5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 11, 2010 9:10 AM by philmodjunk

    FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database



      FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database


      Dear all,


      First of all, let me thank all of you for helping me in completing my database which is not at its final stage. As a first time user of Filemaker Pro, I must say that it is really a powerful software for data management. Also the forum has helped me a lot. Many times I have searched through the forum for answers.


      Now is the critical time. My database involves an invoice system together with some products and some worksheet with technical pictures, and of course clients' data. Before implementing this database system, I have been manually issuing invoices and noting down all relevant data. Because the nature of my needs require current invoive to refer to past invoice, I am therefore facing a problem. For example, after I have implemented the database system, I keyed in a new invoice but however I need to check back the past invoices which are in hard copies. I thought of therefore re-entering all major past invoices into my database system so that any new invoices and refer to the old ones easily. But by doing so means that my old invoices will have a new invoice number based on the database invoice_id and new invoice dates which are not desirable. I'm sure my case here isn't perculiar and some of you may face the same problems. How do you solve it? Do you create a new invoice number for the old invoices? Can I do something like all old invoices number will be prefix with letter "O" and all new invoices will be prefix with letter "N"?


      Also my invoice_id is set to be running number beginning from 1. How can I make it such that the invoice number takes the following format:

      AXXXXX for this year 

      BXXXXX for next year

      CXXXXX for the next next year


      where XXXXX are running numbers and will be reset back to "1" at every beginning of the year?


      Also previously I was using the FM Pro Trial version and it has since expired. So now I am deciding to purchase either the FM Pro or FM Pro Advanced. I looked through the website but the information is a bit unclear.


      1. FM Pro Advanced allows me to create runtime application without the users having FM Pro or FM Pro Advanced installed.

      Am I right to say that if I buy the Advanced version, then I can compile my database program into an application? I then can install the application into any number of computers without the users having the need to buy FM Pro or FM Advanced? If yes, will the compiled application work exactly how it performs with FM Pro Trial Version? Are there any considerations that I need to take note of when purchasing Advanced against Pro?


      2. Is there any limit of applications / databases I compile using Advanced? For instance, can I create a database application for A and another for B and so on?


      Thank you and I hope to hear from your advice / opinions soon.



        • 1. Re: FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database

          You should consider two fields for your invoice identification: make one your auto-entered serial number which you use as a primary key in your relationships. Make the other your Invoice number that you want to make visible on your printed invoices and which you can make editable so that you can enter your old invoices and then can simply type in the numbers from your handwritten copies. You may still want this editable field to be an auto-entered serial number for ease of data entry. After entering all your old invoices and changing the invoice numbers, you can open up manage | database and re-set the next serial value to keep your invoices in sequence.


          You can also set a next serial value like A20000 and simply reset this definition each year. A script can be used to reset the serial value at the start of each new year by comparing the year returned by get ( currentdate ) with the year of a date recorded on the last invoice. If the years don't match, the script resets the next serial value setting on the visible invoice number.


          While you can compile your solution and install it on multiple computers, there are limitations built in that may make this impractical. Run Time databases cannot network nor can they publish the database to the web. Thus, if you want to set up several POS stations in one store all linking to a single set of shared files, run time files won't work and you'll have to install separately licensed copies of filelmaker on every machine.


          There are no limits on the number of different files you can convert to run-time as far as I know.


          • 2. Re: FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database

            Dear Phil,


            Thank you for your comment and advice.


            Regarding the invoice number. Your idea is brilliant - having a separate primary key and a invoice number. I think I am able to implement this. But it creates another problem. If I see this correctly, this is only possible if I first complete entering all previous invoices and only then I make use of the system to generate new invoices. Am I right? Can I use the system to generate new invoices while concurrently when I have the time enter the old invoices?


            Can I have it such in this way? Two invoice layouts (both from the same table of course) --- one for the new invoice which will keep the invoice number number running in sequence by auto-serial, say, A2000, A2001, A2003 and so on. And another layout for the old invoice which I am going to key in when I am free. These set of old invoices number are editable and should begin from say, B0001, B0002, B0003 and so on. It seems to me fine at first thought. But after some in-depth thought, I realise that if now at this moment I create a new invoice, the invoice number will be A2000. Then I key in my old invoice which allows me to edit the date of the invoice and the invoice number. So say I key in B0001. But at this point of time, the auto-serial entry has updated my serial number to A2001. So if I then create a new invoice, the invoice number will become A2002 instead of A2001. How can I make it such that the new invoice number will always be in running sequence? And when I am entering the old invoice information, how do I temporarily "freeze" the new invoice auto-serial number from updating?


            With regards to FM Advanced, I think I am okay with it because I do not intend to use it on a network. What I am thinking is that if I am running a software development firm with me only the programmer, then I can purchase the Advanced version and start developing and compiling database applications for clients, who doesn't need network ability. If the client requires network ability, then I can request the client to buy FM Pro license for each POS instead. Am I right?


            Assuming that I have bought the Advanced version and compiled a database application for my client. And after a few years, he needs me to improve and add some functions to the database. After improving the database, can the client export (I know this function exists in FM Pro's menu bar) the data out so that it can be imported into the new database application? Or do I need to specifically program this "Export" and "Import" function in the database application? 

            • 3. Re: FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database

              Intersting Point. The simplest solution might be to save a copy of your file, enter all your old invoices into it and then use import records to import the records into your working file after you've got them all entered.


              With updating a client's solution, there are two options to consider:


              You can use import records to copy records from a table in one file into a table in another. You can script this. Your script can also update serial number settings. Thus, you can include an update script in your updated file that imports all records from the original file into the updated file.


              You can split your file into data and interface parts. Then updates that do not change actual field or table definitions can be deployed simply by replacing the interface file.

              • 4. Re: FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database
                   Thanks. One more question on FM Advanced. If I am going to purchase the FM Advanced for Mac, am I able to compile runtime applications for Windows, in additional to Mac OS platform?
                • 5. Re: FM Pro vs FM Pro Advanced and some issues with combining old data into new database

                  When you purchase FMP Advanced you get installers for both platforms so that you can install fmp advanced on both systems. In order to create a Mac runtime, you have to 'bind' the files on a mac computer. In order to create a Windows runtime, you have to 'bind' the files on a windows computer. During the 'binding' filemaker makes a copy of the executable as part of your runtime system which is why you need both systems if you want to distribute runtimes for both machines.


                  It is possible to set things up so that the same set of database files will work with either runtime version.