Getting a FileMaker database to wherever its needed will be easier for FileMaker users next month when FileMaker Mobile 2.1 ships.
The $49 product (there arent upgrade options) gains support for running and synchronizing FileMaker databases on Pocket PC PDAs. Palm devices are already supported.
In my tests with a Compaq iPaq 3870, I could simply check the FileMaker Mobile Companion option to share a database with my device. I could also choose to copy only certain fields to the PDA, as well as shorten field labels.
No layout forms get preserved in the mobile version (I just had the option of a grid view or basic list view), but drop-down lists and check-box controls do transfer over.
The Mobile version also has a nice pop-up date control that makes entering dates easy. In addition to data entry, I could search for a string in a particular field or sort the database on a single field.
Unfortunately, no data validation rules are enforced by FileMaker Mobile, even if they are defined on the desktop. Validation rules allow database designers to require that certain fields always be entered or that numeric fields actually contain numbers.
Users accustomed to validation rules sanity-checking their entries on the desktop will have to be careful to visually check entries on a PDA before saving them.
To handle conflicts where a record is changed on both the PDA and the desktop, we could choose to have either version be the master or have a duplicate record be created.
Bar-code scanners are supported, so this product will be useful in inventory or warehouse settings where FileMaker is in use.