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Thread: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

  1. #1
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Finian Lennon
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    Default New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Here we go again. Another version of utilities to copy any database object from one location to another. In spite of "Copy to" which I use occasionally, I keep coming back to these utilities when I need to pull old scripts or functions from backups or move forms or browses from one database version to another. Or to delete a whole bunch of whatever ......

    Previous versions of the utilities used tables to display and manipulate the database objects. This was unwieldy and made installing or moving the utilities, from one database to another, a real pain. That is no longer the case. The same functionality is now contained in an aex file and is therefore available in any Alpha application on that machine.

    This version is also easier to use, in that your file history is saved within and between sessions, so there is less tedious hunting in the file dialog.

    There are now just two options (1) Replace/copy and (2) Delete. These are the only options I ever use myself, so I got rid of the others.

    At the A5 Control Panel, Click Tools, Addin Manager. This will create the Addins_Installed and Addins_Disabled folders if they haven't already been created.

    Copy the utils.aex file into the Addins_Installed folder in the Program Folder you are working with. I have not tested the utilities under Vista but there shouldn't be a problem with Vista-compatible versions of A5.

    To activate the utilities, type

    UtilsObj()

    in the interactive window, or enter that line into a script that can be run from the code editor or elsewhere..

    I have tested this version with both A5V5 and A5V9. There doesn't seem to be any reason it shouldn't work in any version in between.

    I know there are people who think a tool like this is of little value. For myself, I've found that having a single place in which to do any copying/moving/deleting of objects across files and databases is very convenient. And it's now a lot easier to get the functionality than it was before.
    Finian

  2. #2
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    Bill Parker
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Nice job Finian. I have always liked the idea of this utility, but can never find it when I need it!

    The attached file can be copied to the Control_Panel_Addins folder and renamed finian.new_table. Then when you right click on the tables tab of control panel, go to Addins -> Finian's Utiltiy to start the app. Now I don't need to remember what to type in the interactive window! :)

    (Rename the file to remove ".txt". The upload manager would not allow uploading a file called finian.new_table.)

    I also enjoy suggesting work for other people, so here are a few thoughts. ;)

    When I first used it to delete an object, pressing "Execute Action" was scarry because I had not selected any objects. (Same is true for copy/replace.) That button might be named "Next" to indicate more choices to come.

    Similarly, the message box that says (in the case of delete) "Selected browses will be deleted..." is scarry since I have not selected anything. If source and destination paths could be displayed on the Select Items dialog, then the intermediate message box might not be needed. User can still cancel.

    Thanks for this.

    Bill.

  3. #3
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Hi Bill:

    Thanks for the suggestions, and also for the tip about making it available through the addins prompt. I always wondered how you did that!

    I'll be revising the prompt and error sequences some time in the next day or two.

    F
    Finian

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Finian Lennon View Post
    I'll be revising the prompt and error sequences some time in the next day or two.
    As soon as you do, I'll download a copy.

    Thanks Fin.

  5. #5
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    I've turned up some interface bugs (in the history portion) that need to be fixed so everyone should hold off on downloading until I repost.
    Finian

  6. #6
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    The revisions were more comprehensive than anticipated: the main screen is now modeless and can be rolled up or down and there are fewer pop-up screens to get in the way. Overall, the improvements are pretty significant. I think this is something with potential benefit for anyone doing development in A5.

    A detailed description of the changes as well as how to install and use this free program is included in a readme text file in the attached zip. I'm attaching pictures of the screens here also so people can get an idea of what this is all about.
    Finian

  7. #7
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    John Kukuda
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Thanks for sharing. I used the old one often and I'm sure I'll use this one even more because its so handy.

  8. #8
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    brett sinclair
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Nice job Finian. Many thanks. I'll use this.

    Just a tip for others who may fall into the same trap. 8-) I have attached a screen shot of the resulting menu you should get if everything has been installed correctly. This menu appears when you right click anywhere on the white background of the control panel with the Tables/Sets tab selected - not the Tables/Sets tab itself. You can also get to it via the 'Table' Alpha5 menu item that is displayed with the control panel Tables/Set tab selected.

  9. #9
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    Gordon MacCarthy
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Hello Finian,

    Very nice utility. When I first installed it, for some unknown reason the browse windows didn't come up under the 'Select Source' and 'Select Destination' buttons. Now they do every time I load it.

    My only comments are these. Most of the object types represent operations objects. It might be a little clearer for the less informed to have a drop down menu activated from a label called 'operations' with a list of operation type objects to choose from. The way it is set up could be compared to a sentence without spaces between the words. Of course, everyone can read the words if they carefully review the lines of text... it just takes longer to figure out.

