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One of the more important tools in development is being able to save or compare different versions of your application. This allows for quick and easy identification of any changes, lets developers make rapid updates in small and clear steps, plus can provide the ability to share or reuse code, layouts, and other elements with minimal effort. Using the new Save a Copy as XML feature in FileMaker, this critical functionality can be implemented via a single click or through scripting as a replacement of the previous Database Design Report (DDR). Taking this XML and using a diff tool, organizations will be able to track changes between versions of their FileMaker application.
Save a Copy as XML
While the original DDR function still exists for now, a new option has been added in the Tools menu to “Save a Copy as XML”. When you select this tool you will be prompted to choose a save location and enter a file name. This will be set to your file name by default, and no other settings or configuration is necessary. Once you choose Save, FileMaker will create a new XML file in your specified location that is an XML serialization of your FileMaker file excluding record details
What About the DDR?
Initially just being able to save an XML copy of a FileMaker file can sound quite similar to the existing Database Design Report option; however the Save a Copy as XML feature is meant to be an XML serialization while the DDR is not. For example Save a Copy as XML includes encrypted account credentials as they would be required to have a complete serialization of a FileMaker file’s schema and structure while the DDR doesn’t include this information.
Benefits of Scripting
For even more control, there is a new script step also called “Save a Copy as XML” that allows you to automatically save an XML representation of the solution.
With this step a developer can easily create a script and set it up on a server schedule to automatically generate daily version records of an entire application, and these files can then be archived for security and referenced as needed.
In addition there is another new script step called “Save a Copy as XML Package” which provides the same functionality but also includes record information. Instead of a single file this step will generate a folder directory containing an XML document for the serialized solution, an XML document for all serialized record data, PNG files for the solution’s preview and icon images, and .strings files containing schema and file info.
Save a Copy as XML is a fantastic addition to the FileMaker platform, providing a way to run differential comparisons on a solution. Contact us if you need help incorporating this excellent new feature into your FileMaker application!
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