Deleting A FileMaker Found Set (part 2)

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

TWITTER: dwaynewright
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Start off by using one or a combination of security options and custom menus. Then provide a backup option for your databases. If you are using FileMaker Server on a network, you can backup the database live with a minimum of performance problems. DRAWBACK : This does give you some "limited" protection for unintentional deletes. Even if you implement a "backup often" routine, there is still potential that your user will create and delete something in between backup events. It also is a hassle to find the backup that has the latest version of a record.

Backup all information to an archive table before deleting via scripting. This is done by using a combination plate of the previously mentioned options. For sets of very key data, you can build an archive file that passes the information to it first and then deletes the master. DRAWBACK : It will take time to pass all the data to another table. Of course, if you are having too many deletes by your users, it’s an indication of other possible problems. You will need to build an archive file for each file you want to do this for. You have to store a lot of extra files / records but you do have excellent recover capability for unintended deletes.

This is a variation of option number 5, instead of writing the information to a backup table for each table, write them all to one archive table and save the information as a text array. This is something that advanced users are familiar with. The idea is that you take a bunch of information from a bunch of records and save it as one calculated text string. Each piece of information is separated by a flag or marker. If this sounds a little like HTML, you are right. Web pages and the elements in them do resemble text arrays. This allows you to save more information in a smaller space. It also offers a smaller performance hit to users. DRAWBACKS : You will need to build an engine that can breakup the text array. You will use this engine when you have to restore deleted data. This option does take some time to setup and modification time can hurt if your database isn’t quite mature.

There is a third party product called FMDataGuard that can be used to automatically store copies of deleted files. The setup for this product is not that easy, it isn’t particularly inexpensive but you can download a demo and work with it to see if it can meet your needs.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to protecting your FileMaker database against accidental record deletion. None of them are perfect and none of them will make everyone happy. However, one of them ( or a customized combination plate of them) will likely take care of your immediate business needs. Personally, I tend to start at the bottom and work my way up to Option 7.

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