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Jason

FMP 7 Thoughts

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Jason

What's everything think of the new FMP. So far its been rock solid for me. I love the new password/privelages system, great improvement!

 

The graphical layout for database relationships is also a plus!

 

Now I need to convince my company to purchase the new version.

 

Does anyone know if a new FMP server was released with this version?

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andygaunt

Jason -

 

The server version will not be out for a few months.

 

There will be two flavors of server. The advanced server will include unlimited now (as the unlimited product is no longer a seperate product)

 

Both are scheduled for an early Summer 2004 release.

 

I guess it is going to take people that long to migrate existing systems over!!!!

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Jason

Aw ok. Maybe I should start scheduling the FMP 7 update then. Oh and one more thing really cool... how you can use the TextColor function. No more making three calculation fields to show two differnet colors! heh

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andygaunt

And multiple windows per table, the ability to position the windows on the screen and rename the windows to what you want to call them.

 

There is a lot to learn for this new version.

 

And this is going to be the biggest problem for developers. Do I upgrade or do I start from scratch.

 

Upgrading alone will not bring about the majority of the new features.

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Mariano Peterson

Working in Layout mode is like wading through molasses. It takes almost 5 seconds for the application to catch up with the mouse. I've tried re-installing, but no change. This happens on two separate computers.

 

The features don't outweigh the new, unbelievable slow down of working in Layout mode. Literally, I have to wait up to 5 seconds EACH TIME I MOVE SOMETHING ON THE LAYOUT! I can't believe it!

 

Both computers have Intel P4s running about 1.7 Mhz. Both have 512MB of ram, and each has a dedicated 32MB video card (one an NVidia and the other a Radeon). One computer is running Win XP Pro, the other Win 2K Pro. One has resolution of 1600x1200 and the other 2560x1024.

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Mariano Peterson

FM7 still doesn't solve the bug with entering data in "Show Custom Dialog". The user's input is LOST unless they click the default button (button 1). This requires the developer to make the default button something like "Continue" or "Submit" or "OK".

 

---BUT GUESS WHAT---

If the user clicks the "Esc" key on their keyboard, it triggers the default button - which submits the edits. The "Esc" key should be ignored for "Show Custom Dialog".

 

Anyway, this is ridiculous. What if you wanted to have the default button be "Cancel" (a common practice)? FileMaker (6 and 7) prevents you from doing this, because it doesn't store your input in "Show Custom Dialog" unless you click the default button.

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Mariano Peterson

Its pretty discouraging that FM7 still doesn't introduce event-based scripting. We really need a model where developers can "attach" scripts to the standard "Find", "Delete Record", "New Record", etc. We shouldn't have to lock users out of the natural functionality of FileMaker in order to develop a secure solution - rather, developers should be able to EXTEND FileMaker's native functionality.

 

While some would argue that scripts can be triggered when exiting a field, there are many draw backs to the way this works:

1) You need a plug-in.

2) The plug-in is triggered via a Field definition. Field definitions are very cludgy in FileMaker.

3) The plug-in doesn't tap into FileMaker application events, such as "New Record", "Delete Record", "", "Sort", etc.

4) The plug-in triggers the script no matter which layout you are on, and matter what mode you are in. Yes, you can programmatically switch the path based on the name or number of the current layout, but this makes your code very fragile. What happens if somebody changes the name of the layout? Your script trigger will break unless the Field Validation calculation had been updated to match the new layout name or number. Needless to say, this makes maintaining your solution unnecessarily difficult.

 

FileMaker should have introduced 2 forms of event based scripting: Layout events and Table events.

 

Layout events would allow you to control/right-click on a layout object and choose which script to run for the various events that the object supports (onClick, onFocus, onBlur, etc). For each event that the object supports, you could choose a script to run (or just leave it blank). These events would be specific to each layout object - they would NOT be specific to a field.

 

Table events would display a list of events supported by the table, such as "Delete Record", "New Record", "Edit Record", "". For each table event, you could specify one script. These events would trigger regardless of which layout you are on.

 

Triggers are an important aspect of RDBMS's. MySQL was one of the few that didn't support triggers, although there were plenty of plug-in table types that altered the behavior of MySQL to support triggers. In short, this is standard functionality in the database world.

 

Layout events are an important aspect of application development. Every application development environment I can think of supports events, EXCEPT FILEMAKER. 4D, MS Access, Visual Basic, VBA, Servoy, Word, Excel, HTML applications / Web browsers; these all support events. Events are a crucial element of developing rich, dynamic, and user-efficient interfaces.

 

By not supporting this basic sort of functionality, FileMaker is tying one hand behind our backs.

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David Head
Originally posted by Mariano Peterson:

[qb]Working in Layout mode is like wading through molasses. It takes almost 5 seconds for the application to catch up with the mouse. I've tried re-installing, but no change. This happens on two separate computers.

