Databases Come of Age on Mobile Devices

Michael Vizard

As more mobile computing devices find their way into the enterprise, IT organizations are spending a lot more time contemplating what types of applications they can build that will make use of the unique capabilities of these devices.

The nature of those applications will differ widely by vertical industry, but for the most part they will have two things in common. They will involve capturing some type of information outside the office and more than likely they are going to require a database to power them.

In fact, this is one of the primary reasons that Apple is still heavily invested in its FileMaker subsidiary. Today the Apple business unit is releasing version 1.2 of FileMaker Go for both the iPhone and the iPad, which adds support for capturing digital signatures, the ability to view and edit charts created in FileMaker Pro for the Macintosh and Windows, and the AirPrint tools from Apple.


According to Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker vice president of marketing and services, what makes FileMaker attractive on the iPhone and the iPad is the fact that it's simple to integrate applications on these devices with the FileMaker Pro database running on Windows and the Apple Macintosh. The fact of the matter is that most often an iPhone or iPad user is going to be trying to access data on one of those two platforms, which makes the combined FileMaker offerings a pretty compelling option, he said.

Rosenberg adds that the FileMaker offerings also provide the ability to instantly distribute application updates and access information stored in SQL databases. Alas, as a subsidiary of Apple, FileMaker is in no rush to support what Rosenberg describes as a fragmented Google Android platform.

It's almost certain that any sizable IT organization developing mobile computing applications is going to want to install a database on the local device in order to improve the overall application experience. The only question is what type of database to use, which FileMaker is betting it will be heavily influenced by the ongoing popularity of Apple iPhone and iPad devices.

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