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The Digital Man

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

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The Digital Man

Basically I have a fairly structured well running system in place and it works and does what I programmed it to do just fine. It is written in 6.0 v4. As a side note I did use QTK (Quick Tool Kit) and while I liked it to a large degree there were some things I didn't like about it. At the time it really helped me understand FileMaker Pro though. The system currently works but of course it does not do everything we want it to yet.

 

Now we have had some management restructuring and a computer savvy senior management person has joined me in my department and we are together going to finish all the things our system needs to do. He has a good handle on "what" the system needs to accomplish, probably better than I had. I can tell the two of us are going to work well together and I am looking forward to it. Initially he had a burden to address the quoting issue and I was busy with other tasks and so he has created a whole "quoting" database on his own and it works great! My system handles job tracking and tickets etc. Now that I have more time to spend with him I want us to get together on the same page and start working as a team to ensure that all of our modules will tie together properly. I believe the quoting module should tie in with the jobs so that when a quote becomes a job all that info is tied into the job record.

 

Because I want us to be highly successful I wanted to look at all of our options and to choose the best one for us. I mentioned to him that we may want to consider upgrading before we got too deep into development and at this point I am willing to set aside any work that has currently been done in the best interest of the overall project. So the way I see it we have the following options and I am wondering if any of you FileMaker Pro gurus out there could advise me as to what you think the best option would be. How much better is 7.0? I know its supposed to be better and I do like everything I've read about it. Is QTK available in 7.0? And even if it is do I really want to use it? Or would I be better off developing my own system from scratch?

 

Option #1: Continue developing the existing system in 6.0 adding on the additional features.

 

Option #2: Upgrade to 7.0 and then run the existing system in 6.0 to handle existing functions while creating a brand new system from scratch in 7.0 - one designed to handle the additional functions as well. Then switch over to it when ready.

 

Option #3: Same as #2 except develop the new system in 6.0 rather than upgrading.

 

I downloaded a demo of 7.0 and asked him to do the same so we could evaluate it. He told me later it wouldn't run for him because he was running windows 98 and it won't run on windows 98. He doesn't want to upgrade his operating system on his computer. Is he nuts? We can provide him with a 2nd computer specifically for running the FileMaker Pro program on if necessary. Is this necessary? Or will 6.0 do just fine. When all is said and done on the development end I intend to purchase the FileMaker Server and put the whole system on it. We'll probably have 6-8 terminals running off of it. I heard the 7.0 server was much improved over 6.0. Is this true. And if so is it true to the point that I need to seriously consider pushing the issue of developing in 7.0? We will probably never go over 10-12 terminals so is the serving capabilities really an issue? Also, I am currently programming my system to store the filename of graphic files and then I have my container fields pointing to the files sitting out on the hard drive rather than storing the graphics inside the container fields. To keep file size down. Is this still an issue in 7.0? I understand their files can be however big you want them to be. If I switched to 7.0 could I just start dumping graphics into the container fields with wild abandon and no worries?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm just at a crossroads and my gut tells me to move forward into 7.0 and the other guy I don't think realizes how important it is to do so. What can I tell him to convince him otherwise? Or am I the one that is wrong?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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harryglos

Greetings Digital Man,

 

I would go with Option 4: Convert your 6.0 solution into 7.0 using “Convert” by John Mark Osborne www.databasepros.com/... There are other converter programs out there but I’ve personally used John’s and its excellent. John is also well known in the FileMaker community and his reputation speaks for itself.

The bottom line is this. Some may argue with what I’m about to say and that’s why we have Fords and Chevrolets. But I will say this. If you are going to stay with FileMaker you need to do what your doing in 7.0... They made it different because they recognized change was needed to fulfill future needs and requirements. To not make the change now is to “bury your head in the sand” and say “well, I’ll deal with it later”! The problem is the learning curve will become more difficult with each future advancement of the system.

Look, anyone can take a file that ships with the program, make modifications to it and go on with life. But what if you need a serious order entry system with 6 different price breaks for 6 different volume amounts and some products are on promotion for 15 days and some products are catch weight and some customers receive a volume discount and some a number of products purchased discount and some prices are based on full order and and and and.

My point is this; If you’re doing a little something for yourself or Aunt Mary go with what you have. But Do Not develop a sophisticated solution or fail to convert an exhausting solution with outdated technology! It is almost never a good idea and we’ve not even touched on the networking aspect and FileMaker Server! If you are going to stay in FileMaker you must and I apologize for myself in advance for being too strong, but you must convert to 7.0... It has unparalleled advantages now and it will be even more important in future enhancements... You will be very happy you did. Plus, why would you want to continue to learn in 6.0 what no longer pertains in 7.0. There is just no logic to it!

One last thing since I’ve already board the life right out of you! I’ve not taken a survey, but i would bet that better than 80% of FileMaker Developers and the folks here on the forum with 5 stars by there name have been or still are proficient in other databases. I apologize for using the following names because profanity is not allowed on the Forum! But Access, Fox Pro, Omnis, Helix, 4D and so many others, just do not measure up to FileMaker. Maybe that’s why it’s the number one selling database in the world. Hummmmm! And I know we can get real temperamental about our databases, just like we can about our cars (I still see people driving Ford’s in broad daylight) but there is simply not a better database for any workgroup under 250 and there are even work around's to that limitation... The combination of Elegance, Ease of Use, Structure and Data Integrity although individually are not mutually exclusive to FileMaker. They are in TOTAL Mutually Exclusive to FileMaker!

I know what you’re thinking, “I’m never going to post to this Forum again”! Well I understand that, because I know you were clamoring for more... Your lucky I didn’t really get into the subject.

 

Enjoy your FileMakeing and enjoy the conversion. The gratification of accomplishment alone is worth it!

 

Harry

 

BTW... Once you have fully converted to 7.0 make a clone of the new file and import all of your records from your 6.0 file. File management is different in 7.0 and you will save space and speed by doing it that way!

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Ender

Randy,

 

There's a lot to chew on in there. Certainly these are issues we are all dealing with as we try to figure out how and when we will need to upgrade to FM7.

 

System compatability and costs of system upgrades is one issue, along with costs of FM Server and Client. Plus costs of development time and training. Weighing these against the advantages that FM7 provides is the hard part.

 

I manage a large solution for a single organization and what I have done is set a development and upgrade schedule that will give me time to iron out the bugs in a converted solution and give me time to get our systems ready for FM7's heavy requirements.

 

For my organization, WAN speed improvements and encrypted communications are the features that make this upgrade worth the costs.

 

As you fish for information about this migration, be sure to read the white papers on FMI's website, especially FM7 Migration Foundation and Methodologies.

 

I would also recommend that you purchase at least one copy of FM7 so you can get familiar with it and test it for yourself with real data, like your graphics files.

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frigante

Do it, DO IT!!!

 

In all seriousness, it might take some work migrating, but it really is worth it.

 

FM7 is a gigantic step for Filemaker-kind. When I go back to FM6 to look at what I did in the old version of a migration I literally feel like I'm in the stone age of Filemaker (and I couldn't imagine what it was like before it became relational vs. flat) and that was only one version ago!

 

Again, it might take some time to migrate but it's well worth the effort.

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LaRetta

Hi Randy,

 

If you get the chance to compare *how* things are accomplished in 7 vs. pre-7, I believe you will find development time is cut almost a third in 7. You will have to re-learn FileMaker in many respects, as FM7 is a different breed entirely. Ideally, one would have several hundred :eek: hours in which to devote to understanding the differences in 7 before ever starting an end-user solution but not everyone has that luxury.

 

I originally converted our 6 solution to 7 and then regretted it. Why? Not because the conversion was a problem but because 7 allows major differences that, using our existing 6 structure in 7, we could not benefit from. I found myself attempting to modify the structure; eliminating the hundreds of calculations 6 required that 7 doesn't; modifying my scripts to take advantage of script parameters, and it finally dawned on me that I could have re-written the darned thing in 7 for the amount of modificaton time required (to utilize 7's power). And, believe me, the changes are worth taking advantage of.

 

If you can put off further development, I would suggest starting from scratch in 7. Design a lean, mean 7 machine and you will never be sorry. Already in 6, your data is normalized and will be easy to handle. The two of you can learn it together and re-think your existing solution because you should - from ground up. In 7, probably a quarter of your 6 requirements won't even be necessary.

 

If someone has a problem to solve in FileMaker and I find out they are pre-7 I cringe - knowing the additional work required just to solve it. 7 is a breath of fresh air.

 

The benefits of 7 are much too long to list but if you start checking posts you will see a pattern: To accomplish something in 6 requires a lot of work whereas in 7, things are much simpler. Our business is very glad we decided to start fresh in 7 and our only regret was our attempt to modify things after we converted. It was a waste of time because FM7 is not entity-based. I might get blasted here, but it just isn't the same relationship-thinking at all. So, to take full advantage of the power of 7, you will want to restructure it again anyway. smile.gif

 

Have I learned 7 yet? Nope. I'm learning as I go and I regret it. Because I find myself 'pulling out the knitting' much too often as I learn additional ways to grok it. :rolleyes:

 

LaRetta

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Maarten Witberg

It sounds as though I've dropped back into the stone age, me with 5.5 on my laptop and 6 on my desk machine... and i kept thinking 6 still has a lot to offer, and lots of unexplored space....

 

now everybody's got me drooling. wanna! wanna!

 

well, upgrades tend to be a law of nature, so i'll just sit tight, enjoy 6 for as long as it lasts and dive into 7 when the time comes.

 

kjoe

laugh.gif

 

 

ps

Because I find myself 'pulling out the knitting' much too often as I learn additional ways to grok it.
LaRetta: 's called learning by doing. The only way I know how......

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frigante

You said it, kjoe! I can only do so much reading/preparing before I inevitably dive right in. It's the only way to learn the quirks!

 

I would highly suggest fooling around with the trial version - if you have an idea for a small solution or just something you'd like to try out, try it with FM7 just to cut your teeth and I guarantee you'll be hooked.

 

Then again, that may pose a problem since you'll want to go back to your 5.5 and 6 solutions and convert them all!!!

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harryglos

Allow me to preface my remarks by saying one thing you already know! “There are many ways of accomplishing the same things in FileMaker Pro. That has not changed with the introduction of 7.0... Even though 7.0 is a vast departure from previous versions, it still has one commonality. It is “Still FileMaker Pro”!

 

We get angry with FileMaker for one thing or another at times, but when the day is done and the dust clears, it is still the best development platform out there. Now to my point.

 

I have seen many posts recommending complete redoes of a solution when converting from earlier versions to 7.0. I for one have not seen the logic of it! If you follow the ‘White Paper” on conversion and the use of “Convert” as mentioned in my earlier post. You will have an excellent result and save an incredible amount of time in the process! You will also, in my opinion, have a better grasp of the differences between the two platforms. Because in all of their differences there are more where they’re alike!

 

I have read volumes of information published by FileMaker and do not remember a single one recommending redoing a solution over converting the solution! Filemaker has not led me wrong in almost 20 years with them and they have been right on regarding 7.0!

 

One recommendation I would make is subscribing to FileMaker Advisor Magazine at advisor.com. They have a lot of information on conversion and you can get back issues that have some excellent recommendations on conversion as well. It’s well worth the investment.

 

Remember to print out “field definitions” from your current solution before making a single change. Keep notes right on the printed pages with any changes you make and keep them in a safe place for a reasonable period of time. It will keep you from the terrible database word... oops!

 

How about others of the “Central Brain Trust” wading in on this subject so Randy and his partner are conformable with the direction they choose. Or just post a reply “Harry’s always right”... I love that!

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LaRetta

Hi Harry, yes conversion works very well. But it doesn't allow one to fully take advantage of 7's power without reworking. My suggestion was 'if one has the luxury' to do it right...

 

Having said that, yes, Harry's always right!! smile.gif

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frigante

Harry, I'm not exactly sure what your advice is here - are you saying that it's not necessary to completely redesign old solutions as part of a migration to FM7? If so, I totally agree.

 

I've read the white paper and the articles in FM Advisor and they all state that the migration process can be different for every solution. Some require nothing more than a convert and some file reference fixes while others might require an entire re-design.

 

It's all about stepping back and ascertaining the functionality of your solution. You have to ask this fundamental question: What does FM7 do differently than older versions that can and will make your solution more efficient or functional? Then you can decide what action to take from there.

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harryglos

Greetings Frigante,

 

Yes, I am saying "it's not necessary to completely redesign old solutions as part of a migration to FM7"! I've actually found the migration process easier than expected...

 

LaRetta, my wife saw the "Harry's always right" on your post! and said one word "Right"! Somehow it lost a little flavor how she said it. Surely you meant it in the most audacious terms...

 

Harry

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LaRetta

Yes, Harry, I meant it in only the friendliest of terms. I was just in a very agreeable mood, respect your FM skills and knowledge, and wanted to be the first to fulfill your wish. smile.gif

 

Harry said ... it's not necessary to completely redesign old solutions as part of a migration to FM7!
I am in total agreement. Our conversion worked very well except requiring some additional Commit Record/Requests. I'm not suggesting they shouldn't migrate; I'm suggesting that, to take full advantage of 7, changes will need to be made to their converted file(s).

 

And, since they are now reviewing their entire solution (and considering modification/extension of it), go ahead and migrate ... but don't put a lot of additional work into it without exploring the added benefits of a 7 structure. Heck, they may wish to explore the Separation Model.

 

7 takes us to Kansas in a more direct route now. The more time they invest in adding onto a converted solution (or modifying it), the longer it will be before they work in the full realm of 7's potential and power.

 

LaRetta

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Maarten Witberg

a practical question then about migrating. I built my current project administration solution in 5.5 way before I joined this list and learned the wonderful way of the filemaker generated ID field to base your relationships on....my system relies on user defined IDs. I built in some securities, it must be unique, it can never be modified outside the add new project script etc. And yet and yet my dear users somehow manage to add spaces, or use two completely different codes for the same project. Luckily, it's only incidentally so I haven't really felt the need to dive in and find the leak. Nevertheless it needs to be resolved sooner or later. It will require some work to redefine all those relationships and so on. There are probably a few other issues and upgrades I would consider, but this is something at the core of the system.

 

Having followed this thread, I wonder, would I follow LaRetta and wait until I can redo the whole thing in 7 (upgrade date not fixed yet) or fix first in 6 and then do the migration Harry style? I'm thinking Harry may be always right, but LaRetta is also always right...which in this case is incompatible......

 

thanks

 

kjoe

smile.gif

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frigante

My advice would be to get to know FM7 for yourself before you make a decision. Work with it for a bit to identify which methods you would perform differently than in the older version, then see if any of it applies to the solution you are thinking of updating.

 

Does that make sense? It's kind of difficult to express in words - what I'm getting at is that, like LaRetta mentioned, there are certain things you'll do in FM7 that get you to the proverbeal Kansas in a more direct route than in previous versions. If those things have a direct relationship to what you're migrating then you'll know which path to take.

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Maarten Witberg

thanks frigante, sounds like sound advice

 

kjoe

smile.gif

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The Digital Man

I want to jump in here and express my sincere thanks to all of you for your posts and various perspectives on the subject. It has helped me to clarify my thinking and I will keep you posted on our course of action as well as the results.

 

Thanks again and everyone have a great weekend!

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Ender

Lots of good stuff while I was away!

 

While "Harry is always right", he seems to have neglected to mention another migration option: Convert and then redo in phases.

 

For a large solution, you can convert the whole thing, then rebuild from scratch different modules within the solution to take advantage of the new features of FM7. This gives the developer time to rebuild everything, without having to wait until the whole thing was finished.

 

This is my plan anyway.

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Steveinvegas

Harry:

 

Were you talking about databasepros Conversion Log? I look at Osborne's site and that is the only thing I could find. It reads in FM 7 conversion log. Has anybody used New Millenium's FM Robot? What do you think of it?

 

Steve

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MoonShadow

Move forward ... however necessary ... and whatever it takes ... and as soon as possible. 7 is heaven ...

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harryglos

Sorry about that,

 

I should have been more specific regarding the location of the Convert (Conversion) file. Go to databasepros.com/ click on “Main Site”, Click on “Solutions” and then “Conversion Log”. The conversion log tells you what you need to know without a lot of fuss, it works flawlessly, it’s intuitive and it’s free! I know there are some (for fee) conversion/Migrators out there and I’m sure they are all good. John Mark Osborne’s works... Then it makes you get involved in the process and that’s huge.

 

I think it was Ender who said “Convert and then redo in phases” and that is such good advice! And LaRetta, Bravo... you are so right with “7 takes us to Kansas in a more direct route now. The more time they invest in adding onto a converted solution (or modifying it), the longer it will be before they work in the full realm of 7's potential and power”.

 

I’m just amazed at times, not only with the amount of knowledge there is on this forum. But the willingness of so many to share it! It’s humbling and every one of you make me proud to be a part of it!

 

Harry

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frigante

I'd like to add, though, Harry & Ender, that when you take a converted file and start working on it, it can be very easy to lose yourself in its framework, meaning you might be trapped into thinking in terms of that solution.

 

Make sure to approach the project as an entirely new solution with many possibilities - I'm doing this now with a very large solution made up of many smaller modules and I still get in a rut where I think I know what I ultimately want but then I realize that I haven't stepped back far enough to see that there is a solution that is just as good and maybe more efficient or that I no longer need to do something because of some improved functionality or something.

 

Anyway, it's all a long learning process - I think the important thing is to keep trying new things and keep it hands on - it will only make you more experienced and continue to fill your arsenal of tricks and methods..

 

pc

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harryglos

Hi Frigante,

 

How right you are! I glom onto as many sample files and reading materials as possible for that very reason. You will always learn something new and different. "Stepping back" helps in the perspective of things, especially as you change your brain from 6 to 7.

 

Harry

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Inky Phil

Glom ?

Groc ??

 

Phil

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Maarten Witberg

I understood grokking things is what you are able to do when under the influence of THC.

 

read Robert Anton Wilson, Schrödingers Cat Trilogy and/or The Illuminatus Trilogy (both probably out of print) about mind expanding experiences and their relationship to understanding things not with the brain but with the soul. Or something like that. Man.....!

 

kjoe

smile.gif

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harryglos

Inky Phil & Kjoe, your killin me man you’re just killin me!

 

Here is a complete explanation of “GLOM” for the unenlightened.

 

SYNONYM:

Glom: To Procure, Acquire, Get, Gain, Obtain, Secure, Extract, Accept, Receive, Clutch, Grab, Grasp, Take, Capture

 

MEANING:

To be Glomed, Glom-er, Glom-ee, Glom-et, and to those with a doctorate in Glomology a Glomoligist!

 

VERB: To come into possession of.

 

Glom from the Greek word Glomdung meaning “to not put your foot in it”

From the Latin Glomwhatsah meaning “what’s that about”

From the Italian “Glomdoin” meaning “how you doin”

From the FileMaker “Glomup” meaning “to upgrade to 7” and finely,

From the German “Glomquest” meaning “aren't you sorry you asked the question!

 

I know, I have far to much time on my hands!

 

Harry R.B.B

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Maarten Witberg

HarryGloms! meaning "get good laughs on the fmcafe"

 

kjoe

laugh.gif

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harryglos

Kjoe,

 

As Elvis would say, "Thank you, thank you very much"! Never could get the lip to curl though. But that's ok, Elvis couldn't get his portal to work either. Although Chopper swears he saw Elvis at the last FMP show in Phoenix. So maybe he got that protal working after all! Just in case let me say this "Elvis Rocks"! and I mean that...

 

Harry

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Maarten Witberg

And I suppose over the PA in Phoenix something like this was announced:

"Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the portal!"

 

Kjoe

laugh.gif

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harryglos

Seems as though KjoeGloms in fmcafe... That was a good one!

 

Harry

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Johnny Boy

You all have done a very good job of both confusing me and making me curious.

John

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