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Your business has developed a workflow around FileMaker Pro. With the proliferation of iPads and iPhones, your employees now have more need than ever to be able to access that FileMaker Pro data on their portable devices. Enter FileMaker Go, a portable, flexible product to add to your road warriors' arsenal.
FileMaker Go doesn't replace FileMaker Pro -- instead it's designed to work with it. FileMaker Go isn't a full-fledged database creation app: it lacks built-in layout tools and script creation tools, for example. As a companion app to FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go is a vital tool to help mobile users access important information.
The iPad version's layout is a little more spacious, of course, and the app quickly accesses FileMaker Pro databases hosted back at the office.
FileMaker Go will let you see FileMaker Pro databases hosted locally or online, either over Wi-Fi or 3G. You can also mix and match, storing some files locally while accessing others remotely. FileMaker Go can access files hosted either by FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server, and you can access databases created as far back as FileMaker Pro 7.
If you're working with data that doesn't change -- a field service manual, for example -- letting each FileMaker Go user have a local copy of a database is probably a good idea.
The iPhone layout looks different but has all the same features.
Remote access comes in handy for data that changes, for example, a customer service database. There's no sync or reconciliation mechanism after the fact, so this becomes important to consider as you're deploying FileMaker Go and figuring out how mobile users are going to use it.
Using FileMaker Go is remarkably like using FileMaker Pro. Layouts largely look the same on the desktop as they do on remote devices, though you may need to take some care in your initial FileMaker Pro layout design to make sure it'll work well on devices with limited screen size. Layouts can be slow to render, especially on remotely accessed databases. Forewarned is forearmed, though, so again, I can't underscore the importance of initially well thought-out database design.
FileMaker has done a great job of making FileMaker Go databases intuitive and convenient to use. Pop-up menus, text fields, and other conventions work just as you'd expect them to on an iOS device. Tab controls and Quick Find are here. You can execute scripts, too, though you can't edit them.
Printing capability is a huge plus.
FileMaker Go's 1.2 release added some much-needed functionality, including support for iOS 4.2's AirPrint. You can also print to PDF, just like you can with OS X apps, and email yourself the PDF too. Chart display capabilities give you access to charts and graphs. If your salespeople or field technicians need to verify receipt of products or services, FileMaker Go has signature capture, and you can even snap a picture of the recipient's face.
FileMaker Go for iPad and for iPhone/iPod touch are two different downloads: $19.99 for the iPhone version, $39.99 for the iPad version. We'd prefer a universal app, since those costs add up quickly, especially if you have to buy the software for a group of users. Plus, the two apps seem to be fundamentally the same software -- we couldn't distinguish any feature differences.
The bottom line. FileMaker Pro's versatility and ease of use have already made it an indispensable resource in many offices. Now FileMaker Go brings that simplicity and power to iOS. If your business can benefit from giving mobile users access to FileMaker Pro databases, then you need this app.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later
Access FileMaker Pro databases on the road. Printing via AirPrint. User-friendly for FileMaker Pro users. Support back to FM Pro 7.
Inexplicably expensive iPad version. Layout rendering is slow especially over 3G. No layout or scripting tools.