image I’ve been watching the iPad database sector lately. My interest stems from more than a decade in the early reign of PC database systems, a landscape embraced by early innovators like Wayne Ratliff (dBASE), Dr. Fulton (FoxPro), and an incredible team of engineers at Nantucket (Clipper).

It was 1982 when dBase first appeared and I was pretty busy with FireFile, which later went on to become LapLink when the the term “laptop” was eventually coined. dBASE was a simple data management tool for personal computers but it included a scripting language which made it possible to build some relatively complex and comprehensive applications.

A key advantage to dBASE was it’s late binding architecture. This simply means that the scripts are interpreted when the user actually runs the application. Interpretive database apps require a “run-time” core and the scripts that form the basis of the application. FileMaker (Apple), and Access (Microsoft) are good examples of modern interpretive database systems.

In contrast, early binding is the domain of compiled code or commonly known as “executables” that are installed and ready to run on your desktop. Compiled applications include the “run-time”core combined with machine-translated scripts.

iOS apps, for the most part, are compiled; they’re presented for approval to the app store in finished form. This is important for Apple because they need to approve the complete user experience before the app can be downloaded through the app store. If Apple allowed apps that are architecturally designed for interpretive (late binding), programmers could create apps whose behaviors might be largely dependent on, and influenced by, data and scripts.

The Apple-Adobe-iOS crisis of 2010 is fundamentally based on this principle as Flash-based apps could include script and data-driven features that could present unknown functionalities at run-time. The world of interpretive, late-binding apps, presents risks that Apple is reluctant to make available to its customers.

However …

FileMaker Pro, a long-time favorite for Mac and Windows database developers and Apple’s desktop database software, is now available for iOS devices including iPad. FileMaker Go comes in two flavors – one for iPad (priced at $39.99) and one for iPhone/iPodTouch ($19.99). But most important – FileMaker Go is designed as a run-time app for database applications designed on Windows and Mac desktops.

Filemaker provides an end-to-end architecture for building, testing, and deploying business apps to the iOS platform – all without getting approval from Apple. In fact, FileMaker apps can be deployed over email, from website links, through cloud storage services, and via local synching with iTunes. And these database apps can connect to remote data sources as well as databases delivered with the app.

FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go silently collaborate to deliver a comprehensive architecture for developing rapid business solutions that enhance the value and extend the reach of business information to mobile workers.

In a free [informal] webinar this Wednesday (December 1st, Fast-track iPad Adoption in Business), I’ll be touching on some of the ways Filemaker Go is helping businesses meet emerging mobile database requirements. If you’re thinking about ways to leverage iPad in your organization, sign up and bring your colleagues and questions.

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