iData Pro 5 Datafile Formats

Two Datafile Formats

iData Pro datafile types can be identified by their file name extensions. Datafile file names end in either .id3 or .idm.

In the Datafiles menu, the .id3 extensions are omitted, but any .idm extensions will be shown.

These two file name extensions have different characteristics and, in some cases, different behaviors. Here are the details.

    1. Datafile file names ending in .id3 are in the standard format. The Freeform Text Area (FTA) of records in this format can contain multi-styled text.

       This means that the text in the FTA can have a variety of fonts, point sizes, and colors.

       In addition, the FTA can contain images. Images can be dragged or pasted into the FTA.

    2. If you have previously used iData Lite or iData Mobile, you may have some datafiles with names ending in .idm.

        The FTA of those datafiles can display only mono-styled text. In other words, only one font, one point size, and black text.

       The FTA cannot contain any images.

The .id3 datafile format was the standard format for iData 3 and iData Pro 4. It is now the standard for iData Pro 5.

When the iPhone first came out, text views (like the FTA) could contain only mono-styled text. When iData Mobile was written, it was necessary to introduce a datafile format that included a mono-styled FTA. And, in order to be able to synchronize datafiles between the iPhone and the Mac, iData 3 needed to be able to handle those datafiles, which were identified by the .idm file name extension.

Eventually, the iOS operating system added multi-styled text handling to the iPhone (and iPad). Shortly after this, iData Pro 4 was released. It was then decided to replace iData Mobile with iData Mobile Plus, which was written to be able to use .id3 datafiles.

As a result, the .idm datafile format was no longer needed. Since handling two different datafile formats adds a great deal of complexity, the use of that format is being phased out in iData Pro 5. Most functions that previously worked with both .id3 and .idm datafiles now work only with .id3 datafiles. Many menu items that are active for .id3 datafiles are now inactive for .idm datafiles.

Therefore, users who have some .idm datafiles should use the Save As iData Pro Datafile function (under the File menu) to save a copy of each .idm datafile in .id3 format. The original .idm datafiles will still exist, but it would be a good idea to move them to a different location so that they will not appear in the Datafiles menu.

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