FileMaker Companion for Newton


FileMaker Companion is an product which allows Newton users to browse, edit, and synchronize data from FileMaker Pro 3.0 databases. Users can use their Newtons to browse and edit data in FileMaker databases which are shared on the network as though they were guests. Subsets of the data may be "captured" and downloaded to the Newton. The captured piece of the database can be used after the Newton disconnects from the desktop DB; as the user roams she can collect additional data and modify the captured records. The next time the user connects to the desktop, she can synchronize the data, which performs a simple operation to flow the new information back into the desktop database.

Captured databases maintain as much of the look and feel of the original FileMaker DB as we can muster on Newton. We do our best with field types, formatting, lookups, and calculations. In version 1.0, only Mac hosts are supported, and pictures/sounds, graphical layouts, scripts, relations and repeating fields are not supported... if there were enough public clamor... Another cool thing is that FileMaker Companion has an extensible architecture which allows solutions developers to create custom fields on the Newton. An example might be a barcode field,a field that takes geographical data from a GPS device, or one that converts input from medical instruments into a usable form.

It was a pretty ambitious problem to tackle on a platform as performance and screen constrained as Newton, but we've pulled it off (for the most part.) The product performs wonderfully on the soon-to-be-released MessagePad 2000 and eMate 300 Newtons; but is probably only for the most patient and forgiving of users on older Newton devices.

We showed a development version of FM Companion at MacWorld San Francisco in January 1996. As of June 1996 we have reached beta, but our SQA and management team were redeployed to help with the Claris Homepage release. Our small engineering team continued work until October 1996, when work was halted... sort of. One person (Bob Stine) continued development until Claris was canned, er, dissolved in February 1988. FMC had just gone beta.

I might know where to find a copy... (completely unsupported and off the record, of course) email me.

Here's a copy of the press release Claris released November 1995.

The FileMaker Companion for Newton team is/was: