Ask anyone in the office what the best database software for the Mac or PC is and you will hear FileMaker Pro. FileMaker inc’s top of the line database app has been winning awards and praises for years and now the power of your entire company’s database can be on your iPad.
FileMaker Go 12 for the iPad does exactly what you think it does – takes exactly what you see on your desktop’s screen, and makes it available on your iPad. Your company is about to get extremely mobile. Read more to find out how.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Let’s make something clear right from the beginning – FileMaker Go does not create databases from scratch. For that, you are going to need FileMaker Pro. What this mobile app does is allow you to take your database out of the office on your iPhone or iPad. Once your database is loaded in, you can do anything with it. This includes adding new records, searching and sorting, viewing reports, and sharing your information either through the internet or iTunes.
Although you can share your database online and access it though a modern web browser, much how like the FaceBook app for the iPad is much more efficient, so is FileMaker Go.
How Does It Look?
FileMaker Go’s interface is pretty straightforward. While its design will not win any awards for awesome beauty, it could very well win one for sleek and straightforwardness. The interface has two small bars on the top and bottom of the iPad’s display. The top bar has two buttons. The left is for managing multiple tabs. This allows you to switch between multiple “windows” as it were making it easier to juggle multiple records or even databases.
The bottom bar is strictly for your database. The button on the far left lets you switch views between either form, list, or table view. It also shows you all of the layouts and sections of your database. In the middle of the bottom bar is a scroll bar which lets you quickly pan through your records. Or you could tap the left and right arrows to go through one record at a time. The two buttons on the right give you options to manage, locate, and sort records.
The rest of the display is dominated by the look and feel of your customizable database layout. What you see in FileMaker Pro on the PC is what you get on the iPad. What’s even better is that FileMaker has built-in iOS-ready templates to make your database flow seamlessly from device to device.
What Makes It Special?
FileMaker Go has some unique iOS features that make it very useful on the iPad. Multi-touch gestures are used throughout the app. Records, forms, and reports from your database can be printed to an AirPrint compatible printer. If you wish to add any kind of multimedia to your records such as audio, photos, or videos, FileMaker Go has complete access to your device’s library.
Digital signatures can be created and added right on the go. They then can be displayed anywhere in any fashion in your database. Also, FileMaker Go lets you multitask with your other apps. This means that you can quickly switch to another app to grab some data and then switch right back picking up right where you left off.
All of the input methods you are used to on an iOS device are utilized. This means that date pickers and the iOS task-specific keyboards are all utilized to make entering your data quick and easy.
Does It Share Well With Others?
There are many ways to share the databases on your iPad in FileMaker Go. Through the print menu, much like on a Mac, you can create a PDF which then can be saved to the iPad, or emailed through the main Mail app. If email is not your best bet, try saving your database and transferring it through iTunes. You then can copy all of your files onto your Mac or PC.
That is not even the best part. If you have FileMaker Server, all of your company’s personnel can edit and view your database simultaneously. That way, when you create, edit, or delete any record on the iPad or iPhone, all of your changes will sync immediately to the server and back to all of your devices. What’s more is you can physically secure the server that is hosting for security. This works on just plain Wi-Fi models, and 3G enabled iOS devices.
How Does It Perform?
In testing, FileMaker Go didn’t disappoint. Everything is smooth, fast, and reliable. The app has not crashed once in my whole time with it. Scrolling through records is a breeze. Although bigger databases will result in more processing for the app, the iPads solid-state storage should keep things fast. Remember that the more images the app has to load, the more power it will require.
If you’re looking for an easy way to keep a database on the iPad, check out Apple’s spreadsheet software – Numbers. Numbers has a “form” feature which allows you to quickly go through, add, edit, and sort records in a simple layout that results in an easy-to-read spreadsheet.
At the End of All Things…
FileMaker Go is a great solution for those who need to take their databases on the go. These databases can be simple tasks, or a complete inventory of your store – all of which can be tabulated and organized on Apple’s iOS devices. The interface is sleek, the features are sound, the app preforms swiftly, and the price is unbeatable – Free. You can find more information at FileMaker Go’s website.
FileMaker Go 12 is a great way to take your databases on the road. It's fast, lightweight, and uses the full power of the iPad. This app is definitely recommended for those who travel a lot and need all of their company's information with them. Sharing information is a snap and with FileMaker Server, syncing your data is seamless. Although you can't create databases on your iPad with FileMaker Go 12, you can create new records and reports which can be shared in many ways.9