Tips for Improving Performance Over WAN | A Filemaker Miscellany

Tips for Improving Performance Over WAN

Posted: June 11, 2013 | Author: Dave | Filed under: Performance, Technique explanations | Tags: auto-enter calc, calc field, Execute SQL, Filemaker, find, sorting, techniques, tips |1 Comment »

I recently posted a cry for help on the Filemaker TechNet, and received a load of helpful responses about how to improve a solution’s performance over a WAN (wide area network, i.e. via the internet, rather than local).

The full thread is here (login required), but these are the main points offered by the ever-helpful TechNet people, especially Taylor Sharpe, Joshua Ormond, David Jondreau and Mike Mitchell:

Unstored calculation fields

This seems to be the biggest issue in some circumstances.

The bad news about unstored calcs.  If a calc has to reference other records (e.g. aggregate fields, such as sum, min, ave, etc.), then all the records that contribute to the calc have to be downloaded and cached.  Aggregating data or referencing a lot of related data inevitably impairs performance, and this becomes especially noticeable in a WAN setup, and even more so when the unstored calcs are used in a Find or a Sort.  And EVEN more so when unstored calcs are used to aggregate data from other unstored calcs in related records – e.g. Sum ( { insert unstored calc here } ).

The good news.  It would be unfair on the humble unstored calc to say simply that “unstored calcs are bad” – obviously they’re a brilliant, and essential, feature of FM.  And if an unstored calculation references a global variable, for example, the evaluation occurs instantly.  And unstored calcs only evaluate when they are accessed (displayed, referenced by another calc, sorted on, etc.).

Where unstored calcs are causing performance issues, Joshua Ormond came up with these alternatives:

When you need agrregates of related data (count, sum, etc.), use a static field, which can be indexed.  This field is updated when records are added, deleted, or amended.  Joshua calls this a “transaction model”.

Execute SQL can also help. (This really does seem to becoming the FM Developer’s new best friend…)

More…  Tips for Improving Performance Over WAN | A Filemaker Miscellany.

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