3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 7, 2011 11:58 AM by philmodjunk

    How to dynamically Link 2 or more Databases to reuse a table



      How to dynamically Link 2 or more Databases to reuse a table


      Hi everyone,

      I have been spending a lot of time, trying to figure out filemaker starting with the starter solutions.  They seems good, but I've run into a few problems.  The main thing is how to link two databases together.  More specifically, how do I link the "Contact Management starter solution Database" with the Customer Table in the "Invoice Starter Solution".  If I had already typed in 100 contacts in my contact management, how can I have them linked to the customer table in the starter solution so that they update with each other dynamically.  I know it's possible to IMPORT the Contacts into the Customer table, but the problem is if I were to add new customers or contacts a few days later, they would not be dynamically updated, and I would manually have to import every once in awhile.  And if I wanted to share the same Contacts table with the other starter solutions ie: task managing, event managing, (they all have a Contacts section), then that means I have to import and reimport each time to update?  I was hoping there's a better way and hopefully EASY way to link the contact tables altogether.  I've looked around at the forums, and can't seem to find the same situation yet.  I've also looked into FM books, and learning materials, but I still haven't gotten the hold of which exact relationships to create in the relationship under Manage Database Relationships.  Can anyone shed some light?  Keep in mind, I'm not a programmer so please go easy.  An example showing the link would be great.  Thanks!

        • 1. Re: How to dynamically Link 2 or more Databases to reuse a table

          THere isn't an easy way to modify the existing starter solutions to do this. It can be done and has been discussed before in this forum, but it's not a trivial undertaking--especially if you are new to FileMaker and relational database design.

          Here's just a broad outline:

          Using the bottom left button in Manage | Database | Relationships, you can add a new table occurrence box and then use Add FileMaker Datasource to select a table from a different file. Thus, you can add references to the customer table in one file to othe starter solutions. You can also double click an existing table occurrence to open up a dialog where you can select the same Add FileMaker Datasource option to redirect that table occurrence box to the table in the other file.

          Then it gets a bit complicated. The fields in each customer table are not identical. As part of this process, you'd need to review the field definitions of each table and add additional fields as needed so that a single customer table can work with two or more starter solution files. Then the scripts and layouts that refer to the old customer table would need to be reviewed carefully and updated as needed to reference the correct fields in the newly added/changed table occurrende. Such changes require a good working knowledge of what each script does and how it works in order to update it. In addition to scripts and layouts, there are value lists that refer to the old customer table that you will also need to update to refer to the new customer table from the other file.

          • 2. Re: How to dynamically Link 2 or more Databases to reuse a table

            Hi PhilModJunk,

            Thanks for the quick reply.  It does seem quite complicated.  I have tried messing around with the tables before, but it sounds like even just the act of importing the table is not enough.  And even if I knew which fields to connect on both tables, having to also mess with the scripts sounds like it will be another big task.  I will try to pick up a book and read up some more on it, see if I can learn how to do it, but is there a big learning curve in programming this?  It sounds a little complex to do anything outside of starter solutions.

            • 3. Re: How to dynamically Link 2 or more Databases to reuse a table

              Two options you might investigate. There's a third party tool called FMMIgrator that is supposed to help you merge different filemaker files into a single file. I'm just going by what I've read here, so investigate and see for yourself.

              You might also look into the business productivity pack. It may have similar files to your starter solution files, but set up to share common tables amongst the files alread. I don't have that set of files myself, but seem to remember learning that from another forum thread.