This is an idea I suggested at DevCon 2016 but forgot to also post it here, where people can discuss it and vote for it.
For a long time, developers of larger solutions wanted to have one or more of the following features in the FileMaker platform:
- Version control
- Documenting changes
- Incremental updates of structure changes - like what vince.menanno suggested in Update Deployed Solutions
- Replication of data updates in another copy of the same solution
- Building solution structure programmatically
The issue with all these requests was that it would be hard to implement for FileMaker.
So I thought of a feature that would be based on something we already have, and still allow us to do all the above.
Since progressive backups are actually implemented as journals of change commits, how about building these features on top of them?
I suggest we have a way (perhaps via a command-line tool) to:
- Keep progressive backup journals even after they are applied to the latest progressive backup
- Separate data changes from structure changes
- Translate these journals into a readable form
- Translate the readable form back to the journal
- Manually apply a given journal to a given copy of the solution
Based on my discussion with FileMaker engineers, the most difficult part of this would be separating data changes from structure changes, but I believe building on top of an already existing feature is still a good chance to have such a powerful tool built with relatively little effort in comparison to other approaches.