 

The features don't outweigh the new, unbelievable slow down of working in Layout mode. Literally, I have to wait up to 5 seconds EACH TIME I MOVE SOMETHING ON THE LAYOUT! I can't believe it![/qb]

Obviously this is not right. FileMaker Inc would not release a product like that! My final beta copy works fine on Win2K Pro. So there must be some issue with your computer. Please do not suggest that the new FileMaker 7 has been somehow disabled in Layout mode. It is not a bug. I would be interested in hearing what the resolution to the problem is.

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David Head
Originally posted by Mariano Peterson:

[qb]Its pretty discouraging that FM7 still doesn't introduce event-based scripting. We really need a model where developers can "attach" scripts to the standard "Find", "Delete Record", "New Record", etc.

 

By not supporting this basic sort of functionality, FileMaker is tying one hand behind our backs.[/qb]

Mariano,

Sounds to me like you are pretty disappointed with FileMaker Pro as a product. I expect you will discontinue development in FileMaker.

 

Personally, I have become quite adept at programming "with one hand tied behind my back" and my users really like the interface. And I can do it a lot faster than 4D, Access and Oracle programmers. With FM7 it gets even better.

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andygaunt

David -

 

While waiting for my order to be processed for the new version I too downloaded the PC trial version from the FileMaker site and have had the same problems as Mariano with 7 being very slow in Layout mode.

 

I am downloading a Mac OSX version now to see if this has the same problems.

 

I will let you know how the full version goes once I receive it.

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Mariano Peterson

I'm not trying to suggest that Layout is disabled. Layout is there, and it works, albeit extremely slow. I experienced this problem on two computers, using today's trial version.

 

Believe me, I too am interested to see what the resolution will be to this problem.

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David Head

Will post a question to the FSA developer list and see if anyone else has seen this and resolved it.

 

I have had this email advice though:

 

"IMPORTANT: It is imperative that you remove any pre-release versions of FileMaker software and install the shipping version. Please do not attempt to install the shipping version of FileMaker Pro 7 or FileMaker Developer 7 over the beta version.

 

To remove the pre-release version:

 

** In Windows: Use the "Add/Remove Programs" Control Panel to remove the previous versions

 

** In the Mac OS:

1. Drag the Application folder to the trash (ApplicationsFileMaker (or Developer) 7 and all of its contents

2. Also, delete the FileMaker (Pro/Developer)7 Preferences

files:LibraryPreferencesFileMaker PreferencesFileMaker Pro 7.0 Prefs

 

David

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andygaunt

I think the way FileMaker have gone about this release with no notice of future content (apart from hear say and Thnk Secret.com) to their developement community is terrible.

 

You really would think they would have their game faces on for such a big launch, yet they have been found lacking in pretty much every department.

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Robert Schaub

Don't know if mentioned yet

 

Not compatible with .fp5 files , must be converted to .fp7 therefore $$$ for server are required if you upgrade to 7.

 

Also , at least in demo the first thing I tried I opened a file (.fp5) and the clear graphics convert to white backgound, looks bogus with inverted tabs layout.

 

THIS EXPLAINS WHY MY FREE TimeCards is no longer available on FileMaker Collection. At least 120 people got it befor it got gone.

 

OH Ya I was not a lucky one to test drive before the crowd did. I quess you need to belong to F$A?

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Habitude
Originally posted by David: Mariano,

Sounds to me like you are pretty disappointed with FileMaker Pro as a product. I expect you will discontinue development in FileMaker.

 

Personally, I have become quite adept at programming "with one hand tied behind my back" and my users really like the interface. And I can do it a lot faster than 4D, Access and Oracle programmers. With FM7 it gets even better.

Hey David, you're a little harsh on Mariano, don't you think? Most of us are probably as committed as you in developing in FM, but not necessarily a proponent of the product.

 

In defense of Mariano, I had similar findings in layout mode that were questionable too.

 

From what I read into his postings, he's merely suggesting that maybe a 10 y/o software product, now in version 7 should have alot alot more functionality and action-packed features already built into it, without the need for additional plug-in's the supplement it.

 

I've installed the trial version on 4 different machines with different platforms, each having substantial RAM & CPU power. Although layout mode was interesting and cool, it was also screen jumpy and a bit slower, which I believe was a result of the related file linkage taking place in the background. But, no biggie, it started to even out after a while.

 

The very first issue I had was my failure to find examples or documentation that let me, the new user, a solid foundation of the changes between the many versions most of us have grown accustomed to. One particular clueless moment was after conversion of a solution, the new file and table references, minus the standard relationships schema, was a new adventure. Maybe I nissed something in the help file... Shrug.

