?
Solved

FileMaker's niche

Posted on 2005-03-15
5
Medium Priority
?
604 Views
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have used other databases such as Oracle, Informix, SQLServer, MySQL, Access, etc. I am considering a contract for writing input templates and cleaning up several FileMaker databases. I understand there are 250K records in one of their databases, and I was surprised that they had that large a database without considering another database alternative.

What is the typical FileMaker application? Can FileMaker handle databases of this size without performance issues?

Thanks,

Dorothy
0
Comment
Question by:dorothy2
[X]
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 2
  • 2
5 Comments
 
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

by:lesouef
lesouef earned 136 total points
ID: 13562784
The typical application is not a file that big, but things have changed recently, so which version are they using?
Also, only sorting and search operations are slow, so if they only enter data to log stuff, they won't suffer from it.
And they may want to keep an excellent user interface which users are familiar with. As far as reliability is concerned, there is no problem as long as they do a regular backup as for anything else. I have bases bigger than that (> 300000rec.)
0
 
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

by:
billmercer earned 264 total points
ID: 13567293
FileMaker is not a SQL-based system, so it's hard to make direct comparisons, but I think of FileMaker as being a middle ground between a single-user/small workgroup database like Access and an "enterprise" database like SQL Server or Oracle.

In my experience, FileMaker handles large tables quite well. I've got a large networked database hosted on FM Server 5. The biggest tables have about 2.5 million records, and I consider tables of ~100-200k records to be medium-sized. The only performance issues with large files are when doing things that affect the entire file, such as validating the file, sorting the entire file, summarizing fields for the whole table, etc. Simple finds are very fast, regardless of the size of the database. Sorting the whole table is very slow, but we almost never need to do that, so it's not an issue. Sorting a found set of X number of records is not noticeably slower for a big file than for a small file.

Version is important. FileMaker 6 and earlier has a physical limit of 2 gigabytes per table. V7 basically eliminates this limit. There are also significant differences between version 7 of FileMaker and earlier versions with respect to how client/server databases are handled, V7 does more on the server side.

As for reliability, I find FileMaker to do surprisingly well. I've actually had more corrupted files that required restoring from a backup using SQL Server than I have with FileMaker.

0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:dorothy2
ID: 13567501
One last question, and then I'll split the points between the two of you. Thanks for your opinions.

Is record access based on sequential file access or random access? Do the tables have indexes for the fields that you assume the lookup will be based on, like Customer ID? If so, what happens to the search when you choose a field which is not indexed, like customer's countrycode="US". Full table scan?

Thanks again,

Dorothy

0
 
LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:billmercer
billmercer earned 264 total points
ID: 13570369
Record access is random.

FileMaker indexing is pretty similar to indexing in other databases, though simplified. Each field can be indexed or unindexed as you prefer, except of course for fields containing binary data (container fields) and fields that are unstored, calculated on the fly.

Primary keys must be indexed, and anything you plan to search or sort on should be indexed.
Indexing increases file size, so it's usually best not to index fields that won't ever be searched or sorted.

If the field is unindexed, then a linear search through the whole table is required, and this is dramatically slower, as it is as with most databases.

If you don't specify indexing, the default index setting for FileMaker is that each field starts out unindexed, but the first time an index is needed, it will be automatically generated. (I hate this option, so I always change it. I tend to put indexes on just about everything.)

In FM7, indexing is slightly more sophisticated, with two different levels of indexing.

FileMaker's a lot of fun to work with, but if you're coming from a SQL background, it takes some getting used to. FileMaker is a streamlined approach to data, and the user interface is tightly integrated with the database.
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:dorothy2
ID: 13574429
Thanks to both of you.

Dorothy
0

Featured Post

Free Tool: SSL Checker

Scans your site and returns information about your SSL implementation and certificate. Helpful for debugging and validating your SSL configuration.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Problem: You have a hosted FileMaker database and users are tired of having to use Open Remote or Open Recent to access the database. They say, "can't you just give us something to double-click on rather than have to go through those dialogs?" An…
Having just upgraded from Filemaker 11 to Filemaker 12 over the weekend, we thought we would add some tips for others making the same move.  In general, our installation went without incident. Please note that this is not a replacement for Chapter 5…
In this video we outline the Physical Segments view of NetCrunch network monitor. By following this brief how-to video, you will be able to learn how NetCrunch visualizes your network, how granular is the information collected, as well as where to f…
This is my first video review of Microsoft Bookings, I will be doing a part two with a bit more information, but wanted to get this out to you folks.
Suggested Courses

801 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question