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My FileMaker 17 Release Notes

FileMaker Inc. just released their latest version of FileMaker product family and you can read elsewhere about all the details. Here I want to just point to a few changes, which may not be addressed in all the announcements.


The new version of FileMaker has a new plugin SDK and plugin vendors should update plugins for the new version. For MBS Plugin, please use version 8.1 or newer. Version 8.2 will be released next week to give us a few days to test with the final FileMaker 17 version. We hope to quickly fix any issue found after the release is out.

We support 12 different FileMaker releases from version 7.0 to 17.0 and use a modified version of the SDK which does some extra steps to make sure the plugin loads for all the older versions.

Older plugins may or may not work for FileMaker 17. They may not load, not initialize correctly or you cause problems later. We fixed a couple of issues in our plugin for 17 in the beta time. But with 5000+ functions, you may never run into one of the affected functions! To avoid trouble, please use 8.2 or newer.

FileMaker Advanced only

First FileMaker Pro is gone and we only have FileMaker Pro Advanced. If you miss the Tools menu, please enable it in preferences and restart your copy of FileMaker Pro Advanced. Please note that independent of this preferences, the software itself via report itself as FileMaker Pro Advanced. e.g. Get ( ApplicationVersion ) returns something like "ProAdvanced 17.0.1".

For plugins this means that we have to do extra work in the MBS Plugin. But you can use that as MBS( "Platform" ) should return "Pro" if you use only the Pro version and Developer if advanced tools are enabled. We use this to disabled script highlighting automatically for FileMaker Pro until the first time you open the script editor. This avoids confusion with users who may see a colored number somewhere.

Please note that you as a solution provider can define whether Advanced Tools are enabled with the AI_DISABLEADVANCEDTOOLS=1 entry in the "Assisted Install.txt" file next to the installer.

FileMaker Data Migration Tool

The migration command line tool is great addition and certainly will help a lot of people. It allows to copy data from the older database into a clone of a newer version. Be careful to read the documentation for this tool. The rules on how to match tables and fields from old to new database could be unexpected sometimes as matching goes primary by name and not ID. So better do not rename tables or fields unless you want them to be empty after migration.

If calculated fields need to be recalculated, be aware that some context may be missing, especially calls to plugins will not work as far as we know and not return the expected values. Finally, please always use the -v command line switch for verbose output, so you see what is going on. Work on copies of the databases and it may be good to lock the old file as read only (Info window in Finder), so you don't accidentally overwrite the old database.

For the performance, calculated fields can make the process slow. Because if there is a field, which needs to be recalculated, that means that all related fields may need recalculating and finally the indexes need to be redone. And if each field needs to be touched and index rebuild for a table, the copy process can change from a second (copy on block) to minutes.

Perform Script by Name

As scripts can be performed by name, be always sure that the script called verifies that the one who called is allowed to call it. People could before trigger any script by name via URL already, but now it's even easier. So expect any script to be triggered by someone at any time. For best security, validate if the script is run in the correct layout, by the current account and exit with an error if something is not as it should be!

Temporary Logout

The new feature for temporary lockout is a good idea. But have you ever left your iPhone on the kitchen's table? If you have small kids, the may try some buttons and while they may not be able to read and write, they key can press buttons and get PINs entered. Sometimes I come back and the phone is locked for a minute!
So if someone comes to your FileMaker application, they can now block your access for some time by trying random passwords.

OS Requirements

FileMaker 17 has higher needs for the operation system. On Windows side you can use 7 year old Windows 7 SP1, but on MacOS, it must be 2 year old MacOS 10.12 Sierra or newer. I am personally not happy to only have two supported MacOS releases.

For iOS FileMaker Go requires the 11.2 release from last year. That maybe due to the Drag & Drop support which requires iOS 11.


With the newer license model, the benefits improve for the memberships. For 99 USD/year as FDS member, you can now get the FileMaker Data Migration Tool (you want that in your toolchain!) and a server license for your development. It is the cheapest way to get yourself a server for your own company, although with very limited connections.

Being FBA member is now worth more as you get 3 servers and 5 users included. That is cheaper than buying those licenses for yourself, so I would expect quite a few smaller FileMaker consultant companies can cover their company with those licenses. FileMaker iOS SDK and data migration tools are now included with FBA, so you may no longer need a FDS membership alongside a FBA membership.

Launch Events

Please check FileMaker Events website for announcements of FileMaker 17 Launch events.
We will be present at the launch events in Germany (29th May) and in Switzerland (12th June).
15 05 18 - 15:35

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