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Decision Time: Should You Upgrade to the Latest FileMaker Version?

Upgrading is not just about accessing new features, it’s about aligning your needs with the tools to propel your projects forward

Kate Waldhauser

NOTE, 6/7/24: This article has been updated to include details about the newly released FileMaker 2024.

In the realm of database management and application development, staying current with software advancements is more than a luxury. It’s a necessity for maintaining a competitive edge and operational efficiency. Over the years, FileMaker, a cornerstone platform for developers and businesses, has evolved.  Here we will distill the essence of these changes in each FileMaker version, focusing on the leap from FileMaker 12 to FileMaker 2024, to aid in your decision-making process about upgrading.

The Evolution of FileMaker Versions: A Snapshot

From its inception, FileMaker has been at the forefront of innovation, adapting to technological advancements and user feedback. Each version has introduced pivotal features that make the platform more intuitive, secure and powerful.

Feature Highlights Across FileMaker Versions

Let’s dive into some of the key features introduced across versions (though certainly not an exhaustive list), to lay the groundwork for understanding the benefits of the latest upgrade.

UI/UX Enhancements

  • Customizable Themes – Allows users to customize and apply themes to their layouts for a personalized look. – FileMaker 12, April 2012
  • Enhanced Import UI: Offers a more user-friendly interface for importing records, making the process smoother and more intuitive. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Split View: Provides a split-screen view that shows a list of records on one side and detailed information about the selected record on the other. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Popup Windows: Introduces pop-up windows that allow users to work on a task without losing their place in the application. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Updated Admin Console: Features an updated, more intuitive administrative console for managing FileMaker Server settings and databases. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • WebViewer JS Support: Enables embedding and running JavaScript within the FileMaker WebViewer, allowing for richer web content and interactive elements. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Add-On Modules: Allows for the easy integration of pre-built modules to add new functionalities to applications without extensive development. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Dark Mode Support: Adds compatibility with MacOS Dark Mode, providing a darker color scheme that’s easier on the eyes in low-light conditions. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Siri Shortcuts: Enables voice-activated commands with Siri to run scripts, making it easier to perform tasks hands-free. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • AI Integration: New AI Script steps enable natural language searches, improving search relevance, seamlessly integrating AI models, making applications smarter and more intuitive. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing FileMaker version feature additions in the category of UI & UX enhancements.

Security Features

  • SSL Support – Enhances security by supporting SSL certificates, ensuring encrypted connections between clients and servers. – FileMaker 15, May 2016
  • OAuth Integration – Allows users to log in using their existing credentials from Amazon, Google, or Microsoft Active Directory, simplifying the authentication process. – FileMaker 16, May 2017
  • Plugin & File Security – Improves security and management of plugins and file access, offering more control over the environment. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Apple ID Login – Enables users to authenticate using their Apple ID, offering a convenient and secure login method. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Audit Log Triggers – Allows for the automatic logging of user actions and changes within the database, enhancing audit capabilities. – FileMaker 2023, April 2023
  • OAuth 2.0 for Email – Supports OAuth 2.0 for sending emails, providing a secure method for email communication within scripts. – FileMaker 2023, April 2023
  • HTTPS Tunneling – Enables secure connections through HTTPS tunneling, improving data security during transmission. – FileMaker 2023, April 2023
  • Block User Connections: FileMaker Server allows administrators to block new user connections to ensure proper access. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
  • Let’s Encrypt: Simplifies SSL certificate setup and management by integrating free Let’s Encrypt, automating requests and renewals with built-in system scripts for macOS or Ubuntu. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing FileMaker version feature additions in the category of security features.

Performance and Scalability

  • Performance Logging – The top calls log tracks the most resource-intensive operations, helping in performance tuning and troubleshooting. – FileMaker 15, May 2016
  • Server Auto-reconnect – Automatically reconnects to the server if the connection is lost, minimizing disruptions. – FileMaker 15, May 2016
  • Data Migration Tool – Provides a tool for efficiently migrating data between FileMaker databases, simplifying the upgrade process. – FileMaker 17, May 2018
  • Server Validation – Verifies the setup and configuration of FileMaker Server at startup, ensuring that the server is running optimally. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Optimized SQL – Enhances the speed of SQL query processing, improving performance when interacting with large datasets. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Enhanced Transactions – Supports database transactions, allowing multiple changes to be committed or rolled back as a single operation. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Increased Capacity – Increases scalability by supporting a larger number of files and simultaneous WebDirect connections. – FileMaker 2023, September 2023
  • Enhanced Data API – The FileMaker Data API script step now supports write operations, allowing users to create, update, delete, or duplicate record data with the action key. This enhancement boosts performance and scalability. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing feature additions across FileMaker versions in the category of performance & scalability.

