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Chapter 17. Troubleshooting > FileMaker Extra: Other Tools of the Trade

FileMaker Extra: Other Tools of the Trade

A number of the important tools you can use to avoid or diagnose trouble in your FileMaker systems were touched on in this chapter. Many of these are development practices, and a few, such as the Script Debugger, are available within the FileMaker product line. But there are also a number of third-party tools that can provide valuable diagnostics. As a rule, these tools analyze the structure and logic of a FileMaker system and produce output that warns you about potential difficulties with the files. Not all these tools were known to be available for FileMaker 7 at the time of this writing, but we fully expect them all to make to leap to 7 soon after the product is released. In general, these tools analyze an existing FileMaker file set and produce an interactive report (either in HTML or as a set of FileMaker databases).

  • Analyzer— Analyzer, from Waves in Motion (http://www.wavesinmotion.com) is a tool that, well, analyzes your FileMaker solutions and produces a FileMaker-based report. Analyzer documents the entire internal structure of your system. Among the output it produces are notes about errors encountered within the system structure. The most common type of errors involves missing elements, such as missing fields, layouts, or related table occurrences, as well as relationships that are invalid or suspect.

  • Metadata Magic— Metadata Magic, from New Millennium Communications (http://www.nmci.com), is a FileMaker plugin that performs solution analysis and returns the results as a set of FileMaker databases, as does Analyzer. MdM is able to document a variety of problem areas in a FileMaker database. Of particular interest is its capability to note whether a file has been recovered, and if so, how many times.

  • Brushfire— From Chaparral Software (http://www.chapsoft.com) produces an HTML-based report that, like the other two products mentioned here, shows complete details about the structure of a FileMaker solution, as well as highlighting possible trouble spots. Among its noteworthy features are the capability to find “obsolete” items that are no longer used or referenced, and the capability to find objects with improper names.


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