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Thread: How to move ALL my Alpha files

  1. #1
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Wanda Tucker
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    Default How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Our IT department is giving me a new computer, and insisting that all my Alpha files reside on a different drive than what they currently reside on. I'm so nervous about moving all my files, and am having visions of not being able to open reports, layouts, forms, etc.

    Can someone explain, step-by-step, how I rename my files so that I will be able to use all the applications I've developed? I do know DOS to a degree, and am wondering if that would be an easier way to move them. Pointing and clicking in MS Explorer is fine, though, too.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Wanda,

    Aren't IT departments there to *help* people.

    -What do you mean by "Alpha files"?
    Program: There is the Alpha 5 program and there are your data files. You will have to reinstall Alpha 5 on the new machine.

    Data: These you will have to copy. Where are they now? Do you have several applications. Are all the files in one folder, in the A5 program folder, spread all around.

    Depending on the answer you may have an easy or hard time of it.

    Here is how you *should* set things up. Each application in its own folder separate from the program folder. This makes the copy task trivial.

    So describe the current situation.

    Bill

  3. #3
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    What I mean by all my Alpha files is literally all of them. IT Dept will load the program - and I'm not sure on what drive...probably in C:program files. I will then need to copy my data files onto a zip drive, then copy them back to an "S" drive, instead of the "D" drive where they currently reside.

    My data files are in seperate folders - but if it doesn't complicate things, I would like to organize them even better than they are now. I don't mind if they all end up in the same folder, as long as I can organize the tables into control panels.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for your reply!
    Wanda

  4. #4
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    robert adler
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Wanda:
    I am confused. Are you running on a stand alone PC or on a network. If you are currently attached to a network copy your Alpha files to the network now. create a Volume or Folder unique to yourself. then copy your Alpha folders to the network.

    I gather your PC is being replaced. then a5 will be reinstalled on the new pc. You will have to create pointers to the network drive.

    I hope this helps

    bob adler

  5. #5
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Wanda,

    You write, "My data files are in seperate folders - but if it doesn't complicate things, I would like to organize them even better than they are now. I don't mind if they all end up in the same folder, as long as I can organize the tables into control panels."

    Do you mean each data file is in its own folder or do you mean all of an application's data files are in one separate folder?

    Here's the problem: If all an application's data is in a single folder, then the application does not have to remember which folder it is. Therefore, you can move or rename it. If they are spread out among different folders then if you ever move or rename those folders or move a file from one of them to another the application won't find them and you will have problems.

    Is "S" a network drive?

    Bill

  6. #6
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Yes, Bob, I have a stand-alone pc for the Alpha files, becaue no one else uses them except me. However, our computers are networked, but that should have nothing to do with the Alpha files.

    What I don't know how to do is to "create pointers", as you suggest. What exactly does that mean? My fear is based on comments that I have seen on this board, such as the one William makes in the post following yours.

    William, not all of my applications are in the same folder. I have like applications in a folder - for instance - all my tables relative to student attendance is in one folder, all my demographic type of data is in another folder, all of my school enrollment tables are in yet another folder, etc.

    How can I move the files into different folders on a different drive WITHOUT encountering the elusive "problems" you mention?

    Thanks, again!
    Wanda

  7. #7
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Wanda:

    To summarize my understanding of your situation:
    -you have tables grouped in folders by subject;
    -one or more applications use tables from multiple folders.

    If so, problems will not be elusive. They will find you for sure.

    However, I still do not know where the other application files are.
    For example, each application has an applicationname.adb file. Where are those. In the folders along with the tables? Somewhere else?

    I am sorry to ask so many questions but although I know where you want to wind up, advising you how to get there requires that I know the details of the present situation.

    Bill

  8. #8
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    It's still not clear exactly what you have.

    The rule is:
    The A5 program should go in a folder all by itself -- then ---
    All data and application files for any one application should be in one folder.

    An application consists of:
    - The application files themselves. (.alb, .alm, .alx, .adb)
    - All data files for that application. (.dbf, .cdx, .fpt)
    - All data dictionary files for that application. (.ddd, .ddm, .ddx)
    - All set files (these are really special data dictionaries) (.set, .set, .sex)

    This means:
    - If you have a 'second application' (.alb, .alm, .alx, .adb) that uses the same data, that second application can also be in the same folder (keep it with the data!). (OK, it's rare but there are few situations were you might want a second application using the same data.)
    - If you have another application using different data, put it (the application and the data) in a separate folder. (This isn't absolutely necessary but it is highly recommended for those who prefer to remain outside the looney ward.)

