FileMaker Update Methodologies

RefreshFM is a solution for migrating data from one set of files to another.  It does this by setting up and automating imports between two versions of the same solution.

Why use RefreshFM?

RefreshFM lets developers use Best Practice development techniques to work in offline versions of their solution, and have Development or Test versions of the solution alongside a Live version and be able to move data easily between each one.

Because of the nature of FileMaker, this is all done with Imports. Importing data can be time consuming for large data sets, but has some distinct advantages :

  • Repeatable - You can run the import as many times as you need on recent backups without interrupting live files. This way you also know in advance exactly how long the process will take and how long any downtime will be.
  • Testable - Once you've run an import once, you can easily test the real world results, again without interrupting data.
  • Flexible - You can alter the imports to only include those files you need to change so that import time is minimised.
  • Modifiable - Completely changing files allows to easily alter data structures and storage, something that is difficult and time consuming to do manually.
  • Automate-able - The entire process from start to finish can be set to happen automatically, so that no user intervention is required, and no human errors occur.

The big issue with importing is the time spent on large data sets. But RefreshFM is also flexible enough so that you can run multiple imports on different machines at the same time. For a very large import you could have as many imports as you have files in your solution, all working simultaneously.

Importing gives you the most choice when making changes to your solution, you're not locked into a separation model and the constraints that that imposes for the rest of the project. So you're free to make the best decision for the long term benefit of the solution, not the one that your development model restricts you to. But even if you're using a separation model for your solutions, and doing UI only updates as needed, RefreshFM can help for those few times when a data file change is required.

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