FileMaker 7 Migration Bootcamp Day 1

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I’m in sunny Santa Clara, CA staying overnight after spending my first day in FileMaker Bootcamp. This three-day course is fantastic if you are a serious FileMaker consultant/software developer and want to know how to get from 6 to 7 without tears.

You know the expression *there’s a pony in here somewhere*? Well, Danny Mack and Todd Geist of New Millenium Communications seem to have found a herd! As you know, I’m a fan of Danny’s company and tools MetaDataMagic and FMrobot. And I’m not the only one. At last year’s FileMaker Developer’s Conference in Phoenix, Danny received the FileMaker Excellence award “For Outstanding Innovation and Contribution to the FileMaker Platform”.

OK. Enough of the fluff. What did I learn today? This is a very strategic and hands on class and it’s getting late, so I’ll deliver the learnings as bottom lines:

There’s a terrific and sane way to get from FileMaker 6 to 7. New Millenium calls it Convert-Restore-Extend-Consolidate. I’m already convinced by NMCI’s thinking. It makes most sense with complex FileMaker databases to convert your files and just clean them up enough so they work under 7. Then add a new user interface table that points to your converted files and from there build new functionality in your UI file.

Eventually, you can move the old converted files from your 6 app inside your UI file if you like and replace the originals – without the huge effort you might have imagined. This brief description doesn’t do the approach justice. Read Adding a New Interface File to an Existing Solution, Later Consolidating Tables by Todd Geist in the free pdf Upgrading to FileMaker 7: Migration Foundations and Methodologies for the details.

FileMaker 7 is even more different than we’ve been thinking. That’s actually the problem – six thinking! There are so many new possibilities in 7 that confront with overwhelming options. One of the smart things to do, according to these guys, is to shut some of the doors that 7 has opened. I’ve been sensing the same thing. The outside validation I’m getting here is just the extra nudge I needed to follow my instincts and stay sane with this intoxicating product.

You don’t have to know all the answers with 7 to start using it. It is so flexible that you have lots of different ways to change course in midstream as you learn more. Because you can do things so many different ways and the power is virtually unlimited, you have options upon options even when you think you’ve backed yourself into a corner.

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but perhaps these thoughts will help you avoid a pitfall or open up a new way of thinking. I’m hoping to deliver another installment tomorrow night.

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