    To avoid problems, follow these rules:
    - Do not put any user applications or data in the main A5 program folder. (In fact, it is best to not even put it in a subfolder of the A5 program.)
    - Never, never, never use multiple folders for the data belonging to any one application.

    One application - One folder!

    If you followed these rules, moving an application is as simple as just moving or copying the whole folder to the new location. (For the nit pickers out there, you can either move/copy the folder with the files or just move all the files to a new folder.)

    Summary:
    - If all the data for application A is in folder A, you will have no trouble moving the data to another folder called B.
    - If the data for application A is currently in folders A, B, and C, you can expect problems any time you move it.

    IF you have data for one application in more than one folder, be prepared to do some work. My suggestion would be to (a) keep a backup of the old data and structure (I bet you never heard that before!), (b) copy the application, data, sets, and data dictionaries to the ONE new folder, (c) start A5, open the application and go to the control panel, (d) any tables or sets that appear to be hidden (grayed out) should be re-moved and the table in the new folder should be added, (d) start running the application to find errors that will indicate that a folder reference needs to be fixed. The most likely places to find bad folder references are in field rule lookups, scripts, and saved operations. There are probably a lot of other places as well; any place that references a table is a potential trouble spot.

    I hope this helps

  9. #9
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Thank you both so much. I have printed out your posts and will try to work again on this problem this afternoon. I have no clue how to tell Alpha where to file those "behind the scene" files, as I have never been queried as to where I want them stored. I'm an old DOS user and still detest programs assuming they know where you want to put stuff. Anyway, I'll look in athe windows files that seem to want to organize things for me, to find out where the data dictionary and set files are, and then go from there.

    I am a bit frustrated with Alpha, too, for not explaining very well how to create control panels, or how to move a table into a different "folder". Nor did Alpha explain what you explained, Cal, relative to setting up the filing structure "To avoid problems, follow these rules". I love Alpha and would use no other database program, however, so I put up with these shortcomings as best I can.

    Can either of you explain a "pointer". It seems to me that if I go to DOS and simply move my files to where I need to, that it should be that simple. Couldn't I then create the control panel and "add" the appropriate tables to it? It just seems that it should be that simple. Alpha can pratically walk on the moon - yet grapply with filing problems!

    I'll make another post when I figure out where Alpha put the data dictionary and set files.
    Thanks, again!

  10. #10
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Wanda:

    When you open the Control Panel make sure you click on the rightmost icon on the toolbar (Details) so that, as you are reviewing the tables and sets within a particular database, you can see the full path to the location of that table or set.

    To get everything organized I would
    1. Create a new folder on my existing PC - call it Apps or something like that.
    2. Make sub-folders there, one for each application
    3. Copy (don't delete the source files yet) the tables/sets files for each app into the appropriately named folder. If the files are spread out in different folders - and it sounds like this might be the case - you'll need to hunt down all the components for each app and copy them into the new folder.
    4. At this point I would open A5 and create an empty database (leave it empty) in that same folder.
    5. If there are only a few tables and sets, you can add them back quickly one at a time, using the green + on the toolbar. If there are many, that will get pretty tedious. Instead, you can open explorer, highlight all the .dbf and .set files (click on the "Type" column in Explorer to arrange them in .dbf and .set order) you want to add and then use the mouse to drag the highlighted "files" (actually just the file names) into the Tables/Sets panel of the A5 Control Panel which will add all the selected files in one go.
    6. If you have global scripts, functions, custom menus or toolbars associated with the original application, there are utilities available to help you move them from that database to the new one.
    7. If you have table lookups defined in field rules that point to tables NOT in the original application folder, you have an extra task to track down where they are located and bring them into the same folder as the app.
    8. Are you sharing lookup tables among multiple apps? If you are and you are allowing records to be entered and changed in those lookup tables, then you either have to place the multiple apps using those tables into the same sub-folder or
    9. You create a sub-folder in the Apps folder called lookups where you place your lookup tables in violation of the "everything in one folder" principle. In this situation, it's an almost defensible decision.
    10. When this is done you can use explorer to copy the Apps folder (and its sub-folders) to the new location on the network or PC.
    11. As I said at the start, do this all on copies of your application files, one application at a time until you are finished. Then test each app thoroughly.
    If you move the apps and files first, you run the risk of not being able to open the applications, sets or tables when you need to. For example, if you defined a set using tables located in different folders (you didn't do that, I hope) then you can't open the set (or anything associated with it) if a table is missing from its defined location.
    One last tip, be sure to copy all the files associated with each set (sem, set and sex), table (dbf, ddd, ddm, ddx, cdx - for indexes, fpt - for memos) and application (adb, alb, alm, alx).

