Comparison of BaseElements with the HTML DDR
FileMaker Pro Advanced includes an HTML version of the Database Design Report which outputs a useful list of lots of detail about a solution.
The HTML report is based on the XML data that can also be generated, but the HTML is created on demand from the XML.
The HTML report is a good first step, and sometimes a useful way to quickly get at information about your solution.
You do need to be aware though that this report is not complete and you probably shouldn't use it for serious analysis of a solution, especially in a multiple file solution. Most of the detail about items is included, but links between multiple files are not. So scripts that call scripts in other files are not linked in both ways, only as an outgoing link. So you can be looking at a script and and not know that it is called by other scripts.
This limitation is in all areas though, not just scripts. So be careful if you use the HTML DDR in a multiple file solution.
Obviously there are some big differences between a HTML report and the FileMaker file that BaseElements uses. Firstly there isn't the multiple file limitation that the HTML DDR has, you can see links between every element in your solution across as many files as there are.
The big benefit of BaseElements is in it's search-ability and link-ability. You can search within every calculation for a certain text, then link from the found set to every object that uses that text, and from there to a list of layouts. Everything in BaseElements has those links available. And you can open as many windows with list, detail or table views as you want. So you have a lot of flexility in your use of BaseElements so you can get the best out of your solution.
The nature of BaseElements to be very much like a FileMaker database is deliberate, you can take advantage of all the finding, lists, windows and forms to get all of the information you need about your solution.
BaseElements includes a lot of additional features that the HTML DDR doesn't analyse and won't tell you about, plus extra options for reporting. Some examples :
- Unreferenced elements
- Comparison Report
- Consolidation Report
- plus lots more...
BaseElements is being added to and enhanced with each version, so there will always be lots of reasons to use it that help you develop your best solutions.