FileMaker (or its latest version, FileMaker Pro) is a relational database application known for being easy to use and for its ability to serve Web pages dynamically without requiring the use of additional third-party applications. With its built-in Web server (called "Web Companion") and out-of-the-box business templates, FileMaker Pro has received high praise for being the ideal application for beginning Web site administrators who want to quickly (literally with one click) add Web database publishing capabilities to their Web site or company intranet.
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FileMaker was originally developed as a personal database application for the Macintosh computer by the Claris Corporation and has since moved into the Windows market. In an effort to build upon FileMaker's reputation for user friendliness, FileMaker Pro (now its latest version, FMP5) has been purposely redesigned so that its user interface more closely resembles that of Microsoft's Office. FMP5 has two Web publishing modes: Instant Web Publishing (which uses pre-designed templates and requires no knowledge of HTML) and Custom Web Publishing, which requires knowledge of HTML and Web Companion's proprietary programming language which is called Claris Dynamic Markup Language (CDML).
FMP5 can be used with a wide variety of middleware applications, common gateway interface (CGI) scripts, and application servers to provide additional Web capabilities. For instance, to provide Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support, FMP5 can be connected to a Mac OS server by using WebStar, or be connected to a Windows NT server by using Microsoft's Web Server. To increase scalability, it is possible to set up a redundant array of inexpensive computers (RAID) to provide load balancing and to ensure consistent page serving with multiples copies of File Maker Pro 5 Unlimited.
FMP has also teamed up with Palm to provide database administrators with a way to seamlessly integrate information in a FMP database with Palm's Wireless Internet service.
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- The Santa Clara police use a FMP database with their personal digital assistants to cut down on paperwork.