Let's take a few minutes to compare and contrast the three methods for preserving Found Sets. Those methods would be Serial Numbers, Find Criteria and the Snapshot Link. There are two other methods that we covered: the New Window method and the Table Occurrence method, but they're not really related. They're more for temporary saving of Found Sets whereas these are more for permanent saving of Found Sets and we want to analyze these so you really know when to use one over the other. It all depends on how they react, what kind of things they add to the whole FileMaker solution, you know, what kind of clutter do they put in there; what do they actually do when they preserve that Found Set. There's all kinds of things you have to consider when you're looking at these and we want to analyze those advantages and disadvantages. So let's start with what records are restored. The Serial number method remembers original set of records. It takes a picture and I'd like to use the word snapshot but I don't want to get you confused with the Snapshot Link method. It just remembers that found set, so if you delete a record that's about the only way to change that found set. If you edit a record so it no longer belongs to the original Find Criteria it will still find it with the Serial number method and maybe that's what you want. On the other hand, the Find Criteria method remembers the actual criteria to locate the records, so if you add a record or edit a record it may be included in that found set. It may evolve over time and, again, you may want that and you may not want that. You may only want to remember the exact found set at that moment in time, or you may want to remember what the Find Criteria is. Now, the Snapshot Link method remembers a lot more and much more easily. It remembers the layout, the mode, the sort order, the found set, and the current record, so it remembers a lot more than these techniques. You can actually modify the Serial number technique to remember the current record by storing two values, the multikey plus the single serial number for the current record and do two Go to Related Records; the first one with that option to restore the found set to find the records and then the second Go to Related Record, on a second relationship without that option, but you know, that's kind of a lot more work to do and you may find out that the Snapshot is much easier and, maybe you want to remember the mode, maybe you want to remember the sort, and you really can't do that with any of these techniques here. Let's talk about the Dynamic nature of all these. The Serial number method can't dynamically restore records across multiple tables. It can, but it's not really dynamic. You're going to require at least one layout per table, possibly two layouts per table and a relationship for each table. So that's a lot of clutter that goes into your database. Plus, your script is going to have to be different, too, for each one. You can try to put it all into one script but there's going to have to be different things, you know, go to this layout, go to that layout. It's all kinds of different things that go into that and so it doesn't really lend itself well to being dynamic which is why we didn't program it for more than one table. We only did it for the INVOICE table. On the other hand, the Find Criteria method works fairly effortlessly across all tables with just the existing relationships and layouts. So that's the nice thing about it. It's very easy to make it work on a whole bunch of tables. Now, the Snapshot Link is dynamic without any programming. That's because it stores all that data in an XML file, that small little XML file that gets made, that keeps all that information, so it knows what table automatically that it goes along with, so it's the most dynamic of any of these. So, it's a pretty good solution, but we'll get into some disadvantages of the Snapshot Link for sure. Let's talk about Speed because speed is a very important factor. The Serial number method can be fairly slow with large found sets compared to, when you use the Find Criteria method, which is lightning fast no matter what the found set because it just remembers what the Find Criteria is. It does get more complex if you're using new requests and omits and things like that, you have to add onto the script because right now what we've done only does one request. But it'll do any field on there and that's no problem. That's most finds in general. The Serial number method remembers that found set so you don't have to worry about what was the Find Criteria and how to store that. Now, the Snapshot Link is also very fast no matter what the found set size, so it's definitely a plus on the Snapshot Link side. Let's talk about Complexity. The Serial number method is fairly easy to implement. If you know how to loop through records you can pretty much do it. You know, you do have to know what a Multikey is in a relationship, but you know, a Multikey is something that everybody should know when they're doing relationships in FileMaker. On the other hand, the Find Criteria method requires a complicated calculation. Sure, once you get it done it's done and you can take it and Copy and Paste it from one solution to another, but it is a little more complicated and if you need to modify it in some way it can be more complicated to do that. The Serial numbers method would be much easier to modify. And the Snapshot Link is also fairly easy to implement. It's really, really to make it just a plain old manual Snapshot Link but to put it onto, into the Documents folder or somewhere else, you have to know a little bit about how Variables work and things like that and it's probably on the same level of complexity as Serial numbers. Let's talk about Table Occurrences and Relationships. We're going to go back to this. The Serial number method requires several table occurrences and several relationships depending on how many tables you implement it across and layouts to go along with all those table occurrences relationships. That's a lot of clutter. The Find Criteria method only needs a script. It is a complicated script but all it needs is a script and it's going to be dynamic across everything, so that's nice. Now the Snapshot only needs a script but it does require FileMaker 11. It also saves those. fpsl files on the hard drive, wherever you decide to put them, I put them in the Documents folder and when they're there they're only accessible to the local user and they could be deleted unwittingly, so they could just delete them not even knowing what they are. So, that's a tough thing to decide on which method, but certainly I think the loser in this one is the Serial number method because of all that extra clutter inside the FileMaker database. So, what's the result? Well, the decision really comes down to whether you want the original set of records, that would be with the Serial number method, or to recreate the Find Criteria. Now the Snapshot Link is more like the Serial number method where it remembers the original set of records not the Find Criteria, so you really have to decide which do I want. That's your major pivot point. If you don't really care there's a possibility that you may be able to go one path or the other, but just remember that that's the main difference. One, the Snapshot Link or the Serial number method just remembers that record, that they're both snapshots, or pictures. But the Find Criteria method actually remembers that Find Criteria so it can evolve as the database gets older. But you always want to remember the other methods. There's the New Window method and the Table Occurrence method. They're more temporary but that may be all you need. Rather than going to one of these more complex methods the New Window method is really easy and very quick for temporary saves. If you just need to preserve that found set because you're going to loop through records or do something to, you know, to change that found set, opening up a New Window and then closing it is so easy to do. And the Table Occurrence method is actually pretty easy to do. It does require layouts and relationships, but it's fairly easy to implement and it saves found set for longer than New Window, although you could keep the New Window open. It will save that found set as long as that file's open, that session is available. So, it'll do it for a longer time typically than the New Window. So, both are temporary. You really have to compare all five of these techniques and decide what you're really going to do. And as you get better at this you'll be able to do it, you know, in a second. You'll, you know, think inside your head, OK, you'll go down this fork in the road, down that fork and you'll have two decisions on two different methods - OK, I want to go that - you'll be able to do it very quickly. Just have to have practice with all these methods in order to make those decisions.
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