    It's a tedious task to be sure but worth it in the end, though you probably won't think so while you're doing it!

    Finian

  11. #11
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    WOW - this really makes sense. Thanks, Finian. I do, apparently, have a major problem that you hoped I don't. In item #11 you state, "...if you defined a set using tables located in different folders (you didn't do that, I hope..." well, that's exactly what I did. There was no indication in any of the Alpha documentation to warn me not to do this, and I had set up my file structure in folders, adding certain tables from several of these folders to the "SET Control panel", which holds all my sets. Seemed logical at the time.

    I want to reorganize the file structure, since I'm having to move everything, anyway. But I am concerned about what several Alpha users have called "pointers". So, are you saying that if I restructure my filing system, then I will have to re-design the sets? Is there any way around this? I swear, life was much simpler before Microsoft came along - way back in the day when DOS did everything you needed it to, and the programs responded accordingly.

    Thanks, Finian for your help. Feedback to this post is appreciated, as well, if you can solve this last little piece for me.
    Wanda

  12. #12
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    >

    Yes, I'm afraid that's what you will have to do. If you have Bill Parker's documentor, it's not so painful since you can print all the info out first and work from that. In fact, for this project I'd regard the documentor as indispensable.

    Now this is established, You DEFINITELY don't want to touch your current setup until the reorganization is completed. You'll need to copy the tables into the same sub-folder as the app THEN re-define your sets. Then you can use a utility I developed (sort of crude but functional and freely available at www.learnalpha.com) to copy all the layouts, reports etc from the original sets to those in the new location(s).

    As far as "pointers" are concerned, I don't think it's terminology that has any relevance to what we are talking about. You need to concentrate on the mechanics of copying the tables into the newly created, appropriate locations, adding them to the database(s), redefining your sets, transferring the forms, browses and reports associated with the original sets and then testing your data entry to make sure that your lookups are in order. Once you have all the new databases set up in the new sub-folders then you can copy the whole thing to the new drive in one step. You will then need to change any shortcuts you have defined to point to the new locations.

    I assume that you stop all data entry/change until you complete the reorganization otherwise you will have to go though a whole process of appending data from the old tables to the new locations.

    Finian

  13. #13
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Okay. I've held myself back from whining all the way up to this point - now I can't quit. I want sympathy from the entire world! (Okay - yours is helping!)

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

    I will follow your instructions and hope for the best. I will of course ask for help along the way if I need any - although you have done a great job in explaining what I need to do - and for that I am extremely thankful.

    I do have the Documentator program - yeah! I will check out your utility at learnalpha, as well. Thanks for freely sharing your expertise!

    Wish me luck! This is almost as scarry as jumping out of an airplane - which I did twice when I was in my 20's...don't know if I could muster the courage for that again - so this is a close second...albiet a different kind of fear.

    Thanks again, Finian, William, Cal, Robert,

  14. #14
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Thanks for adding all that detail Finian. I was getting a bit tired of writing so much and got lazy at the end. (Besides, I was at work and had other things to do.)

    I had also completely forgotten about the issue of not being able to open sets. This is an important issue. I haven't had to do this often so I created a simple test case as a trial. It may not be perfect but below is how I would do it. (alt. suggestions/comments happily accepted.) Sorry but it gets a bit complex due to all the possible issues.

    NOTE: I think this 'set' issue COULD mean that changing all the files in the current location is easier than moving them first. IF you move the files to a new computer, the set may not be able to find the original files. If A5 thinks the files are missing for any reason, the set cannot be opened for editing. Because of this, my description assumes that you will change them in the current location.
    OPTION/CLARIFICATION??: If A is the server and X,Y,Z are the workstations, I THINK you could copy the files from "X" to the server and WORKING FROM "X" the system might still find the original files because drive "C" would still be on workstation "X". Unfortunately, I don't have a network at home to check it out. However, I'm sure that copying from X to the server and then working from the server, the set would be searching the wrong "C" drive for the files and would not open.

    ASSUMING YOU HAVE A GOOD BACKUP JUST IN CASE... (did I mention that before?)

    1. Make sure you have a good definition of the current set. Either use the database documenter, purchased separately, to document the set links or open the set in the edit mode and use "File/Save as" to save it to a different name to be used as reference for the set definition. NOTE: "Save as" only saves the set definition; it does not save copies of any layouts attached to the set.

