[Callers] American Country Dances Online

William Watson wjw1961 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 13:56:55 PDT 2011


On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM, Dave Colestock
<contradancerdave at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I did email him and he sent me a copy of the database in Excel format, but have not perused it yet.  I did not tell him of any other interests in the database.  The email from the archived site does reach Russell.

That'd certainly be a better way to start than trying to extract the
data from a FileMakerPro file.  (shortly later) Russell also just sent
me a copy of the data, 291 dances, as reported in the archive snapshot
from 2002.

Here's what Russel told me:

RO> The current version runs on FileMaker Pro 4 (an ancient version)
using a custom Mac-specific CGI script. So the first thing required is
to change it to some other database.

RO> I think the only reasonable way to keep it going is to move to a
more modern database.

RO> I took it down because the machine got really old and we were only
using it for that one purpose and was taking up a lot of space and
energy. And because I had no time to maintain it -- add dances,
correct instructions and so on.

It looks like FileMaker4 dates from somewhere around 1997 to 1999.
(The current version is FileMaker 11.)  I can see that Russell would
have tired of supporting a database in an old software package on an
old machine.  It definitely seems like the right answer would be
migration to a standard database and scripting language, like MySQL
and PHP or Python.  Mind, the advantage of FileMaker seemed to be ease
of UI creation, and PHP would instead tie one into deep realms of
database access.

I'm due to find out more about the discussions at CDSS some time next
week.  Ideally, the ACDOL material could pour directly into a new
database, but setting one up would take some time.  Depending on what
I hear, perhaps it'd be possible and useful to get the ACDOL material
on-line in a read-only form in the mean time...  Hmmm...  Perhaps just
formatting it, and bagging the database functions could serve that
end.  With fewer than 300 entries, a page for each dance and an index
might even suffice.  That'd be a lot faster to set up than an entire
web-enabled database.

Thoughts?


Best regards,

William
wjw1961 at gmail.com
Try "williamcallscontras" instead to contact me directly.
This is my bulk mail / mailing list address.
William J. Watson



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