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FM 3 to FM ???


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Okay, finally they are getting to understand that we need to upgrade to a newer version of FM. 3 is just toooooo old. smile.gif

My question is, how hard of a conversion is this going to be? I have FM3 Server running right now. I want to go to the newest version (5.5?) of the server. I have HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of repeating fields.

Now I want to hear this from people who have done it and I want the hard cold truth. Not a sales pitch of "piece of cake". We all know it is NEVER a piece of cake. I will talk to the sales people later after I get some idea of how hard this will be.

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The basic process of splitting up repeating fields IS a piece of cake, it can be done automatically during the import process. And you don't HAVE to, repeats still work in FM7. But that's not the issue. The issue is that since your system is built on repeats, it would appear that nobody really understands some important basic database concepts and you have to build an appropriate system from scratch. If you have HUNDREDS of repeating fields then it sounds like - uh - quite a mess - and you have serious need for a qualified developer to help you. Also, you haven't described anything at all about what this system is supposed to do, what sort of business this is, what sort of processes, etc.

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The process of converting from FP3 files to FP5 files is nowhere complex as it is from fp5 to fp7. I have converted many from Server 3 to 5.5 and have not had any issue with the conversion. Just remember to make backups of your old fp3 files prior to the conversion because you cannot go backwards.

If you plan to go to version 7 there is a legitimate cause for pause and take stock of your solution there are many articles on FileMakers site regarding the migration of solutions. And in some cases redevelopment from scratch is the best solution.

If you find yourself in over your head or have a deadline that you need to meet you may consider posting in inquiry in the classified forums or review the list of consultants on Filemakers site.

Or feel free to post your questions.

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BruceR, I already know it is a mess. I inherited it from a person who was clueless as to the 3 Ds. I have cleaned up a lot of it and would love to redo from scratch, but that is not an option.

This is a huge application for the largest hospital in the Pacific Rim. It is used to track pregnancies from beginning to end. It contains all the notes, labs, etc etc etc that go into this.

The biggest reason for upgrading is that we have hit the wall on size of data in fields. Some of the notes are HUGE for complicated OB. FM 7 looks like that will not be a problem.

Of course if I was going to redo from scratch it would definitly NOT be in FM. But that isn't up to me either. smile.gif

Calling in outside experts is not an option either. I've got the mandate to do it all by myself. frown.gif

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You've got your work cut out for you. I hope the fact that you would personally NOT choose FileMaker stems from unfamiliarity rather than dislike, because you're going to be spending a lot of time together.

As you've been advised, it is quite possible to have FileMaker split out those repeating fields for you, in another file during the import process. But, what are the repeats and where do they belong? That is the big question. You can clone your current file, delete fields you don't need, turn repeats off, then import, splitting the repeats.

When you move to version 7 (which you should), some of these line items will go into separate tables in the "original" file (multiple tables). Some may go into tables in other files (you can do it either way, one file, multiple files).

You could do the splitting after conversion, from the original big file. The Import dialog, for one thing, is better designed.

It's not so much a question of whether it can be done, it's a question of what the design will be. If you are familiar with other database apps, you'll find FileMaker 7 is more like them than version 3 is. You will certainly need to map out where things go. Post the map here and people can comment.

You should definitely look at the migration documents at FileMaker's site, in the Support section. It will point out where things may go wrong, what FileMaker does during the conversion (a lot). Also some real changes to the basic engine, to do with record-locking. It will also give you some real reasons why this is all going to be worth it. FileMaker 7 is just much better than any earlier version. I already get annoyed at 6 when I use it (well, I sometimes get annoyed at 7 also :-)

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We FileMaker developers are probably a little biased, if you call wanting something to be designed properly biased. The repeating fields will not cause an error if you convert to 7 however. In fact the whole solution may have few problems. Simple database files often convert perfectly.

One of the problems though is that some of the things which will not work exactly the same are subtle. Every solution I've converted has had a few little places where I had to tweak. Many of these had to do with the slight differences in commiting related records.

In your situation it sounds like it would be dangerous to be begin using the database for real until it was thoroughly debugged; which means testing every single operation. It really helps to know what to look for, and how to fix it.

If they're willing to spend a little money, you should check out the tools at the this site.


It looks like you might need to convert your files to 5 first to use MetaData Magic, but that's easy enough.

I imagine you will have superfluous File References that need fixing; not critical perhaps, but these can slow a database down. They have a tool to fix those BEFORE converting to 7. Believe me, it's no fun chasing them down afterwards.

You must understand the new security structure, if you have any in your files (like the trick of opening with a blank account name immediately after conversion). On the up side, 7's security is much better and easier to use.

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