality app that will amaze anyone that has experience with databases, and will be an excellent start for those who have not.
Any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) can run FileMaker Go and experience a simple yet powerful way of accessing and modifying your data without losing the functionality and versatility of FileMaker Pro. (I did say accessing and modifying. FileMaker Go is not for creating databases. More on that below.) FileMaker Go compliments the iPad so well by combining the strengths of the iPad’s unique portability and touchscreen with FileMaker’s trademark power and efficiency. What an awesome combination!
The database can now make its first serious step toward wireless mobility. The full function of a database can now be wielded in the ultra thin confines of the iPad. What a great tool for librarians, counselors, administrators, and teachers to take their important records with them wherever they need them.
FileMaker Go is not for creating databases, but it is excellent for using and modifying the databases you create on your computer. (Yep. You still need a computer and FileMaker Pro. The app will open any database created with FileMaker 7 or later.) This isn’t a negative, because I think creating a database on a touchscreen would be a nightmare, however, managing a database on one is a dream. (FileMaker Go is for the iPad only, there is a separate app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. You must have iOS 4 or higher. All are equally great, but the iPad version is best experience. The iPhone version is merely handy in a pinch.)
A typical session of FileMaker Go is very straightforward: The opening screen presets a list of available files. Files on the iPad are on left and recently used or remote files are listed on the right. Adding a favorite remote host is easy and recommended to speed and ease regular usage. (You are provided with a sample inventory database to play around with and learn your navigation of the app.) Using the database is simple. Once you select your database from the device itself, a remote host, or a file sent to your device, the file is opened and ready for reading, editing, or entry.
You cannot sync databases on the iPad with database on the computer, just as you cannot sync databases from computer to computer. Each file is independent and you manage it by transfer and saving options.
Editing a file is easy with FileMaker Go’s Tools and Toolbars.
Upper left corner: window showing number of open windows in all databases. Upper right corner: a gear icon opens to show a menu featuring: layout, view as form or list or table, show toolbar, refresh window, perform script, save/send, and a settings and help button for more options.
The bottom toolbar also houses important features. Bottom left corner: A record detail button allows for changing layouts. The middle of the bottom toolbar is the record selector indicator. This is a sliding tool that allows you to navigate forward and backward through your records quickly. Great for large number of records. You can also use the touchscreen arrow keys for a smaller list of records or to pinpoint a record. The bottom right corner offers more functionality for dealing with records. The far right button allows for typical FileMaker Pro searches: show all records, omitted records, sort records, quick find, and find mode. Handy indeed. The button just to its left is the add/delete record button. You can use it to add, duplicate, and delete records. If you are planning to use your iPad to manage your records the bottom right is what it’s all about. The true power of the FileMaker programs is in its ability to fine tune searches and provide you with the information you really want. Spend your time here! You will thank me.
I love using FileMaker Go on the iPad to manage my databases. The iPad feels great to walk around with and the screen is the perfect size for viewing. In the classroom I like to be mobile and having my database with me and all my other joys on the iPad is just a perfect, natural fit.
I did have to use a little caution on a database that used some radio boxes. The boxes were close together and my BIG lineman fingers were a little clumsy. This can be remedied easily with a tweak in the layout mode, but even easier with a touchscreen gesture to enlarge the area with expand, then pinch it back for viewing. Simple. Easy. Quick. Zooming in and out is easy and works the same on this app as it does on the iPad and iPhone. Just pinch and zoom.
Overall, I was so happy to see my layouts from the computer preserved in the FileMaker Go version on both the iPad and the iPhone. (For me the iPhone was for viewing only, but I am sure many of you will be able to plug away. Some of your quick-stilleto-finger movements amaze me.) A few inconsistencies were noticeable but nothing that altered data or use. I find myself consciously designing my FileMaker Pro layouts for use on my iPad. I want to use my iPad for management, and I want to use my MacBook for design. (It’s like a bag of golf clubs people. A perfect club for every shot. A perfect device for every job. Get’em all.)
Tap a field and the iPad keyboard appears and readies for editing. The keyboard is slightly altered to handily include the record selection indicator (slide and arrows) the add/delete record button and the search button. I was impressed to see this on the keyboard. The keyboard even knows what field type you are in and automatically adjusts itself for editing the field. For example, it will switch to numbers in a numbers field, a special date selector in a date field, and more! Just as it should be.
I like this app. I like it a lot!
Wired Educator Grades FileMaker Go an “A”.
If you want or need a mobile database look no further. This is it. If you are already working with FileMaker Pro then it is an absolute no-brainer, this is it. It’s hard to believe this is an initial release with no upgrades. It’s clean and worry free. Wired Educator enthusiastically recommends FileMaker Go!
You can purchase FileMaker Go here for $39.99. The iPhone version is sold separately for $19.99. Both premium apps, but worth every penny. (Remember you must have a computer and FileMaker software to create databases.)
Here is a link to Dave Wheelock’s quick and excellent video review (3:08) of FileMaker Go. (Dave is with Desktop Services, Inc.)