Is database development with FileMaker Pro Advanced possible on a tablet computer yet? Not really, but soon, maybe.
FileMaker Go is a wonderful tool for deploying FileMaker databases on iOS devices (iPad, iPods and iPhones) but it leaves something to be desired for the FileMaker developer. There is no way to flip open the hood and tweak your code while on the run. A tablet device that allowed me to do that would be very appealing.
Microsoft’s new Surface tablet
Reading a ZDNet article recently, it just occurred to me that I might want one of Microsoft’s new Surface tablets. I had heard rumbles about the Surface, but haven’t been closely following what Microsoft planned to offer. According to this story, they will release an ARM-based tablet sometime this fall, followed about three months later by an Intel version that will run the new Windows RT as well as any Intel-based applications, presumably including FileMaker Pro Advanced.
In addition to being able to run any Windows application, the Surface will also ship with a keyboard/cover combo, providing an actual keyboard, as opposed to a touchscreen keyboard.
It is unlikely that FileMaker Inc. will release FileMaker Pro Advanced for the iPad anytime soon, (though I would love to be proven wrong on this point, they now offer development tools for Bento for the iPad) but when the Intel version of Microsoft’s Surface tablet hits the market, there will be a tablet on which one could do full-on FileMaker Pro development. As noted in the ZDNet article, using a tablet with the touch interface on an application that is not optimized for touch interaction may be frustrating, and leave me clutching for my mouse or touchpad to get things done.
The other question that is a little hazy right now is the pricing model for these units. They may head into ultra book territory ($1,000 range), in which case you have to ask whether it is worth buying a tablet.
With these constraints in mind, if I do purchase a Surface, it will definitely be from a store with a good return policy.
FileMaker Pro Advanced in the Cloud?
Shortly after uploading the first draft of this article, I saw a press release from WorldCloud offering FileMaker Pro through any HTML 5 capable browser including iOS. I will have to check this out at the upcoming FileMaker DevCon in Miami and get a closer look.