FILEFLEX PROGRAMMER MANUAL
FileFlex 3 Release Notes
FileFlex has changed drastically between Release 2 and Release 3. This chapter will help you to better understand the scope of those changes.
In short, FileFlex 3.0's "Centaur" engine is now fully FoxPro and Access compatible and supports a wide range of new functions. The product now supports cross-file true relations and relational query acceleration similar to FoxPro's Rushmore technology. Separately priced versions of FileFlex will provide fileshare-based multi-user support (including concurrent access to FoxPro data side-by-side with FoxPro apps), and a client/server version allowing remote access over TCP/IP.
We now consider FoxPro to be an essential utility to FileFlex (seriously). We do not ship a dBASE III to FoxPro format conversion tool to move your old FileFlex databases to FileFlex 3.0. You'll need to use either FoxPro or Access. The benefit is you can create, open, and modify the structure of FileFlex 3.0 databases and indexes within FoxPro.
FileFlex 3.0.1 Release Notes
FileFlex 3.0.1 introduces the Macintosh version of FileFlex 3. FileFlex 3.0.1 is a 32-bit Xtra for Director working on the PowerPC platform.
FileFlex 3.0.1 also fixes two bugs in the Windows version:
- When using DBQuery, rather than returning a value of "3" to indicate reaching the end of a database, FileFlex 3 would crash or hang in a creatively unique way. This bug has been fixed.
- FileFlex 3 had some inconsistency in date formatting during queries. FileFlex 3.0.1 fixes this by forcing all dates to be Year 2000 compliant. All dates should be specified to FileFlex 3 in the form CCYYMMDD (as in "20001231").
New FileFlex 3.0 Features
Here's a short list of new features in FileFlex 3.0:
- FileFlex no longer requires separately-purchased and separately configured runtimes. Your purchase of FileFlex 3 includes the right to ship the product embedded within your projects at no additional charge (a signed license agreement is required).
- Because there are no longer separate runtimes for FileFlex, there is no longer a need to encrypt filenames.
- Again, because there are no longer separate runtimes for FileFlex, you can now create database and index files on the fly within your projects.
- We removed the entire old FileFlex "undercarriage", the original, crusty database engine and replaced it with our hot new, modern FoxPro-compatible engine code-named "Centaur".
- Changed the data file formats. FileFlex now uses .DBF (as always, but with FoxPro extensions),.FPT (for memos), and .CDX (compound, compact indexes, also a FoxPro format). Faster, smaller, more capabilities. FileFlex databases can also be used inside and side-by-side with Access databases using a feature of Access called "external tables". FileFlex is compatible with Access and FoxPro, but it does not require either of them to run, or either FoxPro or Access to be installed on end user machines.
- FileFlex now supports "automatic" or "structural" index files. These files open automatically at the same time the data file opens.
- FileFlex now supports real, hard-core relations (i.e., one-to-one, many-to-one relations, one-to-many and many-to-many relations) just like FoxPro. You can perform complex relational queries across files and tables and move through the database in a virtual, combined-file, relational order. Not only can you perform a combined, relational query, but you can also specify the sort order that defines how FileFlex will traverse the data.
- One of the principle differentiating features of FoxPro has been it's incredibly fast and powerful Rushmore relational query acceleration technology. We've implemented a similar technology within FileFlex.
- Among the most requested features are list, column, and table functions. They're now included as standard equipment in FileFlex 3. You can now call DBCountMatches to get a count of index or relation matches. DBGetMatchList fills specified global variables with the entire list of matches (again, based on an index or relational query). To help with the presentation of the matches, we've created a number of column and table functions that will let you assemble fixed-width tables (or even HTML tables).
- FileFlex 3 ships in a single-user version and a multi-user version. A client/server version is planned for a future release. The multi-user version is able to work concurrently with multiple FileFlex databases across machines, as well as share data with active, running FoxPro and Access applications. The client/server version will host the data files on the server and allow the client machines to gain access across the network. It is possible for the server to concurrently access data files with the multi-user versions of FileFlex as well as with FoxPro, providing the possibility for a very high-end data center.
- FileFlex' indexes have been vastly improved. We now use compound, compact indexes. This format allows multiple sort orders per index file. We now also allow complex filtering functions inside an index, in addition to the sort orderings.
- FileFlex can now optimize memo files associated with a packed database. In previous FileFlex versions (and consistent with dBASE III), when a record was deleted in a data file, the data was still retained inside the memo file. In FileFlex 3 and above, the deleted space is reclaimed from the memo file.
- FileFlex' basic query mechanism has changed significantly. The basic DBQuery can scan from the current record, using the established index order until it finds a match. You can modify the query string mid-stream, allowing you to perform wierd, funky, iterative query scans. We've also added a bunch of new internal, intrinsic functions.
- FileFlex 3.0 will ship as an Xtra for Director 5 and Director 6 for Windows 95 and Windows NT, as well as MacOS. Due to technology included in our new accelerated query mechanism and multi-user versions (as well as in preparation for Windows 98), FileFlex 3 will not be available for Windows 3.1 or Macintosh 68K.
- The FileFlex manual is now completely HTML-based and online. It has been enhanced so that all function name references throughout the manual are hot-linked directly to their definitions, making it very easy to navigate among functions.
The following functions have been added to FileFlex in Release 3:
A separate multi-user version of FileFlex is also available. The following new functions are available for that version:
The operation and/or syntax of the following functions have changed:
Many of the result codes have changed as well. Be sure to double check your code and use the new result codes.
Obsoleted Features and Functions
The following functions are obsolete and no longer available in FileFlex:
- WorldFlex technology (except DBTranslateChars, DBUpper, and DBLower)
In addition, FileFlex no longer supports or provides so-called "Tool Xtras" for use with Director. Tool Xtras were Xtras that showed up under Director's Xtras menu. FileFlex 3 is intended solely for serious professional developers and the capability of Tool Xtras in FileFlex 2 was primarily added to appease the marketing people.
Likewise, the FileFlex Database Designer of FileFlex 2 is no longer provided. FileFlex 3 now has many more options and capabilities than the original Database Designer could handle. Frankly, the best tool for designing FileFlex 3 databases is FoxPro. Otherwise, you can create databases using the DBCreate and DBCreateAuto commands.
Discuss this chapter on the FileFlex Boards.
Copyright © 1992-1998 by David Gewirtz, under license to Component Enterprises, Inc.
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