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Converting TPS files to SQL

Many people are still converting their Clarion for Windows applications from using the old Topspeed file format (.TPS) to various versions of SQL. We first undertook this process with a client in the year 2001! We had a lot on our plates back then with “Year 2000” concerns about the world coming to an end when all dates in the format dd/mm/yy would suddenly become 01/01/00 – fortunately the fix for Clarion programs was very simple and life continued. Then, in Australia, we had the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). We were on a roll, so why not convert our Clarion applications to use SQL at the same time!

As usual, there is an easy way and the not-so-easy way and, as usual with Clarion, the easy way was to write a template that would handle most of the conversion processes for us. Thus, the GWBSQL template was born to convert Clarion dictionaries and data to use SQL. We were working with MSSQL, Interbase/Firefox and PervasiveSQL databases back then, so the template handles all of these versions of SQL.

This template is useful for converting small and large databases, and can handle small and large Clarion Dictionaries. The dictionary we were converting was largish, but our conversion was complicated by the fact that our TPS files were becoming corrupted due to a bad batch of NICs that were around at that time – although we didn’t discover that until shortly afterwards. So our conversion needed to be a rushed job on a live database handling over 1000 order a day in a busy shop.

To help minimize disruption to the business we agreed to do a file-by-file conversion of the data – something we’d still consider doing today, and is easy enough to do with Clarion for Windows which can easily cope with multiple file formats. It’s important though to consider which files to convert first, and pay particular attention to files in parent-child relationships. The GWBSQL template was designed to help with this process.

If you’re undertaking a conversion of data from TPS to SQL you might find the templates useful as a tool to handle the whole job, or as a learning tool to prepare you for some of the issues you’ll face in making the conversion.

If you’re uncomfortable, or completely at sea when attempting the conversion, our services are available to help you. We can generate your database and data conversion scripts for you as a good means to get you started. We can also investigate your application and advise you of the best strategy for taking full advantage of the extra power SQL databases can offer you.

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