FileMaker Go 17: New Mobile Features

FileMaker Go 17: New Mobile Features

Beth Latta, FileMaker Consultant, IT Solutions

When I first looked at the new feature list for Go 17, I thought, “oh there’s not much to see.”  But then I dove in and realized that this release is yet another example of quality over quantity.  The list might not be long, but these new features are powerful and yet again open up the platform to endless possibilities:

  • Sensor support
  • Configure Local Notifications
  • Auto-complete
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Drag and drop
  • Improved iOS App SDK

So what are each of these things and why should I care?

Sensor support allows FileMaker Go to access data from the iOS device such as Battery Level, Battery Status, and Location.  Go can now also access the device’s gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass to return information for things like Acceleration, Rotation Rate, and Compass headings.  

Battery Level and Status can be pretty useful to know if your mobile solution requires a syncing process.  For example, you could check when a sync script begins and if the battery level is below 10%, set a notification to warn the user that they should plug in before continuing. But you wouldn’t need to remind them if the Battery Status returns a 2, which indicates that  it is already plugged in.

Compass headings might be useful in a home inspection or real estate app.  Let’s say a user takes a picture of a window in the living room.  By capturing the compass headings you can let the potential buyer know that they’ll need room darkening shades in the evening so that the glare from the sun won’t make the TV disappear, or that the room will have just the right light for their favorite plants.

Configure Local Notifications allows you to notify the user when certain conditions are met, even when FileMaker Go is not the active application.  Notifications can be based on sensors, so in an inventory example, when you pass the beacon for an item that has hit a reorder point, a notification can pop up to remind you to place the order.  They can also be configured to notify you at a specific time or when a certain amount of time has passed.  Perhaps you want to check for new orders every 20 minutes or be reminded to run a report after lunch.  These types of things are now possible with FileMaker Go 17.  

Auto-complete is one of my favorite new features.  Data entry has previously been a challenge on mobile devices with FileMaker Go, especially when you have to repeatedly enter the same phrases or paragraphs of text.  The interface always works well if you can just tap a selection.  But if the keyboard is required, hopefully you don’t need to say much.  Phrases can take a long time to type and be subject to spelling errors.  Also, finding a value at the bottom of a long scrolling list can be frustrating.  But not anymore!  Now, just like in FM Pro, you can auto-complete by typing in an edit box as well ason a field configured as a drop-down list.  This will save a ton of time and really improve data integrity.  However, just like Pro, there is still no type ahead if the value list is configured as a pop-up menu.

Keyboard shortcuts only apply if you have a keyboard case or other bluetooth keyboard connected to your device.  But if you do, FM Go now gives you a heads up display with your options when you press the command key, and lets you do things like Enter Find Mode or Add New Record with familiar commands from Pro.  It’s much easier than hunting around for the on-screen tap options.

Drag and drop is another great feature, but only works if you’re at least on iOS 11.  You’ll need to be familiar with the iOS so that you know how to swipe and get another app to open on top of or beside FM Go.  But once you master that, it’s easy to drag a picture from the Photos app into a container field, or some highlighted text from your Notes app into a text field.

Last, but not least, if you’re a developer who takes advantage of the iOS app SDK, you’ll be happy to know that they have extended the FileMaker Go app delegate.  You will be able to leverage APIs from additional Apple technologies such as Apple Pay, HealthKit, and HomeKit.

All in all, FileMaker 17 looks like a good thing for your mobile solutions.

Are you interested in upgrading your FM Go app to take advantage of these new features in FM Go 17? Or want to extend your existing FileMaker solution to FM Go? Contact IT Solutions today to discuss how we can help take your FileMaker applications to the next level. 

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