Import Records step text & dialog lacks table info - looks unchanged since fm6!

Idea created by mrwatson-gbs on May 3, 2017



    With FileMaker Version 7 the file structure changed to allow multiple tables per file. Most functionality was extended to reflect this new magnificent schema. Some functions, however did not make the grade. One of those functions is the Import Records script step.


    While the step was internally upgraded to be able to import any table into any table, the external surface of the step (i.e. what you see)remained unchanged.


    fm6 = 1 table per filefm7 = multiple tables per file


    * Sorry, the FM 6 version was in german, but you get the idea!


    Basically, visually nothing changed between fm6 and fm7 ... and still unchanged in fm15.


    (OK a little tweak here and there with info about character set and dialog, but nothing substantial)


    • Under FileMaker 6 the step text and the dialog gave you ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEEDED to see source and destination tables (because the  filename identified the table)
    • However, since FM7 we have not been able to SEE what the source and destination tables are.


    Add to this the fact that we have never been able to see the "matching names" option in the step text, and we have a prime candidate for FMI to Make coding errors visible (Make Wrong Code LOOK wrong)!




    Extend the step text and dialog with more information, something like …



         Import Records [ With Dialog: Off ; "Orders.fmp12" ; Source: "_Orders" ; Target: "_Invoices" ; Update ; Matching names ; Windows_ANSI]



    Import Records Step Text.png

    (I'll leave details open to discussion)





    • better developer experience
      • find bugs easier
      • code more understandable + self-documenting
      • greater productivity
      • less documentation to write
    • better user experience
      • end user more informed
    • better business
      • less maintenance



    Use Cases


    • writing import scripts
    • amending import scripts
    • copy and pasting import scripts
    • looking for errors in somebody else's code
    • watching imports and wondering what is happening
    • debugging imports
    • helping others who are failing to find the invisible errors
    • writing documentation to tell developers HOW to write and debug import scripts





    According to the FileMaker product roadmap importing is ... only UNDER CONSIDERATION ...


    New import user interface
 — Improved import dialog to more easily map imported source data to FileMaker data fields.

    Under consideration

    Improved import performance — 
More easily import large data sets to aid in the update process of deployed custom apps.Under consideration

    (quote from 2017-05-03)

    NOW is the time to let FMI know how important the Import Records step is to us!