7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 14, 2010 11:00 AM by TSGal

    Imports are worthless and dangerous

    LaRetta_1

      Summary

      Imports are worthless and dangerous

      Description of the issue

      The spontaneous field mapping in imports still exists.  It has been reported several times in several forums. FMI acknowledges it, refuses to say when or if it will be fixed ... simply turns a blind eye.  Here is an example: http://fmforums.com/forum/showtopic.php?tid/209592/fromsearch/1/hl/import/tp/1/ So maybe another simple example of the extreme danger is required to get the attention of FMI: Example:  You have a Customers table with pk_customer_ID and an Actions table with fk_customer_ID.  As a developer, you want to import a found set of customer IDs into your actions table to create a specific action (such as sending a mailing).  Sounds perfect for an Import script step ... after all, how dangerous could it be when you are simply importing ONE FIELD? The answer is VERY dangerous ... Because the field names don't match (pk_customer_ID and fk_customer_ID), the process will break and data will be overwritten.  All that needs to happen to cause disaster is to add a new field in your target (Actions) table.  Here is another example (I have a test file attached to the link above as well): Customers table has 6 fields:pk_customer_IDnameaddresscitystatezip Actions table has 4 fields:pk_notes_IDfk_customer_IDActionDateDescription Your import only maps the two keys together; how simple, huh?  Now 6 months down the road you decide to add a field in Actions called ActionType.  It doesn't matter if it is a global field (to be used for an important script process) or a data field for users to type information ... the data in that new field is important that it remain for the use you specify, right?  But it won't. What happens next time you import?  Two fields from customer will suddenly import into Actions... your pk_customer_ID to fk_customer_ID AND the 5th field in customers (state) will map spontaneously to your new Type field.  You won't be warned nor asked.  FMI admits it breaks - it has since vs. 7.  But they will NOT even warn people by putting a note of caution in their FM Help and there isn't ONE WORD about it in Knowledge Base!!!  And when you run an import only once a year, and Users have entered Important information in a new field for that year, and you then run your yearly import which UPDATES fields, you now have lost a lot of critical data.  And you may not notice it for quite some time.  How many years will it take for FMI to provide an alternative, a warning, a way to identify spontaneous imports when they occur, or at least post its dangers?  We are now going on 6 years and 5 versions!! It will always break if you are not importing on matching names (most imports are NOT matching on names) and if the source table has more fields than the target and you add a field to the target table.  This happens with all source data, regardless of whether excel, tab, fp7 etc. Simply ... don't use imports.  They are not safe.  FMI, are you reading this?  Do you care at all?  It seems you don't.  There are things you can do to protect us and instead you stick your heads in the sand and ignore the issue.  You should be ashamed and all you customers and developers should be furious about it.

        • 1. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
          5104919325FTN

          Let's be a little bit provocative.

           

          1) The runtimes are a big problem for developers, who want to distribute a lot of them on Windows user ... You certainly know ;-)

           

          2) Every one, who want to integrate the charts on runtimes will be very disapointed ... You remember the problem with PDF and runtimes? It's the same. What a pity, running the marketing machinery for this glorious point and it's not in a runtime.

          -> Appendix A, page 39 of the fmpa11_development.pdf / Annexe A, page 41 de la fmpa11_développement.pdf / Anhang A, Seite 41 in der fmpa11_entwicklung.pdf

           

          3) About PDF: Runtimes don't do PDF. No problem, until now, you could use the print option with some open-source pdf-maker. But now that FileMaker has decided not to use the "vertical spacing"/"leading" at the end of a page, again only one half of a line prints, like with FileMaker 6, if your layout is not *exactly* done thy way it goes (in a few days, I will put a tutorial for this). Too bad for runtimes ...

           

          4) A lot of solutions (for salesman f.e.) use import/export for runtimes. In case the internet is too slow, or not available, in cases you can not really access the company server, it's a simple solution.

           

           

          Runtimes? Maybe FileMaker want to sell licences, not that the developers buy one (1) license and sell runtimes ...

           

           

          I think, that runtimes are a good entry ticket in the world of FileMaker, and that it is stupid to underestimate them.

           

          The choice of working with FileMaker is a double one: The possibilities (you have them in a runtime) and the convenience (would comfort be a better word?), you get it with a server.

           

          If doing runtimes for an operative dynamic system gets more and more uncomfortable, a lot of people won't even get the possibility to taste blood.

          Because we won't use tiny starter runtimes no more.

           

          And before companies will invest on a complete solution (VLA, SLA etc) , maybe some cool php and sql geek will convince them to try something else than FileMaker.

           

          And then?

          • 2. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
            TSGal

            LaRetta:

             

            > FMI, are you reading this?

            Yes.  Along with your previous posts:

             

            http://forum-en.filemaker.com/t5/Report-a-bug/Spontaneous-import-bug-still-there/td-p/56379

             

            http://forum-en.filemaker.com/t5/Report-a-bug/Import-mapping-bug/td-p/22114

            (even though your original post was captured and sent to Development and Testing, you manually removed these posts)

             

            http://forum-en.filemaker.com/t5/Report-a-bug/Data-loss-bug-Spontaneous-and-erroneous-import-matching-of-new/td-p/31169

            (again, even though your original post was captured and sent on to the appropriate departments, you manually removed these posts)

             

            Thank you for the link to FMForums.com.  I have attached that link to the original case.

             

            TSGal

            FileMaker, Inc.

            • 3. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
              TSGal

              fabricker:

               

              Thank you for your post.

               

              1) Yes, we are aware of the Visual C++ 2008 SP1 requirement.

