11 Replies Latest reply on Apr 5, 2012 9:40 AM by wdalford

    FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?

    wdalford

      I installed FMP12 on my computer this morning and tried to open a small .fmp7 file. I was given no option other than to convert the file to .fmp12.

       

      So...

       

      Apparently FMP12 is not backward compatible with the previous .fmp7 file format.

       

      I have two rather complex databases running on Server 11 Advance and approximately 50 clients running a mixture of FMP10 and 11.

       

      In order to upgrade(?) the plant to FMP12 I will have to SIMULTANEOUSLY install FMP12 on all 50 workstations and then install Server 12 Advance and then convert the DBs.

       

      What a gigantic pain in my ***!

       

      Why couldn't the new version be compatible with the old file format so that large installations could be upgraded in stages?

        • 1. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
          mrialsjr

          The simple answer is there are core differences and it's not as simple as "make them compatible"

          • 2. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
            DavidZakary

            You're probably going to get a lot of reponses on this so here's the start...

             

            • Lots of new features that can't be made backwards compatible
            • New ways of doing old things that are more effecient, faster, whatever
            • Insert next item here (there are many)

             

            Losing backwards compatibility is part of the problem of moving forward. There have been many instances of this; moving to .fp7, losing PowerPC compatability in OS X, losing Rosetta in Lion, Java updates, take your pick. The pain and costs are real but we have to believe that they will be for the better.

             

            You're under no obligation to upgrade immediately. Since there is a major effort and cost assoicated with moving to .fmp12 this, for me, is a good time to step back and have a re-think about how things are currently done and create a strategic, long-term, plan about moving forward rather than rushing in.

            • 3. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
              wdalford

              I've heard all of this stuff before. usually from Mac users who are used to this sort of thing from Apple. I remember all of the pain of upgrading the Mac OS. I was forced to the dark side when I moved to IT.

               

              When FM7 came out with the new file format, I had just finished a year-long project in FM6. I rewrote the whole thing rather than converting the old files. It took me another nine months. So, I've been here before. That doesn't mean I have to like it or just just quietly accept it.  Because I am an inhouse developer, my solutions are constantly evolving. As time passes and new features are available in FM, I incorporate them when appropriate and advantageous. I don't knpw how we got along without script triggers for so long.

               

              It looks to me like almost all of the changes in 12 are related to making your interface look nicer. That's fine but if I'm going to go to the trouble ungrading I'd like to see some more added functinality to go with the pretty face.

               

              Anyway, I've been experimenting a little and it seems that the answer may be to install 11 and 12 side by side and continue to use 11 until all workstaions are dealt with and then do the server and convert. The problem will be getting the "Users" to understand what is going on.

               

              We'll see.

              • 4. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                mrialsjr

                Actually the performance of server is so above and beyond 11 that I appreciate your initial reaction to 12 looking nicer but I have to admit after seeing the changes on the server side it's worth the effort we here will go through to get it changed. I have some very complex portals with extensive filtering and where as some of those portals in 11 take 30 seconds to load in 12 it only takes 5-7 that's a benefit that is tangible and will be felt by the users as well.

                • 5. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                  thomas_staehli

                  I can understand your frustration, but this transition isn't as bad as going from fp5 to fp7. As far as I know, even if you have a multi-file fp7 solution you can convert an entire batch and it should keep all the relationships and work the same way as before.

                  • 6. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                    BruceHerbach

                    Hi,

                     

                    You are right 12 is not backward compatible with 12..  So that stated, they can co-exist for a while.  You will need a new/seperate server for 12.  but you can run FileMaker 11 and 12 at the same time on the client.  I know this doesn't work for a multifile solution.  In this case all files have to be in the same version.

                     

                    Anyway steps to get started.

                    1) Set up new server with 12 FMS.  (Leave 11 Server up and running.)  Note the client will only see the appropriate server. 

                    2) Install 12 on all desktops.

                    3) Convert 11 Files to 12 and upload on Server

                    4) Shut down 11 Server.  ( clients that start up 11 won't be able to access old files)

                    4a) If there will be a transition period where you have both servers running,  make sure you remove any 11 files from the 11 server that have been migrated to the 12 server.  This will prevent users from accessing the wrong file.

                     

                    I was able to take a 20 File solution and have 12 bring over the whole file set.  So the Conversion was fairly painless.  My guess is the hardest part is getting the IT department to go for the new server and handle the desktop installations.

                     

                    Unlike the fp5 to fp7 update,  this will not require a major redesign of the system.  Going forward you will have a bunch of new features you can use.

                     

                    Best of Luck and HTH

                    Bruce

                    • 7. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                      steveromig

                      wdalford wrote:

                       

                      When FM7 came out with the new file format, I had just finished a year-long project in FM6. I rewrote the whole thing rather than converting the old files. It took me another nine months. So, I've been here before. That doesn't mean I have to like it or just just quietly accept it.  Because I am an inhouse developer, my solutions are constantly evolving. As time passes and new features are available in FM, I incorporate them when appropriate and advantageous. I don't knpw how we got along without script triggers for so long.

                       

                       

                      Let me chime in on this...