    2. Copy all the required tables AND their associated files (dbf, cdx, fpt, ddd, ddm, ddx) from the various directories into the application directory.

    3. Add the relocated tables into the database (Tables/Sets tab on the control panel). You will now have 2 copies of these tables so be sure to use the Details view so you can see the full path name of the tables.

    4. Open a set in the set editor and delete all links to tables that are not in the application directory. If there are child tables below them, these links will disappear also.

    4a. IF the parent table is from outside the application directory, you will have to delete all links below the parent and then change the parent table definition. IMPORTANT: Do not delete the set - just change the parent table definition as described below.
    To change the definition, you must first remove all child links and then right click on the parent table (in the set editor) to get to the parent table's "Link Properties" form. Click the drop-down box to change the parent table name (this only works after you delete all links) and - THIS IS IMPORTANT - click on "" to select the name of the correct table in the application directory. The step is important because the correct file name will appear in the drop-down list but it will be the original one in the wrong directory.

    5. Add all the links back into the set using the correct tables from the application directory. Make sure you use the same options (linking, filter, order, ref. integrity) as the original set. (Here's where the documenter or copy of the set comes in handy.)

    6. Check each of the layouts attached to the set to be sure it is working correctly. In my test case there were no problems with the layouts but mine was a simple case.

    7. Repeat the above steps for each set.

    8. AFTER ALL SETS HAVE BEEN UPDATED:
    - copy all the files in the application folder to their new location (if not already there)
    - go to the old directories and rename the folders - at least temporarily - so that A5 will not be able to find the old files. By just renaming the folders rather than deleting files, you can always change the folder name back in case there is a problem.
    - open each set and all the layouts to check for errors.

    One last note... This took at least 10 times as long to write as it did to actually build the test set and run a test. It really isn't that complicated after you've done it once. (Maybe I could have converted your app in the time it took to write this!)

  15. #15
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Believe me, I sympathize.

    One thing you should try before resorting to defining the sets again from scratch is to copy a set from an original into a new folder. Once you delete the links to the child tables, you should be able to then change the parent table to be the same table located in your new app folder, then redefine the child relationships. This way you may (should) be able to preserve the layouts in that set and avoid at least one step in the process.

    Finian

  16. #16
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Hi Cal:

    Great minds and all that ... !!

    Finian

  17. #17
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    OK, there was some duplication in my last posting of what Finian said a couple hours earlier but then I worked on that posting off-line and had dinner as well.

    What I thought was interesting was that it posted directly. I worked off-line but still in Netscape. I then logged back on to my ISP (AOL) still without closing Netscape and then just hit the "Send" button. It posted directly without any other intervention. This was especially surprising to me because I normally have to log on with my user name and password every time I access the message board from Netscape. (If I log on to the message board directly from AOL then my A5 user name and password are not required - unfortunately, the screen isn't as easy to read.)

    Wanda, it can be time consuming but I think you will find that the "bark is worse than the bite" once you get started. At least I hope so!

    Good Luck,
    Cal

  18. #18
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    I forgot to add step 9:

    After all sets have been modified, drop the 'old' tables from the database and delete them from the computer. Of course, only delete them after you have a good backup! (If I sound like a broken record, I have two recent customers I can send you to for backup 'references'.)

  19. #19
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Cal and Finian,

    Did you guys get any sleep, lastnight?! How can I say thank you, enough? I'm hoping to get through this today, so I'll let you know. Thank you, again, very, very much for the mental effort, for taking the time, and for so freely and willingly sharing your expertise.
    Wanda

  20. #20
    MIKE LYON
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    Default RE: How to move ALL my Alpha files

    Hi folks

    I too have had this problem in the past in Ver1.3 which I assume would be similar if not the same in V4.5 (When i have
    used V4.5 more i will probrably find this not to be the case but hey anyway).

    My solution (I'll keep it short as your eyes are probrably still tired after all the other reading hehe) was to copy the
    folder/s to their destination while keeping the old ones intact.

    Then (wake up this is the important bit) I started up A5 and went into the NEW folders and changed the SETs to point towards the new path/folders. ALL THE SETS HAVE TO BE DONE AS FIRST PRIORITY SO AS NOT TO AFFECT ORIGINALS (That word BACKUP comes up again).
    A5 allowed me to edit sets from moved folders because it still had the originals in place.
    Then I changed any field rules / scripts etc to the new path.

    And yes it worked a treat.

    I hope this doesnt confuse further or indeed repeat any stuff I didnt read on the 400 page essay and helps you a bit.

    Apologys in advance and my sympathies too.

    Best Regards

    Mike Lyon

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