Apple has recently celebrated it’s 40th anniversary. Some of you may not be aware that FileMaker was also born in April in 1985. This means that FileMaker is 31 years old this month! To celebrate the success of the FileMaker platform, here is a summary and timeline of the history of FileMaker.
FileMaker Pro is a cross-platform relational database application from FileMaker Inc., formerly Claris, a subsidiary of Apple Inc. It integrates a database engine with a graphical user interface (GUI) and security features, allowing users to modify the database by dragging new elements into layouts, screens, or forms. Current versions are: FileMaker Pro 14, FileMaker Pro Advanced 14, FileMaker Server 14, and FileMaker Go 14 for iPhone and iPad.
FileMaker evolved from a DOS application, but was then developed primarily for the Apple Macintosh and released in April 1985. Since 1992 it has been available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, and can be used in a cross-platform environment. FileMaker server briefly ran on Linux, but Linux support was abandoned with FileMaker 7, and the server currently runs only on Windows or OS X servers. A client version was released for iOS devices in July 2010. It is available in desktop, server, iOS and web-delivery configurations.
Timeline – History of FileMaker
1985 – FileMaker v1.0 was published by Forethought Inc. in April 1985.
FileMaker began as an MS-DOS–based computer program named Nutshell – developed by Nashoba Systems of Concord, Massachusetts, in the early 1980s. Nutshell was distributed by Leading Edge, an electronics marketer that had recently started selling IBM PC-compatible computers.
With the introduction of the Macintosh, Nashoba combined the basic data engine with a new forms-based graphical user interface (GUI). Leading Edge was not interested in newer versions, preferring to remain a DOS-only vendor, and kept the Nutshell name. Nashoba found another distributor, Forethought Inc., and introduced the program on the Macintosh platform as FileMaker.
1986 – FileMaker Plus was published by Forethought Inc.
When Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus in 1986 the next version of FileMaker was named FileMaker Plus to reflect the new model’s name.
1988 – FileMaker 4 was published by Nashoba Systems in June 1988.
Forethought was purchased by Microsoft, which was then introducing their PowerPoint product that became part of Microsoft Office. Microsoft had introduced its own database application, Microsoft File, shortly before FileMaker, but it was outsold by FileMaker and Microsoft discontinued it. Microsoft negotiated with Nashoba for the right to publish FileMaker, but Nashoba decided to self-publish the next version, FileMaker 4.
1988 – FileMaker II published by Claris Corporation in August 1988.
Shortly thereafter, Apple Computer formed Claris, a wholly owned subsidiary, to market software. Claris purchased Nashoba to round out its software suite. By then, Leading Edge and Nutshell had faded from the marketplace because of competition from other DOS- and later Windows-platform database products. FileMaker, however, continued to succeed on the Macintosh platform.
Claris changed the product’s name to FileMaker II to conform to its naming scheme for other products, such as MacWrite II, but the product changed little from the last Nashoba version.
1990 – FileMaker Pro was published by Claris Corporation in October 1990.
Several minor versions followed, and things finally settled down with the release of FileMaker Pro 1.0 in 1990.
1992 – FileMaker Pro 2 was published by Claris Corporation in October 1992.
In September 1992, Claris released a multi-platform version for both the Mac and Windows; except for a few platform-specific functions, the program’s features and user interface were the same. Up to this point FileMaker had no real relational feature; it was limited to automatically looking up and importing values from other files. It only had the ability to save a state—a filter and a sort, and a layout for the data.
1994 – FileMaker Pro Server 2 was released in July 1994 by Claris Corporation.
1995 – In December 1995 FileMaker Pro 3 was released by Claris Corporation.
Version 3.0, released around 1995, introduced new relational and scripting features. By 1995 FileMaker was the only strong-selling product in Claris’s lineup.
1996 – FileMaker Pro Server 3 was released in January 1996 by Claris Corporation.
1997 – FileMaker Pro 4 was released in September 1997 by Claris Corporation.
Version 4.0, introduced in 1997, added a plug-in architecture much like that of Adobe Photoshop, which enabled third-party developers to add features to FileMaker. A bundled plug-in, the Web Companion, allowed the database to act as a web server. Other “plugs” added features to the interface and enabled FileMaker to serve as an FTP client, perform external file operations, and send messages to remote FileMaker files over the Internet or an intranet.
1998 – FileMaker Pro 4 Developer Edition was released in May 1998. This was the last version to be published by Claris. It was aimed at expert/professional FileMaker users.
1999 – FileMaker Pro 4.1v2 was released in June 1999 by FileMaker, Inc. ( First version published by FileMaker, Inc. )
In 1998, Apple moved development of some of the other Claris products in-house, dropped most of the rest, and changed Claris’s name to FileMaker, Inc., to concentrate on that product.
1999 – FileMaker Pro 5 was released in September 1999.
