FM7 Emergency Wishlist – Part 1

FileMaker 7 Conversion Needs to be Fixed

FileMaker 7.0 bears a lot of resemblance to OS X 10.0. When you have a total rewrite like I’ve heard that FileMaker 7 is, you don’t get everything on day one. It just doesn’t happen. My Emergency Wishlist series will focus on the most striking missing features in FileMaker 7.

Without a doubt, the biggest missing is a more robust and full-featured conversion capability. I don’t really care how this is addressed as long as it is addressed.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that when you convert a group of interrelated FileMaker 6 or earlier files, you don’t have the option to put them all in a single file. When you convert 16 files, you get 16 files. Each with one table in it.

A major benefit of FileMaker 7 is that you can have multiple tables in a single file. You can work more efficiently this way for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into here.

There are many other smaller conversion issues that can present problems for you. The worst is that scripts can break or produce disastrous unexpected results like deleting records that should not be deleted. This is such a fearsome possibility, that anyone who reads the Getting Started manual or otherwise finds out that FM7 migration is something to be careful about, puts testing and cataloging possible problems at the top of their migration checklist.

Third parties are working feverishly to provide utilities that will help since there are many information and utility gaps to fill. Things will get better – soon, I hope. My guess is that FileMaker Inc. is also going to help us out at some point in the next months with perhaps a more robust conversion utility or facilities that address specific migration issues.

I’ll be writing here about every major development in terms of information, tools, techniques, tips, warnings and rumors.

My Emergency Wishlist series writing is to acknowledge what’s true. To take note of the most glaring omissions in FileMaker 7 in hopes that these issues will get the attention they deserve in a timely manner. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “FM7 Emergency Wishlist – Part 1

  1. Andrew

    A *real* conversion tool would be at the top of my list as well.
    Also on my list:
    -Regular expressions. This would be HUGE.
    -Ability to GET text attributes instead of just setting them.
    These 2 changes have the potential to open up vast new areas for FileMaker development.

    Reply
  2. Joe King

    Conversion applications are almost impossible to write well. I’ve spoke with a number of other developers, as well as atteneding DevCon and FAS events for years, and my advise is to build a strong ‘viewer file’ or RAD tool in FileMaker 7, and then you FMRobot to convert your tables. If you just want FMP ro convert your old solutions without taking advantage of the new structure then why upgrade at all. Those of us who develop for hire to expected to pervide improved/increase productivity. Most execs don’t care what version we use, they just want results.
    Second if you use Troi Web plug-in you can do GET and POST requests in both FMP6 an 7.
    I too have my wish list of things I would like to see FMP add to the product, but one of the greatest things about FileMaker is it’s flexibility, and what you can do with workarounds. The mastery of these workarounds are what make FileMaker Developers into really good developers.
    I give FMP kudos for agressively embracing XML technologies, the new IWP, and the multi-hop bi-directional relationships. These are the technologies that extend the power of FMP. Multiple tables are nice, and they save me a ton of time, but there are few things that I can do now that I couldn’t do before.
    Joe

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