                       

                      I was a contractor at FileMaker, Inc. when we made the jump from .fp5 to .fp7.  We (FileMaker, Inc.) know it was a painful transition for many of you.  We do not take the decision to change the file format lightly and I assure you a lot of thought goes into it.  With that said, one of the goals we set when it was decided we had to change the file format for FileMaker Pro 12 is that it had to be easy - like it was when we made the jump from .fp3 to .fp5.  If we had a repeat of the conversion experience going to .fp7 that was not going to be acceptable.  The goal was that most, if not all, files would make it through the fmp12 conversion process with little or no work needing to be done pre or post conversion.

                       

                      I am confident we achieved this goal for FileMaker Pro 12.

                       

                      I know many of you who have been using FileMaker Pro for awhile likely cringed when you heard the file format was changing for version 12. But conversion this time around will be a different experience for most of you.  Conversion experiences like above where the best option is / was a complete solution re-write are a thing of the past.  And on those rare occasions where something doesn't work, we would love to see those files.  You all are pretty creative and stretch the limits of FileMaker Pro in ways no one ever thought of and because of that the conversion process may not work in all cases.  But even experiences like this will be few and far between.

                       

                      So, keep the comments coming.

                       

                      By the way, the "batch" conversion process that you all have been discussing about is really no different than the method that was around during the transition to the .fp7 file format.  If all your files are in one folder you can convert them all at the same time and all the links to those files will be preserved.  If you have nested folders and files inside those folders then things get a little trickier but not unmanageable - and it is the same issue you would have run into if you made the jump from 6 > 7.  See this knowledge base article for more information on how to deal with this type of situation.

                       

                      http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/711

                       

                      Steve Romig

                      FileMaker, Inc.

                      • 8. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                        Stephen Huston

                        This happens every time there is a file format change with FileMaker. The last time was roughly 6-7 years ago when the FP7 format was introduced.

                         

                        Major changes can require a file format change. With FP7 it was multiple tables in a file, and earlier versions of Pro didn;t handle that, so they couldn't work with that giant step forward.

                         

                        This time the changes are less obvious, but the different storage of containers, layout formats based on CSS, etc. clearly cannot be read by FM versions prior to 12, so a file format change was required and things would break if earlier version of Pro tried to read the newer files.

                         

                        Yes, major installations require that you get a lot of stuff in place before starting the changeover. We have 100 users, 2 servers in different cities with files inter-related, and some client machines still have to be upgraded from from MAC 10.5.x to 10.6.8 or 10.7 to even run it.

                         

                        We anticipate 2 to 4 months before the full site upgrade for our company due to geting all the pieces in place.

                         

                        The alternative is for us not to upgrade -- Not an real option for the long term. Eventually our newest computers wouldn't run our oldest software if we ignored new versions. Besides, I am eager to get some of the new features in place, including some of the stuff that the previous file format couldn't support at all.

                        • 9. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                          wdalford

                          Ain't this fun?

                           

                          Bruce, you have, more or less, repeated what I  proposed in my last post. FM11 users cannot see FM12 files and vice versa. There is no need for two servers. If 11 and 12 are both installed on each workstation, they need only use 11 until the server is changed and then switch to 12. The server software can be upgraded and the files converted quickly during off hours. Who has a spare server laying around, anyway? Those things are expensive. This a clumsy and awkward way to have to do this. I can imagine my phone ringing off the hook with users who open the wrong version and can't find "their files".

                           

                          I'm hearing all sorts of explanations as to why this pain is necessary. Maybe so, but when the switch was made to .fp7 I don't remember that the conversion being any big deal. I just went from one file on my server to over 20. I rewrote the thing because it was the right thing to do for the future not because it was absolutely necessary.

                           

                          I hear a lot about how easy it is to convert files. Great, but how easy is it to install 50+ copies of FMP12 overnight? That's my problem. This is not a small office with 4 or 5 users. This is a medium sized printing plant with over 50 users that operates pretty much 24/7.We cannot operate without this system running and it costs a lot of money to shut this place down for 24 hours while we install software and convert files. It's gonna be awhile before that happens. It will probably cost a couple of us a holiday.

                           

                          End of rant. Thanks.

                          • 10. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                            patrick_denny

                            I take a "glass half full" approach here. FM was backwards compatible for EIGHT YEARS, a more than generous dispensation imo. The conversion process in 12, as many have noted, is quite painless and Server 12 by all accounts is a dramatic improvement. On the Mac OS side many things have changed, and quickly (Lion, end of Rosetta support, etc) which have caused me much more pain on the client side than FM 12 ever could ;-)

                            • 11. Re: FMP12 not backward compatible? What the ...?
                              wdalford

                              Hi, Stephen,

                               

                              I didn't see your post until I finished my last screed.

                               

                              I guess no matter how bad you think you've got it, there's always somebody worse off. I don't envy you your ungrade task.

                               

                              It just takes some of the fun out of it, though, doesn't it.

                               

                              The necessity to upgrade hardware and software is an argument we have to have with management here pretty regularly.

                               

                              Some things are the same all over. i gotta go get some work done. have a good one, everybody.