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When to export vs link data via relationship?


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Learning as I go along while designing the information management systems for my company probably hasn't always been based on the best design possible, but figuring out the way I could make it work. But I am trying to understand good design.

I'm preparing to launch a Time Sheets database that will produce a daily time sheet for each employee with a related Time Line Item database which contains the time increments spent for each client job number as well as other overhead line items.

I want some of this data to end up in our main Client Jobs database file for any time increments which relate to a client job number.

Concerns: I have Graphic Artists and Designers who need to run memory intensive graphics programs and who will only use FileMaker for the function of creating their time sheets and thus I want to minimize the memory used for this function and the number of related files that will open on their machines when the Time Sheets and Time Line Items databases are launched. If I relate the Time databases to the Client Jobs database so that the data automatically feeds into it, this will require that the additional Client Jobs database file is open on thier machines. I've also considered using lookups from the Client Jobs database for job number fields, but again this will open that additional file using up memory.

Is this an appropriate situation to set up some sort of daily export of the data rather than the relate files scenario?

Should these individuals be set up to access the Time Sheets database from the web instead?

I haven't used any exporting between FileMaker database; only importing data from Excel to move from Excel to FileMaker solutions, so I would need to learn that.

BTW: We have a dedicated machine with FMServer hosting these files. Any input on the best approach is appreciated. tongue.gif


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Jana, would it be a solution using a web-based application?

If you use Opera as the frontend (which is know as the "fastest browser on earth") it would not consume much memory....

afaik you may tailor Opera to suit to your needs (without all that fancy stuff) and design it to use only the port and adress of the fm-webserver.

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It seems to me that this kind of thing lends itself to "batch" type operations, ie., run an operation that totals the hours for yesterday (or earlier) at start up or something. It's not too hard to check if a day has been done, as there are only 365 of them in any given year. Check using either a Find or a multi-line key and relationship.

I don't think you really need to worry too much about FileMaker using such a lot of memory. It just doesn't use that much, compared to RAM-based graphics programs. A little time sheet file, which is almost never actually doing anything, shouldn't be a big deal. It may be reading the Client name via a relationship, loading that into memory. But that can't be much. It only reads in what it needs for display on the current layout (actually probably a bit more, but still not much).

You could optionally delete the entries in the little time files, after you're sure they've been summarized to the higher up file; ie., keep it small. You may however want to keep them.

I have a little time file of my own. It sets the start time when I hit a Start button. It sets the end time when I hit the Stop button. It doesn't do a thing otherwise. As long as the buttons are clear, or, really primitive, just set time into the fields manually (Cmd wink.gif.

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Thanks Fenton,

Can you explain "batch" operation a little further. This is my first time designing trying to manage so many relational databases and the information for so many aspects of the company. Are your referring to an Export of the data from the previous day at startup to another file?

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What I meant was an import of the total day's times into another file up the relational chain, which has similar fields, except it has only 1 entry per day rather than several. In my own time-tracking file I may have several entries per day, because I start new entries whenever I switch to either another client, or even to another task for the same client, so I can better itemize my time.

I don't really know that you'd gain a whole lot by this process. It depends on whether you have a lot of repetitive entries. Probably when looking down from the Client level, you don't really need or want to see all the gory details. You can gain a whole lot of speed, hence save processing power, but setting an unstored Sum (relationship::number field) into a regular number field.

This is all entirely optional though. It requires careful scripting so that every day: 1. It happens, and 2. It only happens once. It would mostly affect the speed of the files highest in the chain anyway, not those at the end.

Since the TimeCard files are at the bottom of the chain, I just don't really see a problem with having them open. Unless these graphic guys are crashing and restarting their machines. In any case you are running FileMaker Server, which will protect the database files from client crashes.

There really is no problem. FileMaker does not use big chunks of memory like graphics apps do.

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I agree... Fenton is apsolutely right...

FM doesn't take so much Ram.

There is a confusion With Ram and Graphic design applications...

For example Photoshop

Lets say You have a 15x15 cm 300dpi Image

When you open it the scratch Size goes to 96 Mb

and then add for every move you make 10-15Mb (History)

after 15 Layers and 50 movements the scratch size will be about 270-350 ram

For 20 x 29 cm Image the scratch size will be about 700 - 800 ram

Wow ....now tell me where is your ram..:

The 5 open files in Fm pro = 1 photoshop undo ....hahahahaha

If you want performance for your photoshop work try a raid 0 array (Scsi) with 4 HD and you G4 will open a 150 Mb Image 4 times faster than A G5 new machine.

Even if you have 1Gb Ram and Photoshop runs with 800Mb ram , when the ram is full, photoshop write every move you make plus one undo into your slow hard Disk..(very very

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