1999 – FileMaker Server 5 was released in November 1999.
2001 – FileMaker Pro 5.5 was released in April 2001. This release had native support for Mac OS X.
2002 – FileMaker Pro 6 was released in September 2002. ( Last version to support Mac OS 9 and 8 )
2004 – FileMaker Pro 7 was released in March 2004.
Version 7, released in 2004, introduced a new file format (file extension .fp7) supporting file sizes up to 8 terabytes (an increase from the 2 gigabytes in previous versions). Individual fields could hold up to 4 gigabytes of binary data (container fields) or 2 gigabytes of 2-byte Unicode text per record (up from 64 kilobytes in previous versions). FileMaker’s relational model was enriched, offering multiple tables per file and a graphical relationship editor that displayed and allowed manipulation of related tables in a manner that resembled the entity-relationship diagram format. Accompanying these foundational changes, FileMaker Inc. also introduced a developer certification program.
2005 – FileMaker Pro 8 was released in August 2005.
In 2005 FileMaker Inc. announced the FileMaker 8 product family, which offered the developer an expanded feature set. These included a tabbed interface, script variables, tooltips, enhanced debugging, custom menus, and the ability to copy and paste entire tables and field definitions, scripts, and script steps within and between files.
2006 – FileMaker Pro 8.5 was released in July 2006.
Version 8.5, released in 2006, added an integrated web viewer (the ability to view such things as shipment tracking information from FedEx and Wikipedia entries) and named layout objects.
2007 – FileMaker Pro 9 and FileMaker Pro Server 9 was released in July 2007.
FileMaker 9, released on July 10, 2007, introduced a quick-start screen, conditional formatting, fluid layout auto-resizing, hyperlinked pointers into databases, and external SQL links.
2009 – FileMaker Pro 10 and FileMaker Server 10 were released in January 2009.
FileMaker 10 was released on January 5, 2009, before that year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and offered scripts to be triggered by user actions and a redesigned user interface similar to that of Mac OS X Leopard applications.
2010 – FileMaker Pro 11 and FileMaker Server 11 were released in March 2010.
Release included charts, snapshot link, filtered portals, and recurring imports.
2010 – FileMaker Go 11 was released for iOS in July 2010.
2010 – FileMaker Go 11.1 introduces PDF creation, photo support, import from FileMaker Pro in September 2010.
2011 – FileMaker Go 11.2 introduces printing, signature capture, charts, enhanced PDF creation in April 2011.
2011 – FileMaker Pro 11.0v4 and FileMaker Pro Advanced 11.0v4 were released in September 2011. Lion compatibility, fully implemented by October 2011.
2012 – FileMaker 12 product range was released in April 2012. The release included FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server and FileMaker Go.
FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced: Integrated themes (Pro/iOS); floating and modal windows; execute SQL; enhanced container field; improved charting.
FileMaker Server: 64 bit, faster WAN, progressive backups, rewritten web publishing engine.
FileMaker Go: iOS client is now free. Supports the .fmp12 file format.
2013 – FileMaker 13 product range was released in December 2013. The release included FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server and FileMaker Go.
FileMaker 13, released after the launches of iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9), first shipped in December 2013. The client and server products were enhanced to support many mobile and web methods of data access. FileMaker Go 13, the parallel iPad-iPhone product, has now become a single client for both these handhelds, and the Server Admin tool now runs in HTML5, no longer requiring a Java app.
FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced: WebDirect and HTML5 features; better mobile app development; enhanced GUI design tools, themes and behaviors; more dynamic data refreshing, “Hide object when…” layout object option based on calculation, encryption at rest (EAR 256bit AES) data protection, new summary list feature, enhanced ExecuteSQL expressions, perform script on server script step, 256bit SSL client server connection
FileMaker Server: FileMaker WebDirect, Perform Script On Server, Platform Security; new HTML5 Admin Console replaced need for Java
FileMaker Go: Free universal client for iPhones and iPads supports iOS 6 & iOS 7. Supports barcode scanning from camera.
2015 – FileMaker 14 product range was released in May 2015. The release included FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server and FileMaker Go.
FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced: Script workspace, Button bar, Tooltips in layout mode, Launch Center
FileMaker Server: Standby server, FileMaker Pro auto-reconnect, WebDirect support for Android
FileMaker Go: Improved signature capture, iOS 8-style interface, Video/audio controls, Keyboard control, Rich editing
2015 – iOS App SDK was introduced in December 2015.
Use the FileMaker Platform and the iOS App SDK to create iOS apps for your business. Then, deploy these apps to your team through mobile device management (MDM).
The iOS App SDK is ideal for experienced FileMaker developers looking for a convenient way to distribute custom iOS apps within their organisations. This tool is a utility that uses the Command Line Interface to convert a custom app you have created using the FileMaker Platform into an iOS app.