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Always Make a Backup When Performing FastForms Customizations

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been using FastForms for years and I have one basic rule that I never, ever break. I never make changes in FastForms with users in the system. M2M says you are safe to do so, but painful experience has shown me that this is unwise.

The problem is that the program, and it’s underlying database system (Visual FoxPro), are simply too unstable. Once you have a problem with it, you’re forced to take drastic measures to fix it. I’ll explain in a future article how to completely remove a botched FastForms customization.

Well, I also have an unwritten rule that I’ve always followed when performing FastForms customizations, and that is to make a backup of the entire Util Folder when I do so. Now, I know that technically I only need to make a backup of FormXMaster and FormXItems, but it is simply easier to make a copy of the entire folder. In most installations the Util folder shouldn’t be 100MB anyway.

Why dedicate an entire post on this topic? Well, it’s simple. FastForms’ bugginess burned me earlier this week, and I had not followed my unwritten rule. Further, because a problem occured with my backup server, I had to get the Util directory directly from tape. This takes a considerable amount of time, and I could have avoided that by taking 5 seconds to copy the Util directory. Luckily however, I had followed rule number one and performed this customization after hours. Otherwise, my M2M would have been down for nearly an hour while I scrambled to fix the problem.

So, learn from my mistakes. Whenever you are customizing FastForms, VBA, VFP Reports, etc make a copy of them before editing. It’ll save you time and headaches in the process.

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1 comment to Always Make a Backup When Performing FastForms Customizations

  • JudyG

    Great rules to follow, BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP and NEVER make changes to FastForms while users are in the system. It will come back to haunt you.

    Another suggestion, if you’ve created extension tables, which are in SQL — make a BACKUP of them, as well…. painful experience….

    Good Luck Everyone!!

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