In August 2019, FileMaker Inc., announced their rebrand as Claris International Inc. This included a new logo and new products such as Claris Connect. Existing products were renamed — FileMaker Pro became Claris FileMaker Pro, and FileMaker Server became Claris FileMaker Server.
In September 2022, we had the launch of the new Claris platform*. This consists of three tool sets — Claris Pro, Claris Connect and Claris Studio.
*FWIW, Claris uses the uncapitalised “platform” in their marketing
Of these toolsets, Claris Pro is the largest. This is the name used to represent all the existing FileMaker products ported to the Claris platform. So we have:
- Claris Pro
- Claris Go
- Claris Server
- Claris Cloud*
- Claris WebDirect
- Claris Data API
Claris Cloud is “coming soon”.
There is a new file format for the Claris platform with Claris files having the .claris extension. Existing .fmp12 files can be opened in Claris Pro and converted to .claris files. This is a one way conversion that cannot be reversed. As with previous file format changes, it is advisable to keep backup copies of the original files.
The Claris Pro products will essentially work as per the FileMaker equivalents. However, they are a distinct platform — FileMaker and Claris products will not talk to each other. Claris Server will only host .claris files and will only be accessible to Claris Pro and Claris Go clients. Likewise, Claris Pro and Claris Go will not be able to access files hosted on FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud.
Claris Connect is an important toolset that uses low-code processes to integrate the modern business app tech stack. You can create projects that are made up of flows starting with a trigger.
This is workflow automation. You might start with a trigger such as a new Eventbrite ticket. This can start an automated process to add the attendee to a Mailchimp mailing list, write the data to a new record in Claris Pro, and send a Slack message to the event management team.
Finally, Claris Studio is a brand new toolset. In its early development, it is about creating web forms for data collection and easily presenting analytics, charts and dashboards for team members.
The interface for Claris Studio is entirely web based. You can create new tables, and view and edit the data through various views such as spreadsheets, list-detail, forms, kanban boards and dashboards.
The backend database engine for Claris Studio is MongoDB. While Claris Pro creates files with a relational database structure, MongoDB is a NoSQL database program. But the Claris engineers have cleverly created a seamless way to integrate Claris Studio “tables” as external data sources in Claris Pro files! This deserves much greater explanation and will be covered in a future article.
So what now?
What you do now depends a lot on your familiarity and history with the FileMaker platform.
If you have never used FileMaker before, you may be totally comfortable starting with the new Claris platform. Pick a business problem you want to solve and start playing.
If you are a current FileMaker user with one or more FileMaker (.fmp12) apps in production, you may be asking any or all of the following questions (and more):
Is the FileMaker platform being discontinued?
Definitely not. The latest FileMaker Pro release is 20.1.1 (aka 2023), and the next version is being worked on. Claris will add new features to both FileMaker Pro and Claris Pro in tandem. And all the other FileMaker and Claris platform products are on a path of agile development with continuous improvement.
Do I have to convert my files to .claris format?
Only if you want to use the Claris platform. And that is entirely optional for you. Perhaps, stick with the FileMaker platform for live production and dabble in the Claris platform to see what it can do for you. You can create a .claris development copy of your file to have a play.
Do I have to transition to the Claris platform?
Not at all. FileMaker is not going away any time soon. Keep on FileMakering for now!
How do I transition from FileMaker to Claris?
That is a big question. As we work through the processes, we will write articles on that. Stay tuned and subscribe.
Will my current FileMaker licensing convert to Claris licensing?
Claris have a couple of licensing bundles to assist in the transition to the Claris platform — Problem Solvers Circle and Claris Platform Bundle. Learn more about these at Claris Licensing FAQs.
Does the new Claris platform do everything the FileMaker platform does?
No. There are some significant omissions in the current Claris platform. These are being addressed as a high priority by Claris engineers, but is it important to be familiar with the list. The Claris platform currently:
- has only one data centre in the US West
- has no Claris Cloud
- uses Claris ID for authentication so requires an Internet connection
- has no support for Active Directory or OAuth authentication
- has no access for ODBC/JDBC as a data source
What are the compelling use cases for changing to Claris?
This is also something we are working on for future articles. We will collect a range of use cases to help people decide if the Claris platform will offer enough value for them to make the switch from FileMaker.
How do I learn more about the Claris platform?
Great question! As a Claris Trainer, uLearnIT is currently building training resources for the new Claris platform. We will be offering online and in-person training along with various other resources to help you learn all you need.
Is there more?
Of course! There is so much more to explore and discuss about the new Claris platform. It is an exciting platform with plenty of promise for the future. We will be releasing more articles on a regular cadence.
You can quickly access all Claris platform articles here: