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Opening .fp5 files with FileMaker Pro 7


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I have created a nifty solution for a company, using my Developer 5.5 (I haven't invested in Devloper 7 yet). The company is running FileMaker Pro 7, which they purchased before they ever contacted me. I was assuming that the files were downward compatible (without requiring conversion), but according to the company, the files had to be converted in order to be opened. So... a few questions:


1) Is there any way for the company to run my solution without converting it to 7?


2) What will this conversion to 7 do to all my 5.5 scripting? I'm a little worried about whether it will remain fully functional.


3) Confirming: I will not be able to work on any files they send me in the future, so if I update the solution or add to it, the company will have to convert what I send them and then import data... because I will not be able to work on their converted files without investing in FileMaker 7 - right? (Or is FMP magically upward compatible, meaning my 5.5 will still read the converted files, if the company sends them back to me?)

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Question 1: They can only run it using FMServer 5.0 or 5.5 so you have to convert them.


Question 2: You'll have to test it, but for the most part it should convert quite well.


Question 3: Bottom Line.. you should convert your files to FM7. You can do this by opening FMPro 7 then drag all of your files to the FMPro 7 program that is open on your desktop and drop them on the program. Follow the propmts. It's not that bad, however you may have to change somethings on your layouts like fonts. The graphics are different. Also check your file references. That menu is located in the File > Define... menu.


Make sure they have the latest update for server and Pro. 7.0v3.

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You have reason to be more than a little concerned. Version 7 is radically different from earlier versions. Since you have not even seen v7 before I would highly recommend that you convert in the privacy of your own home. I'm not trying to sound overly dramatic but you could find yourself completely lost in v7. Some things that can go wrong:


1. If you don't convert all of the related files in one-swell-foop, they will lose ALL of their relationships. You would have to recreate all of them manually.


2. Version 7 has little tolerance for obsolete file references. You probably don't know what I'm talking about since the file relationships were hidden in earlier versions. Your database will be very sluggish if you don't cleanup the relationships.


3. The new version has the capability of much greater window control. The conversion process assumes some things and inserts extra script steps where it thinks it should. It is usually right, but not always.


4. In v7 there is a "commit" script step. This ensures that changes are saved. You MAY need to add some of these to your existing solution.


5. Security is much different, and better, in 7. You will likely have to redo any security that you have in your system.


The potential exists for lots of gotchas. Check out the FileMaker web site for White Papers on the conversion process. I think you will be stunned by how lengthy they are.


I would ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY not do a blind conversion. Your customer could end up with a completely disabled system.


If I were you and I wanted to be developing with v7 in Q4 of this year I would go out and purchase v7 today. Then start working with it and learning it. The 3 to 4, 4 to 5, and 5 to 6 upgrades were evolutionary. The 6 to 7 upgrade is revolutionary.


Lawyers have a saying; never ask a question in a courtroom that you don't already know the answer to. This precaution will serve you well too. Don't convert anything to v7 unless you have done it before.

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Thanks, Ted. I guess I'd better go buy 7. I was hoping to put it off for a little longer. Perhaps for now, for this solution, I'd best put a runtime engine on it and have them not use the FMP 7 that they purchased. Thanks, again!!

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You're welcome!


The downside to getting rolling on v7 is it's so much better in most areas that it's tough to get fired-up about working on v6 anymore.

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