    Also, what your utility does is representative of the structure of Alpha5 internal associations. All that is pretty much Greek to those who have only a rudimentary comprehension of Alpha5 structure. My comprehension is probably better than most. However, Alpha5 development simply manipulates those associations, making what is relatively complex... simpler to handle. Nevertheless, effective manipulation requires a better understanding of those associations.

    To more effectively use your utility and learn more of what Alpha5 does with its file associations requires a kind of a map. None of the Alpha5 documentation really does that very well. The sets editor makes an attempt at mapping out the essential field associations between tables in a set. However, there are many other file types associated in the alpha5 mix that are explained individually but are not well mapped out for the Alpha5 explorer to view altogether. (Definition of Alpha5 Explorer: An explorer in Alpha5 seems to be one who is neither a developer nor an uninformed novice. They are merely trying to figure things out. We have all been there.)

    For that reason it would be really helpful if someone, such as youself, with a more intimate knowledge of the Alpha5 file structure drew a map in outline form describing what are the various files in Alpha5 and a very basic description of how they relate to one another. In that context, the functional capability of your utility would become much more self evident. Of course, this should have been done by Alpha Software but their Help files have already become outdated and lacking. That leaves it up to us to parse through our own issues. If this were not the case, you would have had no need to create this utility.

    That being said, all that remains is time and money...

    Kind regards,
    Gordon
    SCS



    Quote Originally Posted by Finian Lennon View Post
    The revisions were more comprehensive than anticipated: the main screen is now modeless and can be rolled up or down and there are fewer pop-up screens to get in the way. Overall, the improvements are pretty significant. I think this is something with potential benefit for anyone doing development in A5.

    A detailed description of the changes as well as how to install and use this free program is included in a readme text file in the attached zip. I'm attaching pictures of the screens here also so people can get an idea of what this is all about.

  10. #10
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    VERY COOL!

    Thank you Finian for making this available.

    Regards,

    Jeff

  11. #11
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    Garry M Flanigan
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Greatly appreciated!
    I used it for the first time today and it is a very easy way to move stuff around. Keep up the good work.
    Garry

  12. #12
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    Michael Payton
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    I must be an idiot...

    How do I select and copy a report layout from one database to another? When I select Report, and then attempt to select a source/destination... I am only presented with a list of *.DBFs... when/how do I indicate the specific object I want to copy.

    Really sorry I'm soooo thick...
    "all things should be as simple as possible... but no simpler"

    Mike

  13. #13
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelwpayton View Post
    Really sorry I'm soooo thick...
    Nahhh, you're not thick. You just haven't established the level of trust in Fin's work that I have. Just select your source and destination and "confirm" the "backup", and press continue and hit OK and then you will get the dialog you are seeking (see attached image). I'm grateful for Mr. Fin's generous contribution, but agree that the sequence is not completely intuitive. You "should" be able to select your report before getting the confirmation dialog w. a message at the beginning hinting at the sequence. But, hey, that's just me. But, nit-picking aside, thanks Mr. Fin!

  14. #14
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Hi Peter et al:

    Peter, thanks for the "help-out" and suggestions. It's true, there are certain aspects of the utility that are not very intuitive.

    I tend to perform a bunch of housekeeping tasks in the same series of actions and that usually entails selecting from different sources and destinations one after the other. Sometimes they will be in the same ADB location but just as often they are not. The idea has always been that you don't need to be logged into a particular ADB in order to move stuff around.

    Addressing Michael's predicament will require something like a "Use Current Database" flag which, when set, would pre-fetch the selection in the "type" box. If we had this, you would see the reports for the current ADB as soon as the "Reports" type is selected. I can see all sorts of "knock-on" consequences of this so, while it's an interesting idea I will, as they say, take it under advisement.

    I appreciate all the comments and nice words.

    Thanks
    Finian

  15. #15
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    I'm going to get this - in V8 I could copy buttons in one app - open a different one, open a form, and paste - but ti doesn't work in v9 for some reason
    Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
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  16. #16
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    Richard James
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Finian --

    I just used your utilities program (that you demo'ed at the users meeting last week) to copy three reports from one application to another. Worked perfectly. Very spiffy.

    -- Dick James

  17. #17
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Finian Lennon
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    Default Re: New Version of Database Object Copy Utilities

    Hi Dick:

    I don't know if you saw it but I posted an updated version with the "Letter" option added. It's under http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...ad.php?t=79729.
    Finian

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