FileMaker Resources Migrating to FM7

FileMaker 7 Migration Bootcamp Day 3


Day 3 wasn’t quite the triumph I was hoping for, but it delivered the goods. I suspect we were all too exhausted for it to be as ecstatic as it might have been. Nevertheless, we did find the consolidation of knowledge we were looking for.

By day 3, brain death was still an issue for me. I was in bootcamp, and I was getting tired, so it was sometimes hard to think clearly. However, armed with the previous evening’s clarity in written form, I was able to ask the questions I needed to ask and get a sense of closure from my 3 day inquiry and education.

Sitting here in my living room, the day after a good night’s sleep, I am feeling powerful, excited and confident to move forward with dispatch on the process of migration. This training has been such a positive experience that I’m now considering taking The Support Group‘s 4 day FileMaker 7 training called What’s Next? in the next couple of months. They do kick ass training too and offer classes near me in San Mateo. For now, though, I’m going to give myself some time to assimilate, incorporate and elaborate on what I learned here.

Planning and being organized about migration have been key themes. My good intentions about planning the process and adhering to the discipline of tracking every step along the way have been strengthened mightily. Trial and error testing is a great compliment but a poor substitute for using the MetaDataMagic tool to get a list of possible conversion issues and addressing them one by one.

I had two goals going into the training. (1) Get a handle on migration issues and (2) learn a lot more about FileMaker 7. These two goals were accomplished. My approach and strategy for converting my powerful and complex in-house filemaker system and my product has changed. On my own, I’ve tried both ends of the spectrum: (1) Build from scratch and (2) Convert and run and modify. I’m abandoning both of these approaches for a better third approach. And, I’ve learned a great deal about 7 so that knowledge will inform my work.

My new *big picture* migration plan:

  1. Create an action plan even if it’s only the first phase – I can do phase 2 after I’ve gained some experience in phase 1. This will include a list of key business processes that need to work correctly – giving me a master checklist against which to measure my progress.
  2. Fix the file references and make sure passwords and groups are set-up cleanly so the conversion will work. Use MetaDataMagic to help with this.
  3. Use MetaDataMagic to identify conversion issues and handle as many as possible in FileMaker 6 prior to conversion. The free Conversion Issues Database is very helpful here.
  4. Convert to 7.
  5. Handle the rest of the identified conversion issues to clean things up with testing as I go along. I received a great set of example files mentioned yesterday that will let get some hands on mastery with key conversion issues by playing with the files.
  6. Avoid introducing 7 features into the converted files because they were designed in an environment where multiple windows and multiple tables in the same file were not possible. The logic within these converted files will work surprisingly well as long as I don’t complicate things.
  7. Then – the fun part. Create a new UI file to start creating new FM7 features. This gives me a sandbox where I can learn 7 and start gaining benefits from it.
  8. Rebuild the converted files in a new 7 file. One approach is to call it data but there are many more options. Using FMrobot and other tools, it is surprisingly easy to do this in 7. This step can be done over a period of months. There’s no hurry.

The migration plan above is directly based on what I learned in this class. Knowing what I know now, I am certain that I will be worlds better off with this approach than with what I had going before attending the class. This class gave me the concepts and information I need to move forward in a bold, clear-eyed way. Very exciting! More FM7 insights coming soon.

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