FileMaker Developer issue and file corruption

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 18th, 2003 • 12:51 am

Just spent 1/2 hr on the phone with a FileMaker tech support person. (My first time ever using the service. I bought Developer a couple of months ago, so I had one incident available for free. Now was the time to test the system, I figure.)

To FM’s credit, the automated phone system was fairly efficient, and I wasn’t put on hold for very long. I am still wondering, however, why it is that the system asks you to key in your phone number so that it can be recorded into their database, and then when you finally talk to a live human being, they ask for your phone number again. Apart from that, no complaints. Since I had dutifully registered the product, he was able to find me in the database and put 2 and 2 together.

I described the problem and the “work-around” that I had found. Because of past experiences with FileMaker Pro conflicting with the Developer Tool when trying to build a solution, I somehow suspected that the issue was something “left open” by FileMaker Pro (after editing the database file) and tried logging out and logging backin before running Developer Tool to build the solution. And it worked! In other words, it looks as if opening the file in question with FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Developer to make changes to it, and then trying to run the Developer Tool to create a solution based on this file in the same session does not work. As soon as you’ve opened the file with FileMaker Pro/Developer, Dev Tool refuses to work until you’ve logged out and logged back in. Closing the file in FMP/D and quitting FMP/D doesn’t change anything. Somehow “something” is left open after editing the file, which prevents Dev Tool from working properly. What is it? I don’t know!

Anyway, I explained all this to the technician who, to his credit, did take the issue seriously right away (especially since I pointed him to the KB article on the issue and the ineffectiveness of the solution offered). He put me on hold and came back to me a few minutes later with the following suggestion: try to create a new user in OS X and see if the problem still happens.

I did that, created a new user called “test” with administrator’s privileges, and then tried the typical sequence of editing a FM file with FMP/D and then quitting FMP/D and running Dev Tool to try and build a solution with the file. And it worked!

In other words, or rather, in the words of the technician, something in my current OS X user setup has become “corrupted”, and it is that corruption that is causing the problem.

Of course, since we don’t know where the corruption comes from, I have absolutely no guarantee that things will continue to work fine with the new user as I slowly rebuild my work environment. And I just hate the thought of having to do all this, only to realize, a few days down the road, that something in the process of recreating my work environment has caused the corruption to re-emerge.

Needless to say, my work environment is customized to a significant degree, and rebuilding it will take some time. (I am still using my current, allegedly “corrupted” user setup to write this.)

The more I think about it, the more I realize that file corruption has become the single-most important problem with modern computers. Microsoft Word files become corrupted. Various Mac OS X preference files become corrupted. Other third-party preference files become corrupted. And now an entire OS X “user” can become corrupted. The corruption only manifests itself when you are trying to do certain things. So of course it’s easy for FileMaker to put the blame on OS X itself.

This is just so typical. No one is taking responsibility for the corruption, and I, the end user, end up having to deal with it by devoting hours of precious time to rebuilding stuff from scratch – with no guarantee that I’ll be free from corruption in the future.

I have had the exact same problem with MS Word X. A few months ago, after numerous exchanges with John McGhie on the newsgroup, I decided to bite the bullet and rebuild my “Normal” template and other secondary templates from scratch, in an attempt to get rid once and for all of document corruption and other idiotic issues such as the “Disk is full” bug, which still occurs in Word X, nearly five years after it was first reported.

Guess what? Rebuilding the templates from scratch did not solve the problem. I haven’t encountered document corruption in my own documents since then, but I have encountered it in other documents. And I have encountered the “Disk is full” bug yet again in my own documents, i.e. documents that are supposed to be built on the foundation of a “clean” Normal template.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Document corruption shouldn’t even exist. (Ever got a corrupted BBEdit file?) And the “Disk is full” bug… Well, that’s just beyond belief. For five years they have been aware of the issue, and have done nothing to remedy it. We’ve been through Word 98, Word 2001, and Word X, and through Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9, and Mac OS X — and the bug is still there.

Not a good day to try and get work done on the computer!

One Response to “FileMaker Developer issue and file corruption”

  1. gdurniak says:

    File corruption is also a problem in FileMaker Pro, see:

    NY FileMaker Developers Group

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