FileMaker Extra: Indexing in FileMaker Pro 7
One of the more impactive changes in FileMaker Pro 7 revolves around indexing. In prior versions, indexing was restricted to 60 characters total, broken into blocks of up to 20- character words. Relationships had to be built around match fields, or keys, that were relatively short and generally non-descriptive. This is one of the reasons why we generally advocate using simple serial numbers for indexing purposes. It's rare that you'd need more than 20 digits to serialize the records in a data table.
In this new version of FileMaker Pro, words can be indexed up to approximately 100 characters. Text fields can be indexed to a total of 800 characters and numbers can be indexed up to 400 digits. The limits to indexing have been effectively removed.
What this means to developers is that we can now use far more complex concatenated key combinations (ironically there will be less of that in FileMaker 7, given that data can be related in multiple table depths), longer alphanumeric keys, or as we suggested earlier, introduce a descriptive elements to keys.
In the past, FileMaker Pro would identify "Special_Edition_Using FileMaker_7" (32 characters) as identical to "Special_Edition_Using_MS_Access"...clearly a terrible association to get confused. It's now possible to match against paragraphs of text or very large numbers. Determining matches will be more exact and finds and sorts more robust.