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Slow Performance, Classic Theme - FMP and FMS 15 - Advice Requested

Question asked by rickenbacker360 on Jul 15, 2016
Latest reply on Jul 26, 2016 by codecruncher

I have a 25-year old solution with 350+ layouts—most of which are quite complex. My solution will never win a FileMaker Design Award but my vertical industry has come to rely on it—even love it—for ease of use and feature set. My clients are not enamored of a tabbed interface (I've asked). The files were converted to fmp12 format using FMPA 13. All my layouts have the Classic Theme, which FM Tech support says is no longer supported.


I just upgraded a client with 12 LAN network connections. There are no WAN connections, save something like remote desktop to an in-house (on site) machine. I do not support Web Publishing, WebDirect, ODBC/JDBC or SQL—strictly a FileMaker desktop solution. I've been getting "painfully slow" comments. One main layout takes 4–5 second to enter find mode when a user clicks a button with a single "Enter Find Mode" script step. That big kahuna Form View layout is around 2,000 px wide by 2,500 tall. Users tell me some finds on a 45,000 record data set take 40+ seconds to complete. 98% of my fields are stored; most are indexed. The layout does have a handful of unstored calcs. It also has a 27-row portal which never appears unless user scrolls to bottom of layout.


Tech Support has advised me to downgrade to FMS 14 and FMP 14. This has not been tried yet, awaiting the weekend downtime.


Tech Support thinks FMP 15's discontinued support for the Classic Theme is a significant issue. Of course, I have no real way of testing this premise. What they tell me is that I should employ the Minimalist Theme on my layouts. As you might guess, doing so by simply changing themes would be catastrophic. I figure it would take me several years to get the layouts working to the highest order possible. I'm willing to do less. (As one famous meme states: "Ain't no one got time for dat!") We've discussed and Tech Support affirms that—all things being equal—even with no changes to my local styles, I will see a performance increase.


This is the method proposed by Tech Support and run by their Senior advisors. Unlock all layout objects; cut to clipboard, change empty layout to Minimalist Theme; enter browse mode to save layout changes; enter layout mode; paste clipboard contents; and finally, reset the tab order. Resetting tab order on the big kahuna takes 4 hours on a good day.


The solution uses 17 files (it comes from the FileMaker IV (pre-FileMaker Pro days). In addition to a Menu file, there are probably 5 files containing the actual daily-use data. The other files are used for utility functions such as sharing/exchanging data between different clients with my solution (it's that kind of industry) and shortage of form letter clauses, phrases, etc. FTR, I have checked that all my external data sources use the relative path" file:FileName.fmp12". Tech support was big on this as a possible issue.



1. I'm willing to do this, even though setting tab order can will be arduous. Does anyone have experience doing such a thing (Minimalist theme with all local styles)? Were the results positive? Could the users see a performance increase?


2. I've thought about forcing a tabbed interface on my users. Tech support says such a layout will definitely draw faster. I'm unclear as to whether it will be, especially in light of recents posts regarding summary fields off to right of layout (not visible in normal screen sizes/resolutions) now automatically calculating even when the user does not display said summaries. FTR, I don't use sub-summaries on this big layout, but certainly have them on some of my list view layouts. In other development, I've used a posting script to populate global fields using a set field script step but that seem ludicrous. Any thoughts?


3. I make extensive use of all the features offered to developers over the years, particularly conditional color. I'm very reluctant to tear down all that I've built these past decades, just to squeeze every last drop of performance our of my admittedly aging solution. I'm open to other performance ideas but not trying to be light speed. There are advantages to a visually informative interface over pure speed.


4. Is that 27-row portal acting similar to the sub-summaries mentioned earlier, in that it is being drawn—even when user does not have it displayed onscreen?


5. I have a user preference to use any desired zoom level. They are operating at 100%, meaning they are drawing way more objects than if they were to set zoom to 150%, for example. Would this be a good thing to advise?


Thank you all.