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Getting Your Mac Disk Catalog into a FileMaker Database


I don’t know about you, but as a FileMaker developer, I have about 12 usable hard drives in my house. I don’t seem to ever get around to reconciling them so that I can stop buying hard drives for a while.

I was getting into the project last night because I have a misbehaving 1 terabyte drive I need to exchange. That means I need to move a terabyte somewhere else temporarily. To do this, I need to eliminate 1 terabyte worth of redundancy in a hurry.

So, I figured, I’ll create a FileMaker database: a table called hard drives and a table called folders. I looked in Automator to see if it would take a folder and give me a list of its contents as text. Let me know if I missed this. I can’t imagine someone hasn’t added this to an automator script but I couldn’t find one on short notice. That lead to me typing in about 50 folders and a couple drives. NOT!

Today is a new day, and I wanted a utility to give me the contents of a drive as a text file. Voilà, I found one called DiskCatalogMaker and it works great. Prints catalogs. It’s fast too.

You get 60 days to try this out with full functionality so that’s where I am with it for now. MacDiskCatalog is a nice little Cocoa app. VERY straightforward. You select Scan and it gives you an open dialog. You select a hard drive and it scans that sucker into its own catalog in 3 minutes or so for maybe 300 gigs of files.

Then you have a nice and handy export to text button. It creates a tab-delimited (I think) file with 5 fields: Name, Size, Type, Creator, Date Modified. I just dragged and dropped the exported text file onto FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced and it gave me the option to use the first row as field names – choose yes.

I wound up with a 179 mb file after I had done some Finds and Replace commands on it. Name is the full file path with the file name at the right of that path. I got rid of the hard drive as part of the path for my current purposes and put that name into its own hard drive field. I can always create a calculation to get that drive name back into the path if I need it.

From here, I’ll do a bit more cleaning and perhaps export summary data cause I don’t really want to know all the files on here or at least want to work with less than about 500,000 files for most purposes. If you want to be able to use filemaker to see how many copies of things you have, give DiskCatalogMaker a try!

For me this is fun and is a great relief. I might learn something about FileMaker 9’s capabilities when handling a 1/2 million records at a time along the way. Remember, I got a lot more hard drives left to do but it is going to be very fast to get them in here.

Now that I have my hard drive files and directories safely in FileMaker, I’m still playing around with DiskCatalogMaker to see what all it can do. If it was smart enough to tell me what to delete without my searching on big folders, I’d be totally sold. As it is though, I’ve got a terabyte I need getting rid of and I think I can use it to guide me to some quick scores.

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Make Sure You Know About AdminAnywhere

Admin_anywhere_large_2Wow! I was browsing 3rd party apps over at the FileMaker site and they are featuring AdminAnywhere from 360Works. Looks like a great little helper app for anyone who needs to administer a FileMaker Server and can carry an iPhone or Treo.

See my more detailed write-up over on Studio Manager Bulletin. I want my customers to take advantage of this awesome tool. I can especially imagine all my IT guys and gals using this. They like to do IT things by mobile. Click to see the photo full-size.

I know for a fact that no card-carrying iPhone or Treo owner is going to pass this opportunity up. Did I mention that it’s only $49? Have fun!

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FileMaker Development Tip: Going Mobile


Yesterday when I was away from my Mac(s), I had an idea for something I wanted to do in FileMaker. All I had was my iPhone. I wished for a Back-to-My-Mac for iPhone so I could run FileMaker, but that’s not here yet. Will it be announced tomorrow?

Meanwhile, I decided to print my field definitions and key scripts to PDFs and make them available to me for reference from my iPhone and iPod touch via Evernote. I did say Evernote rocks as I recall.

It is working like a charm. Here I am the next day solving probems at my local coffee (with free wi-fi) hang out (Caffe Acri). I’m able to look at a script as a PDF on my iPod touch. I can see exactly what to do to offer a new Studio Manager feature.

My apologies for this photo. I tried grabbing a screenshot using Capture on my iPod touch. Had trouble syncing that screenshot to my Mac. So we have here a photo of my iPhone. Take my word for it, the screen is pristine, extremely bright and absolutely crystal clear.

The biggest win I’m going to get is probably when doing email and phone tech support. I can just look at scripts and field definitions as PDFs and a few entry screen screenshots for reference.

I already have Evernote notebooks for Studio Manager and FileMaker. You can find inside your notes in a single notebook or all notebooks. Tagging helps too.

Even when Back-to-My-Mac becomes available, it will often be much faster to refer to PDFs in Evernote. By the way, it is quite possible Evernote is working on a native iPhone version of Evernote. It might even be announced tomorrow! Dare we hope?