Attachment Handling (e.g. Images, Video & Audio). PanX suitability

I’ve been researching databases for a while now, trying to determine which application is best for my use case. I am a music teacher looking to use a database to help organize the logistics of my program, including demographics and class organization as well as retain and grade student in work in images, PDFs, video and audio.

I’ve narrowed down my choices to Filemaker and Panorama. I’m intrigued by the upcoming release of Panorama X for its programmability and speed. However, I’m concerned about how PanX will handle all I want to “throw at it” in media representing student work.

I believe Filemaker (from my remembrance using it years ago) stored “attachments” in “containers” within records. How does Panorama X handle the storage of media within records?

If PanX has to pull all the media into RAM, I would think that would be a non-starter for the amount of images, video and audio I’d be incorporating. Does it store such attachments in an app container folder on disk? If Panorama X isn’t really suited to this use case, I’m willing to accept that and move on. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

As somebody who has used both apps for years, Panorama has always been more capable of handling anything you “throw at it”.

You can store media in a folder or folders anywhere on disk and create links to the attachments.

Thanks for the quick reply. A follow up…

If I want to move the database to another computer, will the links be retained if I, for example, store all the attachments in a “PanX Attachments” folder, then move the database file and attachments folder to the new computer?

Yes. I would suggest most always storing the attachments outside of Panorama and using a relative or absolute link (your choice) to where those attachments are kept. You can at any time move the attachments and then just update the link to point to the new location.

Robert Ameeti

If PanX has to pull all the media into RAM

Definitely not – there is no point in having media in RAM. It can’t be searched, sorted, etc., so Panorama doesn’t ingest it into the database. You simply display it “in situ” from whereever it is currently stored. Only the file name and/or path are stored in RAM. This help page explains how Panorama X displays images from disk files:

Image Display

The quick take is that if the image is in the same folder as the database, or a subfolder, the database can contain a relative path (or just the name if it is the same folder). Then you can move the whole folder to another location or another computer, and everything will just keep working. No adjustments needed.

You can also use absolute paths, but of course those would have to be adjusted if things were moved to a different computer.

You can also embed a web browser in a Panorama form, which allows you to display media directly from the internet. You don’t even have to load the media onto the local computer. Here’s the help page.

Web Browser Object

Over the years there have been quite a few people & organizations that have used Panorama for various types of media catalogs. I think you may find that it works great for your application!

And, if the location is to be referenced in multiple locations, put the path in a variable right from the start - that way you need change it only once.

FWIW, I usually store my linked docs on the server so they rarely need to be moved.

I haven’t decided yet which database app to purchase yet, but can I just take a moment to express a couple things I’m impressed by?

  • The civility of this forum and the responsiveness of its participants, as well as the technical organization of the forum site.
  • An admin, and as I understand it, the founder or owner of the company, took the time to give a timely, detailed and helpful answer.
  • The tutorials (i.e. Image Display and others) are very carefully done, very detailed, vast in scope and number, and accessible even to a newbie to Panorama like myself.
  • The intuitiveness of the programming language.

I appreciate the ease of handling media in Panorama X by simply storing the media in a folder with the database file and referencing the files with simple formulas based on paths relative to the database file.

As I decide on the most appropriate app, one other concern I have is how Panorama deals with relational data. I realize this is a different topic so I’ll search that separately and create a thread if necessary.

Thanks so much for all of your patience with a newcomer.

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Pan has always been able to do anything a traditional relational DB can do, but faster, easier and with much smaller files. The fact that all data resides in RAM obviates the need for separate indexes. Others with more technical savvy than I may be able to offer more complete answers, but I’ve been using Pan in relational ways for decades.

Bill Conable

Thank you for your kind comments :slight_smile:

That’s especially encouraging because I feel that the current state of the Panorama X documentation is far from being accessible to a newbie. A big part of the ongoing work right now is focused toward making Panorama X more approachable for someone starting out, but I’m glad to get validation that we are already in the right direction.

