FileMaker Utilities

Analyzer 4 is a Great Debugging Tool

ToolBoxIcon_smallAnalyzer 4 came out in September but it’s taken me a while to adjust to its differences and discover its power. It runs about $400 for a brand new copy and less as an upgrade. I’ve been a long-time user of Analyzer and have always found it valuable to help me find errors in systems and fix them.

Analyzer 4 is different enough that I didn’t immediately understand how to use it. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t really using it much the first few months I had it. I’m in the final stages of perfecting Studio Manager 7 and necessity has compelled me to learn it. Here’s what I found: (1) it’s not very hard to learn and (2) once you do, it’s a real winner.

The famous red dot – the problem report – is what is helping me right now. I run it and it finds all the syntax errors throughout Studio Manager. Studio Manager has 12,500 layout objects – mostly buttons and fields and other layout objects, 642 scripts with 4,681 script steps, 44 base tables with 249 layouts and 171 relationships. This sheer volume provides lots of room for little mistakes.

One especially cool thing is that there are no false positives. If you get a count of 500 errors, you’ve got 500 errors – actually more because Analyzer can’t find your logical errors. When I saw the 550 errors I got in early December, I thought, oh there are mostly false positives in there. Wrong!

I’m down to 7 scripting errors and about 120 layout object errors. I have about 600 scripts as I mentioned in my last post and probably 30,000+ layout objects. I can eliminate all of those 120 last layout object errors today. And then I’ll get back to the final 7 scripting errors some of which I’m debating other issues about so don’t know whether to fix, change or eliminate them.

Here are my top 4 favorite features

Problem Reports with Red dots work great.

Lets you find for Script names which is a life saver when you have lots of scripts in one long list.

Hot links between elements take you where you need to go fast.

Compares analyses to each other – this really helps when you aren’t sure which version is which or you need to replicate the changes you made elsewhere.

One last thing, you get much faster at using it with a few hours of use. You gradually learn how to very quickly find what’s wrong and fix it by using the various features of the program. Clearly, Vince Menanno was using it and improving it incrementally along the way. That’s why you appreciate it more and more with use.

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