In our previous article, Introducing The Claris Platform, we outlined the three toolsets available — Claris Pro, Claris Connect and Claris Studio. The largest of these toolsets is Claris Pro, and the headline product in that toolset is Claris Pro itself.
What is Claris Pro?
Claris Pro is the FileMaker Pro app ported to the Claris platform. So the good news is that you likely already know how to use Claris Pro.
Claris Pro allows you to create, develop and use database files. Essentially, it has all the features of FileMaker Pro but works on the Claris platform. There are some differences but most of these have very little impact on how you build databases. Differences are primarily in line with differences in the way each platform works and what is supported.
The version numbers of Claris Pro start at 40.0. This provides considerable scope for future versions of FileMaker Pro — currently at version 19.5.4. Claris Pro and FileMaker Pro will both be available for the foreseeable future.
Trivia: there was an early version of Claris Pro 20.0 released before the official launch of the Claris platform.
You will also note in the above comparison that Claris Pro has no license key. This is because it uses a Claris ID for licensing.
Side Note: Claris has announced an intention to release a “freemium” version of Claris Pro. We do not have much detail on how it will work yet, except that you will be able to download Claris Pro and create databases for free until you need to share with other users. We will publish an article when the freemium product is available.
FileMaker Pro includes an option (File menu) to Sign in to Claris ID. If a user is signed in, they can access files hosted on FileMaker Cloud under My Apps. When signed in, there is an option to sign out (File > My Apps > Sign Out of Claris ID).
Claris Pro requires that the user is signed in with a Claris ID. So it makes sense that there is no option to sign out. However, there is an option to switch between Claris ID accounts (File > Switch Claris ID…). Before doing this, you must close all files.
When creating a new database, there are traditionally three methods — from scratch (Blank), from an Excel or text file (Convert), or from a template (Starter).
Claris Pro does not currently ship with starter files. It is expected that they will be added because the license agreement says that they are included.
When you create a new Claris Pro file, it will have a .claris extension. This means that it is not compatible with FileMaker Pro which uses a .fmp12 extension.
Beware: If you are logged in with a Claris ID that is a manager of a Claris Studio team and create a new blank Claris Pro file, there is currently an uncontrollable process — you get the standard local table with five fields, and also a shadow table for each of the existing tables in your Claris Studio instance (along with a table occurrence of each on the relationship graph). You also get a copy of every value list used in Claris Studio. Although you can delete all the shadow tables and TOs, the value lists cannot be edited or deleted. Claris have advised that they will be providing an option to avoid pulling in all the Claris Studio structures.
An existing .fmp12 file must be converted to .claris before it can be used in Claris Pro. This is a simple process — just open the .fmp12 file with Claris Pro and you will be prompted to convert the file. You have the option to rename the old file but the conversion process creates a brand new copy of the file (leaving the .fmp12 file untouched). Save a backup anyway!
The conversion process requires authentication using an account with [Full Access] so make sure you have that handy when converting your file. During conversion, a new [Full Access] account is created using the Claris ID you are currently signed in with. The [Guest] account is also renamed [Default].
A brand new (Blank) file created in Claris Pro will have a [Full Access] account in the name of the currently signed in Claris ID, and an inactive [Default] account. It will have the standard privilege sets as seen in FileMaker Pro — [Full Access], [Data Entry Only] and [Read-Only Access].
As noted above, the conversion process updates the security (File > Manage > Security…) settings in the new file. Any custom privilege sets will be retained.
Note in the above converted file that even though the former FileMaker accounts are no longer valid or useable with this file in Claris Pro, they are still listed against their respective Privilege Sets. This suggests that they have been hidden by the new interface rather than deleted. Interesting! This may likely change in future versions of Claris Pro.
In a new or converted file, there is one [Full Access] account and the [Default] account. In a new file, the [Default] account is inactive; in a converted file the [Default] account has the same active status as the former [Guest] account.
In a Claris Pro file, if the [Default] account is active, any user with a Claris ID that is not listed as a user will be able to log into the file and will be assigned the [Default] account privileges.
In Claris Pro, there are three standard Extended Privileges missing due to changes in support of features:
- fmxdbc — access as ODBC/JDBC data source not currently supported
- fmreauthenticate10 — less relevant with Claris ID
- fmphp — PHP Web Publishing not supported
There are some differences when setting File > File Options…
In FileMaker Pro, the minimum version allowed can be set to any value between 12.0 and 19.5 (i.e. all .fmp12 versions of FileMaker Pro). In Claris Pro, the minimum version allowed can currently be set to 40.0 only. Again, this is in line with all current versions of .claris clients.
In Claris Pro, there is no automatic login allowed — users must have a Claris ID. It therefore makes no sense to allow stored credentials. Claris Pro does not currently support OAuth or Active Directory, so sign-in fields are not relevant.
In our next article, we will run through differences you will see when developing and using Claris Pro databases.