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Do I need ID's???


Adam Runtime
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I'm now designing a new DB in filemaker, and automatically given every table an ID for reference. Now, do I really need it for cases where the instance of that table can be referenced by another key?? Eg a Tutor will have a unique name - and this will make user interface easier without ID as I can give the user entering data a list of names rather than ID numbers.

I was going to make drop down list from the Tutor table in the form of names taken out of the Tutor table that slot in the related ID number when chosen...

if that makes any sense!!??

Thanks for any help,

Adam.

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In the long run it's (almost) always better to use an artificial serial number than using names for the primary key. What if there is at once a tutor with the same name as an existing one? What if a tutors name changes (after marriage)?

What regards the user input: You should set up your ID field with the option of auto-entering a serial number, so the user has only to put the name in. And if you want to reference existing tutors, it is possible to construct your solution in a way, that the user never has to deal with the serial number. True, that means a bit more work for you (to make all work behind the curtains), but as said, in the long run it is well worth it.

To your example of the drop down list: If you just want to show all tutors names, you just have to set up a value list which shows the values of the tutor name field (no need for the serial number here).

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