Cloud and Integration

  • FileMaker Cloud – Offers cloud-based hosting options through Amazon Web Services, simplifying deployment and management. – FileMaker 15, May 2016
  • Email Attachments – Allows sending emails with multiple attachments, enhancing communication capabilities. – FileMaker 17, May 2018
  • REST API Support Enables scripts to interact with any REST API, broadening integration possibilities with external services. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • Machine Learning – Integrates with Core ML for machine learning capabilities, allowing for smarter, AI-driven applications. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Claris Connect Trigger – Triggers workflows in Claris Connect directly from FileMaker, automating cross-application processes. – FileMaker 2023, September 2023
  • Claris Studio: Pricing for the entire Claris Platform, including Claris Connect for workflow automation and Claris Studio for public web app creation. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing FileMaker version feature additions in the category of cloud & integrations.

Mobile Enhancements

  • FileMaker Go Features: Enhances the mobile application with support for iBeacon, 3D Touch, and more, improving mobile user experience. – FileMaker 15, May 2016
  • Sensor & Notifications: Expands mobile functionalities by providing access to additional sensor data and the ability to trigger local notifications. – FileMaker 18, May 2019
  • QR Code Reader: Allows mobile apps to read QR codes, facilitating data entry and retrieval. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Live Text Recognition: Enables the extraction of text from images or live camera feed on mobile devices, enhancing data capture capabilities. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • App Widgets: supports linking from home screen to favorite apps and allow automatic launching of key apps when starting FileMaker Go. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing FileMaker version feature additions in the category of mobile enhancements.

Reporting and Analysis

  • Data Visualization Tools: Offers new ways to visualize and analyze data, improving reporting capabilities. – FileMaker 12, April 2012
  • JS Charting Integration: Allows for the integration of JavaScript libraries, offering advanced charting and data visualization options. – FileMaker 19, May 2020
  • Semantic Search: Provides more relevant and meaningful results, uncovering insights from data without needing exact search terms, and identifying semantic outliers for deeper analysis. – FileMaker 2024, June 2024
Graphic chart showing FileMaker version feature additions in the category of reporting & analysis.

Each FileMaker Version Brings Significant Innovations

The evolution from FileMaker version 12 all the way through to version 2024 demonstrates Claris’s dedication to steadily improving and expanding the capabilities of its software development platform. Each version has brought significant innovations, from enhanced user interfaces and security features to improved performance, scalability, and integration capabilities. This report highlights the platform’s adaptation to the changing technological landscape and its dedication to meeting the diverse needs of developers and users alike.

Timeline chart illustrating the cadence of FileMaker version releases.

Why Consider Upgrading?

Addressing Your Current Needs

If your operations are hindered by the limitations of an older version, or if you’re seeking more efficient, secure and versatile database management solutions, an upgrade might be overdue. FileMaker 2024 offers unparalleled improvements in user interface, security protocols and integration capabilities.

Real-World Applications

Upgrading FileMaker can transform how you interact with your data. There are many new features that can help streamline your workflows and improve your business!

For instance, the addition of Siri Shortcuts and Live Text Recognition in FileMaker 2023 opens new avenues for accessibility and data input, streamlining operations and enhancing user experience.

Take advantage of the latest in AI, and add an “App Assistant” to your FileMaker solution. Using FileMaker 2024 AI features, you can add a chatbot and be able to talk with your data.

Sending Email from FileMaker? Check out our article on

Looking for more real work applications on how upgrading FileMaker can benefit you? Check out these articles from our blog.

Making the Leap: Upgrading to FileMaker Version 2024

Upgrading is not just about accessing new features, it’s about aligning your needs with the tools to propel your projects forward. Consider the following:

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Weigh the investment against the potential returns in terms of efficiency, security, and scalability.
  • Compatibility Check: Ensure that your current infrastructure can seamlessly integrate with the latest version. You can check the FileMaker 2023 system requirements.
  • Community Insights: Learn from the experiences of others who have made the upgrade, through forums and case studies.
Icon for FileMaker 2024

Ready to Upgrade to FileMaker 2024?

As licensed Claris resellers, we can help you navigate the upgrade process, providing excellent customer service to ensure your licensing is handled securely and efficiently. We strive to build strong relationships with our customers and to provide outstanding customer service. Schedule your free consultation below to determine what the latest version of FileMaker can do for you.

About the Author

Kate Waldhauser joined Portage Bay Solutions in 2006. As lead Claris FileMaker developer, she spearheads our custom development projects. Kate’s communication skills, friendliness and technical expertise make for an unusual combination: a high-caliber developer who enjoys interacting with our clients.

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