One of my favorite new features of FileMaker 12 is the new storage option for container fields. Prior to the release of FileMaker 12, files could be stored in one of two ways, or our team utilized a third party tool to open up other capabilities.
The Previous Storage Solutions
The first storage solution in FileMaker 11 involved storing the data internally in containers. While that was nice for small images and files, it forced your database to expand in size, which can cause slower backups and startup times.
The second storage option involved entering a file alias, or relative path, as a reference to a specific file on your computer. However, this alias was relative to your own computer storage structure and, as a result, came with many limitations when others needed to access files.
The New FileMaker 12 Storage Solution
Now, with FileMaker 12, we can store data externally with a click of a button by putting a document in a container and storing it elsewhere. This means your files are available through your database even though they aren’t stored within it, thus keeping the database file size down! Within today’s hosted environments, smaller files mean quicker backups, resulting in increased data security.
The remote storage option bridges the “relative safety” of storing a file as a reference and the problem of sharing a referenced file in a multi-user environment. Now, we can also build robust document management systems for our customers.
Choosing your External Storage – Open or Secure
FileMaker 12 has two types of external storage to choose from: Open and Secure. Open storage uses a visible link to the actual data source files. Users with proper permissions to these directories are able to navigate to the files and open them.
Secure storage uses a real link, but encrypts the data file to prevent users from navigating to the file through Windows Explorer or Finder and opening the actual file in its native format. This secure storage option is great for files like birth certificates or medical records.
FileMaker even thought about the broad effects of changing the storage settings, and what that change now means to the old files and related structure. Therefore, when storage options change, the below dialog box appears so that the file structure changes for all previously stored container data.
Our team gives the new features of container field storage a big thumbs up. We played around with some extra features, like the new drag and drop capabilities of container fields, while watching the rebuilding of the directories and it’s absolutely brilliant!