Thanks to everyone for joining us on August 20 for this webinar.  Here’s a brief summary of what we discussed:

  • We discussed strategies to keep even complex databases in check.
  • We learned how to use the Database Design Report built into FileMaker Pro Advanced to find unused relationships, layouts, and fields.
  • We also reviewed some important exceptions when removing things.

Here’s a summary of the Q & A portion of the webinar:

Q: Is it possible to find unused buttons on the DDR. I mean a button that calls a script. How can I know if there are scripts that no buttons call?

and a similar question…

Q: Is it possible to find unused scripts and relationships on the DDR?

A: Yes. Here is the method that we use:

Open the DDR and navigate down to the scripts section.

Click on the name of the first script. This will take you to the script detail section.

Click down and copy the name of every script that has no entries in the ‘Layouts that use this script’ and ‘Scripts that use this script’ sections into a separate Word document. This is a list of potentially unused scripts.

Go back to the DDR and search for the name of each script.  You are looking to make sure there are no places in the database that call a script by name. Examples of this would be:

Embedding a script name in a URL.

Older plugins that call a script by name.

Script triggers, e.g.: OnRecordLoad triggers, can be seen when looking at the Layout info, but not seen when looking at the Script Info.

Double check with the users, that they don’t select the script from the scripts menu (even if it isn’t visible!)

Once you are sure it isn’t used, you can delete it.  Don’t forget to save a backup copy of the database!

Q: Is there a tool to show differences between two DDRs?

A:  There are several great tools for comparing databases. We have used two of them and like both:

Inspector Pro: it has a great interface and was rebuilt from the ground up for FileMaker Pro 12. It reads in the XML Design report, so make sure you save the right one.

FMDiff: This works directly on the database files so, you don’t even need  to create the DDR’s. Make sure you have backups of your databases.

Q: When you first started, you passed over a section of “Shadow” items.  What is the implication of something being a “Shadow?”

A: Shadow tables are tables that come from an ESS (External SQL Source) database and don’t originate from the FileMaker Pro database.

Q: Base Elements and the others tools are really expensive. Are they really useful? comparing to the DDR?

A: The database design report is very useful on its own but there are also a tremendous amount of quality third-party products that will speed up your analysis, provide features that can’t be replicated with a simple DDR search and make your database life much easier.   Most (if not all) of these products have trial versions so we would encourage you to check them out and see if they are a good fit for you!

Here’s the YouTube video for those of you who missed the live performance:


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