I am going to refer to the software, "FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced" as "FileMaker" or "the software" for the rest of this review.
FileMaker comes boxed with a printed manual (which is a nice feature compared to other products). The siftware is contained on a single CD. Printed on the back of the CD is a 35 digit license key that must be entered, registered and activated. The software comes with a and a freebie trial CD to pass on to a friend and with a printed resource guide containing third party software solutions, consultants, certified developers, etc.
Access to the FileMaker Technet requires a paid account. The current price is US$99/year. The FileMaker site contains links to user groups, news groups and email lists. I was not able to find an actual forum on the site but that may be included with a technet membership. You can search the knowledge base for free.
FileMaker runs on Windows and Mac operating systems. According to FileMaker, the system requirements are:
Mac OS X 10.4.8
PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac
256 MB of RAM
- Windows XP Professional, Home Edition (Service Pack 2)
- Pentium III 500MHz or higher
- 256 MB of RAM
- CD-ROM drive
- SVGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution video adapter and display
- Windows Vista Ultimate, Business, Home
- 800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or higher
- 512 MB of RAM
- SVGA (800x600) or higher resolution video adapter and display
- CD-ROM drive
I installed FileMaker on a Pentium 4, 3GHz laptop with 1.5GB of ram running Windows XP Pro. Before installation, I had 16.1GB free disk space and aftwards, I had 15.8 GB free disk space.
Installation was quick and painless. The setup program is the normal wizard that we have come to expect of any quality software. The wizard contained about 10 or so screens: choose your langauge, enter the user/company/license key, review the license, where should it go, etc.
The actual installation runtime on my laptop was about 10 or 15 minutes from start to finish. Once I answered the questions on the wizard, it ran undisturbed. I accepted the option to create a desktop short cut and a quick link short cut. It does give you the option to not create those.
Following the installation, you have the opportunity to register your software. You can register via email or online. I chose online and was finished in just a minute or two.
That was it for installation.
There are no post installation steps that are required to be taken but, being the curious type, I decided to nose around a bit.
Unlike almost any other database software that you will install, FileMaker does not install a server service.
FileMaker does install a license manager called FlexNet. This service is started when FileMaker starts and may (or not) shut down right away. You can get additional information on this service from the FelxNet Site.
As part of the FlexNet license management, the first time you run FileMaker, you will need to go through an activation process. You can choose to activate via telephone or via the internet. I chose the internet.
The activation also went flawlessly and within about 20 minutes, I had installed the software, registered it and activated it. I was now ready to create my first database.