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Feasibility Question

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I am well experienced with Filemaker basics. I created a custom solution in FM 4.0. It has many databases, with only 4 or 5 being related via lookups, etc.

I am buying the book "FM 9: The Missing Manual" to study the new version - we are in the process of acquiring it.

Here's my dilemma:

We are in the freight business, we hire trucks to move freight for customers all over the US.

We have mainly 4 databases, call them Main / Customers / Carriers / Delivery. All data is coordinated via the Main database - some is entered - some is looked up from the other 3.

I am just beginning to learn about tables - but here's my problem.

Say we have a shipment - we have 1 carrier pick it up, carrier 2 picks up from carrier 1, carrier 2 drops at carrier 3, carrier 3 delivers the shipment. Let's also say there were some other incidental charges on this shipment.

That means - we basically have 4 vendors to pay on this one shipment.

In our current system (FM 4.0) we basically would create 4 separate shipments with 4 separate reference numbers.

Will this be too difficult to combine into 1 record in the new version?

Like I said, I'm getting the book, but was wondering if there was anywhere online where I could begin studying.......


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I think the structural questions would be the same in both versions, it's just easier to manage the additional tables that are needed to normalize it in versions 7 and later.

From your description and what I understand about shipping (not much), I'd suggest an additional "Shipping Segment" table to track each Shipment-Carrier leg of a package's journey. I also think you should consider the possibility of breaking an order into multiple Shipments (each Line Items would track which shipment it goes out on.)

With such a structure, an Order might be broken down into multiple Shipments, and each Shipment might have multiple Shipping Segments via different Carriers.

Attached is a basic ER diagram illustrating how such tables would be chained together.


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