(Maybe the should have video clips like "ISO Matt" publishes, etc. in this version).

 

Personally, I have become quite adept at programming "with one hand tied behind my back" and my users really like the interface. And I can do it a lot faster than 4D, Access and Oracle programmers. With FM7 it gets even better.
So what? You can do it alot faster, but then again, some of us were former SQL, or Oracle programmers, and were already adept to those more advanced products.

 

In my case, I HAD to leave the SQL world and plunge into FM and not without alot of growing pains. (just ask Andy G.)!!! I'm still looking forward in continuing my FM development, regardless of the very slow evolving and sometimes frustrating software.

 

I'm quite certain, on 3.9.2004, others on planet FM had the same experiences.

 

Peace.

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FileMakin' Tom

I assume I must change my handle to "Dinosaur" or "Anachronism" as FMP 7 is ruled out for me. I am a holdout on Uncle Stevie's "Next" for Macs. I refuse to replace a perfectly acceptable version of Photoshop for about $700 when my present version is all I need. This is true of about $30k of software I refuse to replace just to use system OSX. My customers seem to agree that OSX puts them in the position of spending way too much to comply with the failed Next system. I am now left in the position of considering abandonment of my beloved FileMaker Pro for a compatible DB system which will run on OS 9. Will they soon rename it FileMaker Next?

Most of the improvements should have been in the release of FMP 6 anyway. mad.gif

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Jason

Does anyone know if when FMP 6 came out that any updates or patches were available soon after for any bugs? If so we could possibly expect the same for 7, although their hands may be tied with the next version of FMP Server.

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RichPD

A lot of anticipation and now what appears to be a lot of frustration. So many of the "wish list" items are still missing.

How hard would it be to copy and paste script code?

All my FMD6 apps are "complex" in FM's eyes. I tried to convert one of my more expansive solutions and found that the converted FM7 couldn't handle a lot of the external script calls! Imagine my frustration when a simple external script to set a global field in a second file left me hanging in that file instead of returning to the calling file.

I've also found that a lot of pop-up lists that call data from related files are very slow. When dropping the cursor into one of those fields, the list doesn't appear until you tab out then back again.

 

I guess that I only got to page 37 of the 84 page "plan for conversion" brief. I've been with FM since the old Claris days and have never had this level of difficulty in planning an upgrade.

 

Is it me? (or is it Memorex?)

 

After being thrilled at the prospect of an upgrade, I now have to see if another FTE is needed along with my upgrade (to recode!)

 

Rich

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Robert Schaub
Originally posted by Jason:

[qb]Does anyone know if when FMP 6 came out that any updates or patches were available soon after for any bugs? If so we could possibly expect the same for 7, although their hands may be tied with the next version of FMP Server.[/qb]

Yes , that is why FM 6 current version 6.v04

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Officer Ron

I'm sure by now everyone has figured this out, but in case anyone hasn't...

 

Mariano Posted:

Working in Layout mode is like wading through molasses. It takes almost 5 seconds for the application to catch up with the mouse. I've tried re-installing, but no change. This happens on two separate computers.

 

If you go into Preferences and change the Memory from the default of 8Mb to a much higher number, (at least 40Mb, I used 200Mb) You'll see a performance increase.

 

Ron

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Mariano Peterson

No, that did not solve the problem.

 

I increased the memory cache to 200 MB, restarted FileMaker, and the problem persisted. Thanks for the idea though.

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Klepton

Same thing for me - slow as heck (3 seconds between click and action) and as I work it appears to be getting slower - seems to be related to the total number of layout items in the whole file (not just on the current layout).

 

Did someone leave some _DEBUG_ code in? Its almost unusable - I hope they fix it soon...

 

Platform WinXP Pro SP1, 384MB RAM

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Mariano Peterson

I'm trying FM7 with a simple layout that contains only one object (1 field). Its still unbearably slow. The database is defined with 1 table and 1 field. I've made it as barebones as possible to test this, and still its slow. I can't really waste time experimenting with FM7 because of this problem - and I certainly can't consider buying it.

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Lips

I am waiting for my copy of 7 to arrive, but using the trial version to try and prepare myself for updating databases etc...

 

I have experienced no problems in layout mode, it is just as fast and responsive as previous versions.

 

emac G4 1ghz, OS X 10.3.3

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Mariano Peterson

What resolution is your display set to?

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Mariano Peterson

David, in reply to your earlier posting, yes, I'm disappointed with the feature set of FM7.

 

To be fair, FM7 does introduce many new, extremely powerful features. Among these are:

-New relational structure, and its use of table instance groupings. This is absolutely awesome.