Jim Rea
President, ProVUE Development

I am also a music teacher and have used Pano for many, many years. I have used it to tabulate state music competitions and daily in my classroom teaching. We use it to administrate all phases of the choir, including music libraries, uniforms, grades, accounts and web page production.

The software has always been stable and the learning curve was easy with the use of the many training materials and even videos. I am not a trained computer person but with the help of the company and its many very kind users, I have found this software to be a wonderful companion that I would gladly recommend for your application.

While I am still a Pano 6 user, I am interested in the new version and hope that it will grow into software that is as easy to learn. My hope is that the new version will allow non-trained users to participate as robustly as we have in the past.

It is a good company and software tool. I think it is a good investment and you are correct, the people are very kind and willing to help without judging for a lack of formal knowledge. I will always be appreciative of their generosity.

I’m late to the conversation, but I think it’s worth saying that my primary use of Panorama for many years was in an application for cataloguing photographs. It was used by professional photographers worldwide and only saw its demise when Adobe Lightroom became my primary competition.

It was very efficient to simply note the location of images and display them on demand. It prevented unnecessarily swelling database size and made it possible for a single record to refer to several iterations of an image; various sizes, formats, edited versus unedited…

Panorama allowed my app to copy images from a source in one or a few sizes and note their locations. It could create a new folder of selected images to be sent off for review, converting from JPEG to TIFF in the process.

It also handled reading and writing meta data. All done by Panorama with incredibly compact and fast databases.

Handling PDF, audio or video files can cover much of the same ground.

More recently I’ve been able to use Panorama to generate reports that are saved as PDFs, saved as password protected Zip files and emailed as attachments without any intervention aside from triggering the events. That too can be automated to happen when specified events or conditions occur.

I was once at a FileMaker seminar as a truly interested database user wanting to be sure I was using the best tool for my purposes. I had several questions as the seminar went along as to whether this or that could be done. With surprising frequency, what I considered to be simple enough tasks weren’t among the things it could do. After a bit I was approached and asked to leave. My questions were sincere, but they thought I was there to be a trouble maker.

I just bought Panorama X yesterday. I am impressed with how “approachable” the product is.

The Forum is wonderful and finding stuff in it is not difficult.

However, searching the Help in the product is proving frustrating. I want to figure out how to print out labels that include a PNG image. When I select Panorama Help and tell it to search ALL, it comes up with nothing helpful when I type in words like Images, Graphics, Photos.

Similarly, I want to connect data from 2 databases. Help searches on Relational, Second Database find nothing.

Love the product so far. just want to help you to figure out how to make it more approachable. I am a refugee from Filemaker. So far, Panorama is much easier to use. The product itself is approachable. Just need some improvements to Help. But at least you have the Forum.


Hi Nick, welcome aboard. The Help file is sometimes intimidating in as much as it contains thousands of entries for all the various statements, functions, objects and general how-to info. First off if your search is fruitless you can turn on the Full Text Search option underneath the search entry box. If this is not turned on you will only be searching the actual titles of the entries and not the contents. Entering “relation” with that option turned on will result in a number of hits including the Linking with Another Database entry which covers the area you were interested in understanding. Similarly entering “images” returns a boat load of entries that may answer your questions.

Of course, if all else fails, we are all here to lend a hand. There are several folks monitoring this forum with expertise in the various areas that are only too willing to give direction and advice.

:+1: thanks. a subtlety I had missed.

If you want to include a fixed PNG image, like a logo, you can just drag the image from the Finder onto the Panorama form.

If you need an image that changes on different labels, that is more complicated but definitely possible.

Either way, you place the object on a report tile.

Unfortunately, the Panorama X documentation for report tiles is a bit thin so far. Most of the information in Chapter 21 of the Panorama 6 Handbook is still accurate, you may want to look at that as well.

Below are screen shots from documentation I wrote for a Panorama based product, on working with labels in Panorama.

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