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FileMaker 8 to pack new work-flow and sharing features

FileMaker, Inc. in the coming weeks is expected to announce a major upgrade to its top-selling database suite for managing people, projects, assets and more, AppleInsider has learned.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple Computer, Inc plans to roll out FileMaker Pro 8 and FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced, both of which have been under development since the company released FileMaker Pro 7 in March of last year.

FileMaker 8 Pro

Rumored to go by the code-name Napa, FileMaker Pro 8 will reportedly pack over 15 new features aimed at improving work-flow and information sharing. Topping the list are new PDF Maker and Excel Maker features that will let users export their FileMaker data in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Excel (XLS) formats, sources said.

Additionally, it\'s rumored the release will let users instantly email the contents of any database field using a new FastSend feature or send personalized messages to one or more customers via added email merge capabilities. A similar FastMatch function will search for data matches without the having to type search criteria, sources said.

FileMaker Pro 8 is also expected to sport faster table imports and a new Relationship Graph function for quickly documenting database and field relationships. Meanwhile, new Alignment and Tab Control tools will help users create cleaner looking database layouts with multiple tabs.

Among the many other features scheduled for FileMaker Pro 8 are mouse-wheel support, automated data entry and completion, an integrated spell checker, and tools to ensure more accurate data entry.

FileMaker 8 Pro Advanced

With the release of FileMaker 8, sources say FileMaker Developer will be renamed FileMaker Pro Advanced. The release is expected to include all the features of FileMaker Pro 8 plus advanced development and customization capabilities.

Developers utilizing FileMaker 8 Pro Advanced will reportedly gain access to new tools for adding custom menus and tooltips. They\'ll also be able to generate a report that provides an overview of their database schema.

Sources also said that the new version will unleash tools for creating kiosk-based and standalone runtime applications.

Simultaneous table imports, more robust calculations, and the ability to tests scripts without modifying the database are some of the other advanced features rumored to make the cut.

Already, it\'s believed that FileMaker is preparing packaging and marketing material to coincide with the release of the two software packages. According to sources, retail packaging will remain largely unaltered from version 7 with the exception of updated version numbers.

FileMaker plans to hold its annual developers conference during the last week of August. The event, which will likely showcase FileMaker 8 Pro, is expected to draw more than 1,000 corporate and independent database developers, consultants and trainers from more than 25 countries.