-Script parameters

-Custom functions (FM Developer)

-Service based, multi-threaded web hosting

 

There are other features which one would think FileMaker should have addressed long, long ago:

-Increased file size

-Increased table count

-Increased database capacity

 

And of course there are numerous features which haven't been addressed at all:

-Internal support for SQL

-Improved support as an ODBC data source to other applications

-Event based scripting model (application events, layout events, table events). This sort of event model is not addressed by plug-ins.

-Embedded layouts.

-Improved plug-in architecture

-Enhanced ActiveX API

-Lousy portal widget

 

Unfortunately, the improvements in 7 are relatively minor. The work it would take to re-build the current applications I support is not worth the added benefit of FM7. The multi-threaded web support issue has largely been addressed by the use of a RAIC (investment already made) and ASP or PHP. The script parameters are great, but there is already such an extensive set of functionality implemented through abstracted scripts in FM6 that it doesn't pay to re-write for the FM7 scripting advantage.

 

The new relational structure is awesome, but again, at this point I've already overcome these problems in existing solutions. Its just not worth it to rewrite for 7.

 

Further, the largest work group I support uses high resolution monitors which FM7 does not run anywhere near efficiently on. These are top end machines, where computing power is not an issue. Further, I can't afford to spend the time developing in such a slow environment, and I really shouldn't have to scale down the solution to accomodate FileMaker's trouble with high resolutions.

 

I am going to continue with FileMaker, although for the foreseeable future it will be with FileMaker 6. Most of the solutions I support have been pushing the limits of FileMaker for some time now, but 7 doesn't bridge the gap to our goals. Consequently, clients are looking towards other technologies that will support the features they need which FileMaker still does not provide.

 

I hope to play a key role in this transition, and quite frankly find it challenging and fun. Yes, I am dissapointed that FileMaker has not addressed these key areas. And yes, I'm working to build expertise in other fields that do, so that I may better meet the needs of my clients.

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Lips
Originally posted by Mariano Peterson:

[qb]What resolution is your display set to?[/qb]

Resolution: 1024 X 768

Colours: Millions

Refresh Rate: 89 hertz

 

If this is any help?

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Maureen

I too have been working with the trial version of 7.0 and have had no issues. I just sent a proposal for an upgrade to senior management because I find so many of the new features promising and exciting. Although, some of the comments in this post have made me nervous about the upgrades, but I figure we should have at least a couple of months (IF) we get the funding.

 

My resolutions is 1024 X 768 on Windows 2000, if that helps. I have found no issues with layout mode at all, it's speed is the same as 5.5.

 

I truly find the new relationship model and tables to be a big plus and will make it so much easier dealing with some of the antiquated databases I've inherited that are about 10 years old themselves. (at testiment to FM's stability).

 

Hopefully all will work out, I'm pushing for Server 7 advanced and looking forward to finally being able to use the web interface.

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Mariano Peterson

Lips, Maureen: You are not experiencing the problem because you are both using very low resolutions. When I set my computer to 1024 x 768, the performance problems disappears on my computers as well.

 

However, I work on two computers which both have high resolutions (1600 x 1200, and 2560 x 1024). Most of the users I support use 2560 x 1024. It just doesn't make sense to re-write the existing applications to FM7 only to be hampered by performance problems (in my case).

 

Further, the feature set in 7 doesn't solve the development problems that still need resolution (such as improved GUI functionality, reduced development time through the reuse of GUI components, improved extensibility through an improved plug-in architecture, improved responsiveness and reduced clicking through the use of a proper event based scripting model - not the limited events supported by plug-ins).

 

I'm not saying you shouldn't upgrade to 7. FM7 does introduce a few nice features, and if I were developing a solution from scratch that didn't require a large resolution I'd probably use FM7 as well. The font rendering is still horrendous, but that could probably(?) be overlooked. Besides, there is no point starting a new project on an old *proprietary* technology such as FM6 when a newer version is available (and the older version will soon no longer be supported).

 

I just think that FM7 is not the super duper be all end all solution that many people made it out to be. It offers a few improvements over FM6, and it also brings a few new (relatively minor) problems. FM7 was a crucial step for FMI. Unfortunately, they only managed to address some basic issues which should have been addressed long, long ago - and failed to address many issues which would have made FileMaker a much more efficient, robust, and flexible development tool.

 

I had been hoping FMI would release a strong feature set that would provide incentive to rewrite a few solutions. However, for the most part FM7 doesn't warrant the extra work.

 

Sure I could certainly make a case for rewriting in 7, but ultimately it would be more of a sales pitch than a technical recommendation (in many, but not all, cases). What makes more sense for the solutions I'm working with is to transition them to other technologies. I had hoped that FM7 would have provided a stronger case against this move.

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Mike Wedge

I am having the same problem with layout mode - it's so slow as to be virtually unusable. Tried upping the memory in prefs, to no avail.

 

Having just lashed out several hundred pounds on this I am mightily P*ssed off

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