The new charting option was simpler than creating reports and worked as advertised, even when following relationships across three tables. I tried adding one table of categories, a second table of companies where I assigned them to categories, and a third table of announced layoffs by companies. The chart popped up with layoff numbers properly grouped by category.

Views can now be sorted in folders (a feature I've had in Zoho Creator from the outset), which becomes important if your application mushrooms to include dozens of customized displays.

"Snapshots" offer a way to freeze (and share) the results of a query at a point in time, as opposed to a saved search query, where the number of records can change as the database does. In the snapshot, which records are included doesn't change; but data within those records can be updated. This seems a bit esoteric, but I suppose there are scenarios where that would be useful.

Recurring import is a rather slick way to use FileMaker Pro to parse data from another source. Pull in your text or Excel file and choose "make recurring import," and then you can update the database by clicking on a button at the top of a view. This is nice if you have a spreadsheet and want to perform more sophisticated queries than Excel will support, or if you need to keep one table in your database in sync with another external data source.

Note that this is only one-way: You can't update records in the database and then sync back to the original source. In fact, you can't modify data pulled in this way at all; it's read-only. And your data must reside locally or on your network -- you can't pull it from the Web.

What application update in 2010 would be complete without a mention of social media? FileMaker Pro 11 lets you easily add a "Web viewer" field to any record layout and then pull in a window for Twitter or Facebook viewing. This is also useful for adding a Google map view to an address within a record.

Other new version 11 features include filters for FileMaker Pro portals (displaying records from multiple tables) and some scripting improvements, such as allowing variables for find requests within scripts.

Overall, I found FileMaker Pro 11 to be a useful platform for database work. However, despite ease-of-use claims, this is not a trivial application for new users to learn (there's a reason why FileMaker sells a 12-module training program with a 700-page manual).

If you're looking for a database application, FileMaker Pro is worth a download to see if it's got the balance of features vs. ease of use that you seek. Already a user? If you're on version 9 or earlier, it looks to me that there are significant enough enhancements in 10 and 11 to make upgrading worth a look. If you're already on 10, you'll need to decide how much you want features like charts, automatic recurring import, quick search and layout folders.