               

              2) At this time, charting is not available in Runtimes.  I would encourage you to enter this into the Feature Requests web form at:

              http://www.filemaker.com/company/contact/feature_request.html

               

              3) Many of the half-line printing problems in FileMaker Pro 10 were fixed in FileMaker Pro 11.  However, it appears some layouts printing correctly in FileMaker Pro 10 are now printing incorrectly with half-lines in FileMaker Pro 11.  I have added your post to this new issue that is hosted and read by Development and Testing.

               

              4) I don't have a complete understanding.  Is this data imported over the network?

               

              > "Runtimes? Maybe FileMaker want to sell licenses, not that the developers buy one (1) license and sell runtimes..."

              False.  Our developers have always been important for our business.  We invite developers to our company headquarters to get their feedback and a first look at where our products are heading.

               

              TSGal

              FileMaker, Inc.

              • 4. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
                LaRetta_1

                I am not alone in mentioning it .  I linked to other's who have posted about it as well.  All you ever say (if you respond at all) is that you are 'attaching it to the original issue.'  I do not believe that expecting it to be fixed within the several years you've known about it is unreasonable.  Neither do I think it is unreasonable to publish it in FM Help - we have watched versions and updaters come and go and still nothing is published.  And it certainly isn't unreasonable to post it in Knowledge Base (it would take 5 minutes).

                 

                I will continue to mention it on every forum here and elsewhere, using different subjects, hoping your customers will spot it while searching for answers as to why they are spontaneously losing data for unexplained reasons.  Many think their files are corrupt and rebuild them (or go back to older versions) and it costs them hours or days of work and many of your customers lose large amounts of critical data when it overwrites.

                 

                And still, you remain silent, so I won't.   Your silence about the specific issue speaks volumes. 

                • 5. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
                  LaRetta_1

                  As posted here by Contour on another of your forums ...

                   

                  "This is not an instance where "no news is good news".   The absence of direct answers to these critical problems is ominous.  By looking at the FM11 bugs being posted on the other section of this forum, one can easily draw the conclusion that there was a real lapse of quality assurance testing on FM 11.  They may be up against more that we even suspect.

                   

                  In the mean time, the best we can due is make others aware so that they are not unknowingly caught in the FM 11 fiasco."

                   

                   

                  FM 11 fiasco ... heck, silence is FMI's pattern even if it hurts their customers.

                  • 6. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
                    5104919325FTN

                    TSGal wrote:

                     

                    1) Yes, we are aware of the Visual C++ 2008 SP1 requirement.


                    I know :-)

                     

                    It was sort of a "summary".

                     


                    2) At this time, charting is not available in Runtimes.  I would encourage you to enter this into the Feature Requests web form at:

                    http://www.filemaker.com/company/contact/feature_request.html


                     

                    Yes, I will do it, but if it's a licencing problem like with Adobe and PDF, it won't be easy ...

                     


                    3) Many of the half-line printing problems in FileMaker Pro 10 were fixed in FileMaker Pro 11.  However, it appears some layouts printing correctly in FileMaker Pro 10 are now printing incorrectly with half-lines in FileMaker Pro 11.  I have added your post to this new issue that is hosted and read by Development and Testing.


                    Well, I will post my contribution with smarter screenshots again ;-)

                    I know, FileMaker done an extremly good work on it, it is more stable than ever, but ... Why did you forget this "end of page vertical spacing white stripe"?

                    This was somehow the "last brick" of the wall, it's a pity, it didn't work. I have a file testing and explaining this, where can I send it?

                     


                     

                    4) I don't have a complete understanding.  Is this data imported over the network?

                     


                    Well, It's my fault :-( My sentence is a little bit unclear!

                    What I wanted to say: About Import/Export and how important it is.

                    A lot of people can not use a client and a server, because they will not have a good internet connection.

                    So, if they want or not, they will have to work with import/export.

                    And runtimes.

                     

                    For those people (Some of my customers for example), this is catastrophic.

                    For me too.

                     

                    If I want to change something on the software, and I change or add a field, I have to tell them all, hello, you have to change your runtime, because the import/export is ruined.

                    The customers are a litlle bit ... Ennoyed.

                    This is a real case, it's not a story coming out of my imagination ...

                     

                    And those customers can not have a client/server solutions with rdp or vpn, it doesn't work because of the bad connection.

                     

                    So I have to work with runtime (why a client in this case?) and import/export.

                     

                    Do you see my point? -> in other words, am I more understandable? ;-)

                     


                    > "Runtimes? Maybe FileMaker want to sell licenses, not that the developers buy one (1) license and sell runtimes..."

                    False.  Our developers have always been important for our business.  We invite developers to our company headquarters to get their feedback and a first look at where our products are heading.


                    Well, I'm glad to read this, I'm very very glad :-D

                     

                    (Okay, I admit, yes, I was a little bit provocative ... But admit you, that looked from this edge/ from where we developers stay ... )

                    • 7. Re: Imports are worthless and dangerous
                      TSGal

                      fabricker:

                       

                      Thank you for the clarification.

                       

                      For point #3, I did receive your sample file.  Thank you.

                       

                      For point #4, I assumed correctly that your post was related to LaRetta's original post, but just wanted to be 100% certain.  Thank you.

                       

                      In a first for this forum, we have received information from Development and Product Management to post publicly that a solution is in progress for the Visual C++ 2008 SP1 requirement, and I see you replied there, too:

                       

                      http://forum-en.filemaker.com/t5/Report-a-bug/FileMaker-11-Runtime-Error/td-p/56644/page/6

                       

                      TSGal

                      FileMaker, Inc.