FileMaker 19 Executive Summary – A Year in Review

Traditionally we provide an executive summary with every major release of the Claris FileMaker product line.

We shared our last one in May 2020 when FileMaker 19.0 was released, almost a year ago. Earlier in the year, Claris had announced that 19.0 was going to be the last of the big yearly releases; going forward, we would see more regular releases.

And we have. The most current version of FileMaker Pro and Go is 19.2.2 and FileMaker Server is 19.2.1.

We’ve noticed a pervasive misconception that these releases were just patch releases containing bug fixes. That is not the case. Each new release since 19.0 has been a combination of fixes and new features. That is the essence of the new release cycles adopted by Claris.

It’s high time we recapped what has happened in the last year; we are pretty sure that some of the new features listed below have not been on your radar. This blog post aims to fix that.

Here are all the versions of FileMaker Pro and Go and FileMaker Server released:

FileMaker Pro and Server 19.0.1 – May 2020

This then was the last of the big yearly releases. We covered it extensively with our executive summary and a collection of blog posts that each go a little deeper on new features:

FileMaker Pro and Server 19.1.1

Just to keep it interesting, there was no 19.1.1, the first post-19.0 release didn’t happen until September 2020, and the version number jumped to 19.1.2.

FileMaker Pro 19.1.2 – September 2020

Most of the new things in Pro and Go 19.1.2 focus on expanding the set of add-ons. We also got the first preview of the new Quick Start Experience (currently only available on macOS) and noticed an important change in behavior in the FileMaker.PerformScriptWithOption JavaScript function introduced by 19.0.

This update also includes a few smaller features, such as: the two new Locale functions: Get(SystemLocaleElements) and Get(FileLocaleElements), plus JSON output from the Configure NFC Reading script step.

FileMaker Pro 19.1.3 and FileMaker Server 19.1.2 – October 2020

This release focused on performance improvements with FileMaker Server 19.1.2, delivering faster queries and searches, server-side sorting, etc.

It also provided compatibility for both Pro and Server with macOS Big Sur. This particular FileMaker Server also brings us upgrade-in-place functionality for the first time.

And of course, this was also the very first release of FileMaker Server for Linux. See our walkthrough on Claris Community on how to install and configure it and the follow-up blog post on how to do updates.

FileMaker Server on Linux also allows user authentication through AD FS, something that we wrote about extensively. On Linux, we also get the OData API, but the XML API and PHP API are no longer available.

Specifically for FileMaker Pro, you can manipulate some of the performance enhancement features by setting client-side flags. In addition, you have a new optional parameter for fmp URLs to control how a currently running script is handled. That brings the behavior of scripts triggered through the fmp URL handler up to par with how scripts are triggered from buttons on a FileMaker layout and from the JavaScript function.

FileMaker Pro 19.2.1 and FileMaker Server 19.2.1 – December 2020

In FileMaker Server 19.2.1, the upgrade-in-place capability extends to supports installing over FileMaker 17 or later. The Admin API gets some serious upgrades, and you get a very welcome and easy way to turn off Bonjour discoverability on your FileMaker Servers.

If you rely on PHP, be aware that as of this version of FileMaker Server, on Windows, PHP does not get installed anymore as part of the FileMaker Server installer. Other features include using Java 11 and the ability to use a pre-existing Java installation, support for the faster HTTP/2 protocol, and quicker aborts if a client wants to stop a long sort.

In Pro and Go, we noticed important security enhancements to protect against unwanted plugin calls and an expanded Quick Start Experience preview.

FileMaker Pro 19.2.2 – April 2021

If your FileMaker Server (any version) is configured for OAuth identity providers, your login dialog will look different.

It also includes new functions for add-on & plugin developers:

  1. GetAddonInfo
  2. GetLayoutObjectOwnerInfo
  3. LayoutObjectUUID
  4. Get(InstalledFMPluginsAsJSON)

This release adds more features to the macOS preview of the Quick Start Experience

Plus, we get an update to the openSSL libraries (now at version 1.1.1i).

As of the time of writing (early April 2021), there is no FileMaker Server 19.2.2. We do see, however, an interesting deprecation notice for FileMaker Server on CentOS Linux. We also noticed an announcement that the next release will support Ubuntu instead of CentOS.

Upgrade or Wait?

That is a tough question, and we have mentioned this before: the equation is not the same as it used to be.

Before, with the yearly releases followed by three or four patch releases, it was fairly clear-cut. We would wait until a few months after the release to see what happened.

Now, however, every release is both a path and a set of new features. We still preach caution and advise to not jump on new releases on day one. Given the quick pace of new features, evaluate what value they bring to your solution and make the decision based on that.

When in doubt, give us a call.

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