BaseElements removed characters in my DDR!

The FileMaker Database Design Report ( DDR ) is a report on what is inside your FileMaker solution, generated as XML.  Sometimes though, there are characters in the file itself that come out in the DDR as invalid XML.  These are often layout characters or other text pasted from outside sources.

The DDR process should be converting these to valid XML, but it doesn't always do this accurately.

What is BaseElements doing?

The BaseElements import process in 5.0.0 and later removes these characters from the DDR to enable it to process the import.

The characters themselves are not critical to the operation of your solution or to analysing the DDR in all the cases we've seen.  They are usually in text on layout objects, or formatting options like currency symbols.

By removing them we can allow BaseElements to process them when they otherwise wouldn't import, and a HTML DDR doesn't work at all.

Why is BaseElements reporting a count of changed characters now?

In BaseElements version 5.0.6 and later, with the 3.3.4 version of the plugin, we changed the process slightly to report the count of removed characters.

We did this so that you have an idea of what was happening, instead of just silently removing them from the DDR.  This way you can locate and repair them if needs be.

Are you changing my FileMaker file?

No, your FileMaker is not affected, just the DDR that is imported into BE.

Is this a problem, will it break my solution having them there?

No, we've not seen issues that are caused by these characters.  But you may have strange issues copying and pasting them as the clipboard process also uses XML and so will also be invalid.  They just won't paste properly.

It's more that there is unexpected low ascii text characters in text somewhere, that are probably not what you're expecting.  It would be best for the text to be cleaned up in order to know exactly how your solution will behave.

How do I locate the characters in question?

This is tricky.  You can't use XML tools to process the file as it's invalid XML and so that won't work.

You need to run a validity checker in an XML aware app, like TextMate, BBEdit or OxygenXML.  Then you need to understand how to find the location given the XML structure of the file.

If you'd like us to locate characters in a file of your own, please contact us with a support request.

 

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