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repeating fields vs. related files

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I have read many things that say that using a related file is better than using repeated fields in most cases. So I have stayed away from them (this being my first venture into the filemaker world). But now that I have been working and using the database that i have created for about 6 months, I am having a hard time understanding why the above statement is true.

My example. I have a dealer file that list all of the retail locations of our customers and I have a related contact file that holds the people that work at the retail locations and all of their contact information. The way that the relationship is connected is by the dealer number and the city of the particular store thus displaying only those who work at each location. Anyway, I have had to do a lot of work on this relationship, partly because I am a newbie at filemaker and databases (having worked on only 1 other project)and because I have had to take this company's mish mash of a database that they had before and "fix" it. But after all of this it seem like it would have been easier just to have repeating fields for the contact information. But if there is some huge downfall to this I would like to avoid it. Can someone tell me what it is?

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Here are just a few of the problems:

-More difficult reporting

-Limited to number of repetitions

-Exports more difficult

-And basically, just a poor way of working in the database realm

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But what if a worker moves from one location to another? You have to search through the repeating field, cut the contact info, paste it into the new location, then go back to the original location and move all the contacts up one repetition.

What if you decide you also want to track hours worked? You could add that to each repetition ("John Smith 202-555-1212 hours=40"), but what if you want to total the hours worked?

I could go on, as there are many reasons why related files are preferable to repeating fields. It may be that the functionality of your current database could have been achieved with repeating fields, but if you ever try to expand it, you may find that is not the case. Better to plan now for expansion later.


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