7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2013 9:09 AM by JohnSindelar

    DB analysis & documentation tools?


      Are there any tools out there that would analyze a db and document, for instance, where all a table instance was use? When I've worked in variations of C and such there were 3rd party tools that would list what all subroutines were used and by which others, what variables were used where or which were not used, etc. Getting a handle on a good sized db made by someone else would be a lot easier with that kind of thing.

        • 2. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

          Another recommendation for BaseElements. Can't imagine developing without it.


          Gordon Shewach

          • 3. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

            BaseElements by far.


            Inspector looks nice but BaseElements allows me to modify its layouts and add or remove fields as I need. On the other hand it is more "barebones" FileMaker, which means that I can use native searching and it's easier to me this way.





            • 4. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

              Our local user group meeting last week had brief demos of BaseElements and Inspector (by users, not by the product devs). It came about because one member made the comment a month or two ago that working without BaseElements would be "like coding with one arm tied behind his back."

              Both products looked interesting. Probably would come down to preference and workflow style.

              BaseElements is more "open" - it's native, unlocked FMP. Inspector is created in FMP, but it's locked down - I think it was a RunTime solution. One benefit to that is that you can have it up and switch back and forth without "getting out" of your Manage Database dialog. Otherwise, you could run BE in FMP and your solution in FMPA if you have both installed.


              Inspector had a cool comparison tab for seeing what changed in versions, and a cool "script universe" way to visualize graphically how your scripts are related. Though, people that were using Inspector admitted that they never actually use that feature day-to-day.


              That was my quick impression. People that are actually using them would probably have more valuable insight.




              • 5. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

                Thanks guys. I've read the manual on BaseElements and have found Beeswax Inspector. I'll read it's manual and try them both out in demo mode. I'll have to note back here what I find. Thanks for the input on comparison from flybynight. I do note in BaseElements docs that it addresses a couple of the things you pointed out. BE has both an FM edition and runtime edition They also have a comparison report to show changes. I suspect either will do what I need most which is show all uses of a table occurence, in layouts, summary sections, scripts. On a db I didn't build I need to do some fundamental table changes which will break everything. I can then rebuild but only if I know what all I've broken. Both products run off a report out of FM Advanced (FM11 in our case). Being a non-profit I first need to scrounge around and come up with Advaced since I just have Pro but I'll probably find something.



                • 6. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

                  Yes, either way you need advanced. You first have to run a Database Design Report (DDR) - which might be helpful to you in it's own right. These tools take that DDR and make it easier to dig around in it.


                  The guy that demoed BE, said that he makes a duplicate of BE for each solution/project he is working on, then does several imports of the DDR into BE as he works, so he has a running history. I'm sure that's possible with either tool - just a nice workflow tip.


                  Another tip is that is you are using indirection (Set Field by Name, etc where you don't explicitly call out the Field), be careful as that won't not show up as a reference in any of these tools. Document that carefully (field comments) when you use it.

                  • 7. Re: DB analysis & documentation tools?

                    Another +1 for BaseElements and/or Inspector.


                    In addition, we use "The Tool" (http://www.dracoventions.com/products/2empowerFM/family/developer.php) all day long. Especially great if your most complex stuff is within scripts as it opens each script to the line where it found the term you're searching for. And if your scripts are more or less written in execution order, it can be used to find the "first" instance of something--like the first time you set a $$variable.




                    John Sindelar


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