FileMaker 7 Migration Tip: Use FileMaker 6 too

ToolBoxIcon_smallI should have started doing this sooner. I’ve found that the FileMaker 6 versions of files I’m migrating to 7 are really handy. I can be in the Database Design dialog of 7 and switch to FileMaker 6 and open the Define relationships dialog for the file I’m working on without disturbing my 7 dialog.

One of the chores of moving FileMaker 6 files into a single file 7 solution is fixing calculations that break in FMrobot because the relationships they are based on aren’t defined yet in 7. What you get is a commented out calculation with the FM6 relationship name. I can open up the 6 Define Relationships dialog for that named relationship and see which fields I need to connect in 7 to make my calculation work.

To save time, I’ve made screenshots of the Define Relationships dialogs in 6 so I have a list of the names of the relationships and matching fields. I widen the dialog columns first so that I can see the full relationship and field names. Then I keep those lists in one corner of my screen for reference as I work in 7, creating relationships in the database dialog. Works great.

Another help is to open up the files you are migrating in 7 and use them for reference – this is also where you’ll do your copying and pasting of layouts. So when I’m working with the Jobs table in my single-file database, I have the 7 version of the individual Jobs file open too. Looking at the simpler Relationships diagram for this single table is much easier on the eye – especially if you spend a little while organizing that diagram. I color-coded my individual file diagrams, so they were very usable for reference (this was when I thought I was going to release a multi-file 7 solution). Since the names are inherited from 6, it’s easy to see the 7 version working and then replicate that in the single-file diagram.

As you might imagine, a big 20″ screen or two screens can be an advantage here. If you’ve got the real estate, have these open:

Textedit: you’ll want a text editor handy to hold copied calculations, relationships and field names.

Preview to see your screenshots of FM6 define relationships screens

FileMaker 6 versions of the files you are migrating.

FileMaker 7 versions of the individual files you are migrating. I keep them stacked up to the side so I can open them while having my single-file 7 database open as the main event.

This set-up will make you quite efficient. If you can spare the change, Waves in Motion’s Analyzer 4 can be helpful too. More on that later.

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