8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 4, 2010 8:37 AM by FentonJones

    Analysing databases



      Analysing databases




      I am new to FileMaker Pro (10). I want to analyse the existing databases and list the following information for each database:




      Databases that are linked to the database

                      What date was the last entry added


      How can I do each of these activities?

      Are there other good analytical tools in FileMaker Pro 10?


      I have read-only access.





        • 1. Re: Analysing databases
          Steve Wright

          There are some pretty good analysis tools for Filemaker Pro databases, however these require that you create a DDR (database design report) which requires the advanced version  (FileMaker Pro Advanced)


          The DDR itself will give you the information you require on fields / tables / relationships etc, but you can take it a step further using tools such as 


          http://www.goya.com.au/baseelements  ( something I use on a daily basis)  or

          http://www.beezwax.net/solutions/inspector  ( I used in the past but had issues with larger files, still a good tool though)


          As for the 'what date was the last entry added' Im assuming you mean user input here, in which case you can create a field for creation date & modified date to track this.


          Having read only access of course is another problem, if not a show-stopper altogether.

          • 2. Re: Analysing databases

            I don't have the Advanced version unfortunately.


            I have read that you can use File > Define > Database to view tables, fields, relationship etc. I don't see this option. Is there any way I can see this (even if I have to apply for read-write access)?



            • 3. Re: Analysing databases


              "The Full Access privilege set is the only one that permits access to the Manage Database dialog box in order to modify fields, tables, relationships, and data sources."


              You don't need Advanced to view the schema, but you do need full access. You could then print the fields and the relationship graph to PDF.


              You need both Advanced and full access to output a DDR.

              • 4. Re: Analysing databases

                Apparently we may have Advanced version as a web version.


                Can you please explain what a DDR is?

                Is it ready made or do I have to create it?

                How hard is it to create?


                Any free tools that would work with FMP 10?


                Thanks very much.

                • 5. Re: Analysing databases

                  The DDR is a ready-made report in your choice of HTML or XML which is generated with a simple menu command and a couple of clicks to select which databases you want to include and which attributes.


                  The HTML version is usable as is, but it's somewhat cumbersome to dig around in.

                  The XML version isn't much good on its own, but when imported into a tool such as mentioned above, Base Elements or Inspector, is a much more useful analysis.

                  I don't know of any free tools, but you can print your fields, scripts and graph to PDF, and those files are searchable. You could also play around with the design functions in FileMaker.

                  • 6. Re: Analysing databases

                    There are a couple of free tools which work with the XML version of the DDR. They are both very limited, in both what they get and the interface to look at it. 



                    Process DDR v2


                    If you know xml/xsl you could extend Process DDR. But it is a fair amount of work to do so, and sometimes requires updating for new versions of FileMaker. Which is why the commercial tools are somewhat (too) expensive.

                    • 7. Re: Analysing databases

                      Thanks for the links, Fenton.

                      I couldn't think of any tools that don't require the DDR, though. Do you know of any? Something based on your Applescript wizardry perhaps?

                      • 8. Re: Analysing databases

                        "Wizardy" would be an overstatement (compared to real AppleScript experts), but thanks :-] There used to be AppleScript solutions (years ago), building a FileMaker database from info returned. But nowadays everyone uses the DDR, especially its XML output.* For one thing, the DDR is the only place where you can see the names of the "base tables", vs. the names of all the occurrences on the Relationship Graph. AppleScript (and most APIs) only see the graph. 

                        * Tip: Do not check "automatically open" for the XML DDR; they can be very large text files. Also, if do open a large one for some reason, set your text editor defaults to not "word wrap" lines; much faster.

                        I still use AppleScript occasionally for such things as quickly getting the names of all the fields in a table. A couple of examples.

                        tellapplication "FileMaker Pro Advanced"
                        name of tables  -- all on Relationship Graph
                        nameoffieldsoftable "Register"
                        name of FileMaker scripts