Tag Archives: Multiline Key

Reciprocal Linkage, part 2

This is a quick follow up to last week’s article on reciprocal (bi-directional) linking, and will assume the reader is familiar with that material. Paul Jansen of APJ Computing Solutions sent in a revision of one of my files demonstrating that, among other things, the graph could be a good deal leaner (as per my stated goal of making the approach as simple and lightweight as possible), and I am sharing that file today with his permission, along with my own attempt at further simplification.

Demo Files

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Reciprocal Linkage

Challenge: in a multiuser document management system, facilitate the linking (and unlinking) of any document with any other. Make it clear which documents are linked to the current document, and make sure the approach is multiuser friendly — in other words, allow document records to be linked and unlinked even if one or both of those document records are currently being edited by another user.

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Today we have two demo files, one using standard serial numbers and one using UUIDs. Except for serials vs. UUIDs, the two files are functionally identical, and in the interest of clarity, I’m going to focus primarily on the serial number version.

Demo files: reciprocal linkage & reciprocal linkage with uuids  Continue reading

Virtual List Reporting, part 2

Welcome back for the second installment in our exploration of Virtual List Reporting (a.k.a. VLR). Demo file: VLR-part-2.zip

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To avoid repetition, this article will assume the reader is familiar with concepts and techniques introduced in part 1 (some of what follows may appear to be gibberish if the reader is not)… but to briefly recap, here are some benefits of VLR:

  • Flexible framework accommodates complex reporting challenges
  • Fast performance (we use the Multifind technique in this demo)
  • No need to tamper with schema in your data tables or on the relationships graph
  • Unlike traditional FM reports, you can easily combine data from unrelated tables (we saw this in report 6 in part 1)
  • Under certain circumstances, VLRs can be much faster to develop than traditional FM reports (as per discussion of report 3 in part 1)
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Global Multiline Key As Relational Predicate

This is a quick follow up to my previous article on using a Summary List field as a relational predicate, and transferring a found set from table A to the corresponding found set in table B across that relationship via the Go To Related Record (current record) script step.

To avoid needless repetition, I will assume the reader has read that article. As discussed in the comments section (thank you Mardi Kennedy and Jerry Salem), there is a tried and true method for going to a found set of related records that has worked since FileMaker Pro 3 was released in December 1995:

  1. Define a global text field
  2. Link this field relationally to the primary key field of another table
  3. Populate the global text field with a list of keys
  4. Go to related records (a.k.a. GTRR)

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Unique Records Revisited… again, part 1

Several recent postings on this blog have offered variations on a theme: using the new-in-13 summary list field type as the basis for a multiline relational key. The net effect is to produce a relationship that is found-set-aware. (If you aren’t familiar with summary lists, you can read about them here.)

Last week we looked at basing a value list on one of these “summary list relationships”, to facilitate counting unique values within the current found set…

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…and today we have a demo file, FM-13-Count-Unique-v1, that extends the concept to sub-summary reporting.

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Unique Records Revisited, part 2

When you consider how easily most common reporting tasks are accomplished in FileMaker Pro, the lack of a built in, clear cut method to count unique values within a given found set seems a bit surprising. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and in part 1 we looked at a method that required the found set be sorted. Well I have some good news: today’s demo (Count Unique – Three Variations, 6.4 Mb) has no sorting requirement.

Here we have a flat file (single table) of contact information. For any given found set, the primary key (ID) will of course be unique, but each of the other fields will potentially contain duplicates, and we want to be able to quickly count the unique values without having to first sort the found set.

The basic approach can be summarized in a few words: Continue reading

Filtered Relations, part 1

[I want to start out by expressing major thanks to Jason DeLooze, who graciously read an early draft of this article, and with some outside-the-box brainstorming (a specialty of his), transformed my sluggish approach into a blazing speed demon.]

Many of the relationships we define in FileMaker are predictable and mundane. A field in table A is linked to a field in table B via an equijoin (=) operator. We do it every day and we’ve done it countless times. Of course we often define more complex relationships as well: ones with multiple predicates and/or more esoteric operators than the venerable equijoin.

Even in this (FM 11) era of filtered portals, we solve many design and business logic problems relationally. However, once in a while a challenge crops up that seems like it should be solvable using the FileMaker relational model, but that frustrates our initial attempts to do so. For example, let’s look at three tables from a sales database:

On our Products list, we’d like to be able to set a date range in the header, and then see cumulative sales for each product during that period. Continue reading