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Can FileMaker do this? (complex structure)


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-I want to design a layout to display a 3x3 grid of cells, each cell representing a position in a storage box for sewing buttons.

-Each record will contain 9 fields, one for each cell of the storage box plus a field indicating box number.

-Assume I have the contents of 10 button boxes entered into 10 records.

-How do I search for all "blue" buttons and display for each hit, the corresponding cell contents, grid position, and box number in a spreadsheet-style layout?

Alteratively, how could I do the same thing using a unique record for each cell and still easily display the box view showing its contents and easily print a catalog of the 10 box views?

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Filemaker is not really set up for spreadsheet type layouts like you describe. If you want your layout to have a 3x3 grid, you have no choice but to keep all grid positions for one box all in one record. To search for a specific color, set up a global field to contain the search criteria. Then use a script to sequentially search the cells for the value stored in the global. After each search you can use the Status(CurrentFoundCount) to tell if any records were found so that you can set some result field. Then continue on and do the search on the next cell. Keep doing it until you've done all nine.

Obviously, this solution won't scale very well. So, I hope this isn't a test run for a much bigger (100 x 100?) problem.

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FMP can manage the data wrangling, its limitations will be in displaying the data in a 10x10 cell layout. This is because FMP (perhaps other dbs) assumes 1 row per record. FMP can generate a multiple-colums layout but it only appears in Preveiw mode, limiting its usefulness.

Now I believe there are plugins that allow an "image map" functionality, so you could generate the 10x10 layout, convert it into an image, display the image in a container field and then use the plugin to work out which cell was clicked on.

I have never implemented something like this, not used the plugin. But it could be done I guess.

Don't be too disappointed with FMP -- for a couple of hundred bucks waddya expect? wink.gif

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Don't count FileMaker out too soon. Actually, it can be done. I use a method for a biotech client involved in genome research. They keep samples in both 96 well and 384 well microtiter plates (biological sample holders). Each plate can have up to 384 samples with a row and column location. They wanted a pictorial presentation of each plate AND needed to rerack samples from lot to lot (plate to plate) after processing. All the display, racking and reracking, and record lock to prevent two users from working on the same rerack was accomplished in FM. Pretty complex with 100's of scripts, many with several hundred steps, but all FM. I'm guessing the freezer application is somthing similar (40,000 sides of beef or chickens would be a lot! wink.gif).

The trick is to use two files, one for the container and one to hold information about the contents of a compartment. If your container has 10 compartments, you will need 10 relationships between the "Container" file and the "Compartment" file. Searches for "blue buttons" are performed in the "Ccmpartment" file. The compound index between the files is based upon Container/Compartment. The indices would be built as follows:

In the container file the container number is CONT#. The compartment file records have both a CONT# and a COMP# (from 1 to 10).

First in the compartment file:

INDEX (calculation, text, ASCII) =

CONT# & "-" & COMP#

Then the 10 indices in the container file are:

INDEX1 (calculation, text, ASCII) = CONT# & "-1"

INDEX2 (calculation, text, ASCII) = CONT# & "-2"

.

.

.

INDEX10 (calculation, text, ASCII) = CONT# & "-10"

Really not that hard. -bd

[This message has been edited by LiveOak (edited February 27, 2001).]

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Well, I did want to scale this procedure a bit - my actual application is a freezer inventory system with grids up to 10 x 10. I would need to be able to search for a particular "button" in up to 40,000 cells per freezer. I must admit I am disappointed that FileMaker is apparently not up to the task.

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It sounds like the microtiter plate representation that you coded and the tasks associated with it are very similar to what I want to do. It appears a bit daunting - those 100's of scripts. I don't have a clear idea yet of how your solution works, and I am not sure if what you wrote is all here (says edited) but I will try to play around with the examples your provided and see if I can get it to work on a small scale. Thanks for the pointers - I was hoping that this wasn't impossible with FM.

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