The anticipation over a new version of FileMaker isn’t quite what it has been at times in the past. The annual release cycles that FileMaker has been following the last couple of years made a release in May 2017 pretty predictable. Its great to see FileMaker 16 out on schedule!
The new version introduces some really interesting new features that we're be excited to work with, including the following.
Layout Objects Window
This feature allows developers to quickly and more easily design layouts. These tools include features to identify objects by type and name. One can also change the stacking order, hide objects, define script triggers and conditional formatting from this tool pallette. This will be a great time-saver for developers.
New Windowing System on Windows
Ever since FileMaker for Microsoft Windows was released at FileMaker version 2 in 1992, the windows that make up a multi-window FileMaker app have been contained within a parent application window. This one application window was the only icon to display in the taskbar. With v16, FileMaker behaves like most other Windows apps with each file being separately accessible in the task bar. This will make multiple monitor support cleaner and cross platform behavior more consistent.
Better Syntax Help in the Calculation Dialog
When building a calculation in the “Specify Calculation” dialog box, an additional help page has been added to quickly view more information on the selected function. Within the help pane, clicking the help icon will view FileMaker’s help page on the selected function.
Plug-in Script Steps
In the past, all plugin functionality was controlled via functions and the Set Variable or Set Field script steps. Now plugins will be able to have their own script steps, making for more readable code.
Copy & Paste Value Lists
Not a lot to say about this one. It’s been long awaited and will be a big time saver in a number of situations, especially when consolidating older multi-file solutions into more modern single file or data separated solutions.
Finally, many of the JSON parsing functions you have been waiting for have arrived. Whether you are using a REST API or some other web service you can now format, parse, delete, change, and edit JSON from within filemaker. It comes with several utility functions that handle the character encoding and cryptographic signing required by some REST APIs.
FileMaker 16 has a number of security enhancements. Of particular interest is built in support for OAuth for authenticating users.
In combination with the new Get(RegionMonitorEvents) function, the region support in FileMaker 16 will open up interesting opportunities. Whether you are using iBeacons or Geofences you can now monitor for these locations and regions and have FileMaker respond accordingly.
FileMaker 16 introduces native cURL support from within the “Insert from URL” script step, allowing for a number of cURL options to be defined within FileMaker calculations. Up until FileMaker 16, support for cURL was dependant on the use of plugins. Along with the change to a number of “Insert” script steps, a variable can now be defined as the target, instead of using a field as the target.
Print PDF from Server Side and Webdirect
Another feature that doesn't require a lot of description. FileMaker 16 allows layouts to be printed/saved to PDF from scripts executed on the server and from WebDirect clients. This is a huge new feature for some solutions, like our E-Com for Special Education product.
Over 20 new functions have been added to the scripting language, including a suite of functions for JSON support. Also added are some very interesting looking functions for region support, sorting value lists, and getting unique values from a value list.
Removal of Zoom Buttons, Mode Change Menu at Bottom of Windows
This is a relatively minor change, unless you have users that have relied on the little plus and minus buttons at the bottom of the window for many years. This will require a big heads up to those users.
In FMPA - Expression Evaluation while you Type
This will be a great incremental time saver for developers. New to the FileMaker Pro Advanced Data Viewer, developers are able to immediately evaluation expressions. This allows developers to display the value of the calculation automatically as they are writing it.
This is a partial list, FileMaker 16 includes numerous other new features for you to explore!