10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2010 1:47 PM by MichaelLevin

    how to search through a database of emails?

    MichaelLevin

      Title

      how to search through a database of emails?

      Post

      I'm new to FM and am looking for some advice. I need to move a huge database of emails (currently in Entourage, which has an unstable database engine) to a stable, solid system. I found two programs that convert email databases into FileMaker databases. But, I find the result not particularly convenient for search.  I need to be able to find emails in this huge archive by any string they contain or by date. I'm hoping this is just due to the fact that I don't know how to use FM properly, or perhaps there's a new way to look at the data that is easy to implement. Before I decide to (or not to) use FM for this, could someone tell me: is it possible to view a list of email messages (a very long list - about 25 Gigs worth) the way it's viewed in most mail programs: there's a search field somewhere above the list of all emails. You fill in whatever fields you want to search (or use boolean expressions in this search field) and then the list of all emails (database records) gets pruned to only those matching it, and you can double-click on them to see them in detail. Is this something that can easily be added to a FM database - if I get all my emails into FM, is it easy to immplement that sort of "front end" way to search it, or is what I want really difficult?

      thank you,

      Mike

        • 1. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
          philmodjunk

          Simple direct searches are something that is very easy to setup in FileMaker. The details of what you need to do will depend on what the emails look like after importing into FileMaker. What's especially important is whether the date info will be stored in a date or a text field. For simple, effective searching, you'll want to have the date info be in a date field so that you can find all emails in a range of dates or all emails after a specified date for example.

          If you haven't already, you may want to download the 30 day free trial copy of FileMaker so that you can investigate its find and quick find features as well as how to sort the data after you pull it up in a "found set" of records that match your criteria.

          • 2. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
            MichaelLevin

            Thanks. I own a registerd copy of FileMaker and I can open the sample database.  I'd like to see it the way it's viewed in most mail programs, or iTunes smartlist, or Spotlight search in MacOS: there's a search field  somewhere above the list of all records. You fill in whatever fields you  want to search (or use boolean expressions in this search field) and  then the list of all emails (database records) gets pruned to only those  matching it, and you can double-click on them to see them in detail. It's not working for me and I'm sure I'm being clumsy with the interface. Do you know what I mean by the "smartlist" analogy? It's hard to describe :-(

            • 3. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
              philmodjunk

              I'm a windows user so some of your references don't register with me. Can you give an example of how "smart list" works?

              In FileMaker, you already have a Quick Find box in the upper right corner for doing some quick and simple searches. You can enter find mode and specify search criteria in any field or combination of fields, then perform the find to find just those records. I mention these options because they don't require any scripting or layout design to implement.

              You can also create a list view layout and either place a global field or fields in the header for collecting search criteria, or you can use New Window or Show Custom Dialog to pop up a floating window where you enter criteria for a search. A script can then use the data thus entered to search for matching records. If you want, the script can count the number of found records and display them in a detail view type layout if just one record is found or in a list of email subject lines where the user can click one to view it in the detail view layout.

              Global fields  in the header are easier to set upand will look more like what you have requested, but there's a bug that can keep them from working smoothly, where new window/show custom dialog avoids that glitch. The download link at the bottom of this post is to a file that uses New Window to open a search pallet. If you like that approach, let me know and I'll expand more on how it works. (Careful, there's a trick used that will trap you in an endless loop with no way out if you don't implement it correctly.)

              For More Information on this bug, see:    Sometimes global field in header become disabled

              This is one of many acknowledged bugs that can be found in the Known Bug List here in the Report an Issue section of the forum.

              It can also be downloaded as a database file from:   http://www.4shared.com/file/8orL8apk/FMP_Bugs.html

              • 4. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                MichaelLevin

                Hi,

                > I'm a windows user so some of your references don't register with me. Can you give an example of how "smart list" works?

                  how about the screengrab at    https://www.yousendit.com/download/cEdzeFlaMGsrV3hFQlE9PQ

                   You see an option to match all criteria or match any criteria, and then a set of (as many as I want) fields to specify the criteria. The two fields I've chosen here are From and Date sent, and as soon as I fill them in, I get a list (below) of the matching records. I can click on each one to open it in a separate window. Can this be done in FM?

                thank you,

                Mike

                • 5. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                  davidanders

                  This supports Entourage as well as Mail.app on Mac, imports to Filemaker $15

                  http://www.automatedworkflows.com/software/mail_to_filemaker.html

                  • 6. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                    MichaelLevin

                    Super - thanks!  There are several solutions for moving email into FileMaker. Now if I could only figure out if I can search it the way I want in FM! :-)

                    • 7. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                      philmodjunk

                      Can this be done in FM?
                      Yes, with scripting and global fields what you describe can be done in FileMaker.

                      • 8. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                        MichaelLevin

                        > Yes, with scripting and global fields what you describe can be done in FileMaker.

                           what's the best path to this? Is there a place I could advertise this as a job for someone who is good in FM? I am a biologist and I don't have time to learn to script FM... I'd be happy to pay for someone to produce the necessary script so I can finally make the decision and move my data to a FM database. Is that a reasonable way to with this kind of task?


                        Mike

                        • 9. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                          davidanders

                          First are you willing to tie yourself to OSX.

                          Second Mail.app upgrades may break this  AND Entourage is not sold anymore, Outlook has replaced it.  This solution may or (probably) may not work with current Outlook versions.

                          NOTED: people still use Eudora five years after it's death.

                          You can find Consultants At the top of this Page.

                          http://developer.filemaker.com/search/?csr=support_consultants_new

                          I would be willing to discuss consulting with you. (I am unsure if this violates forum protocols)

                          • 10. Re: how to search through a database of emails?
                            MichaelLevin

                            > First are you willing to tie yourself to OSX.

                              yes.

                            > I am using Entourage 2008 until I see a better alternative (I don't like Outlook 2011). For now, I'd like to move my mail archive to a more stable format.  Unless there's a better way, File Maker is it for now...

                            > You can find Consultants At the top of this Page.

                              aha, thanks.

                            > I would be willing to discuss consulting with you.

                              ok, will pursue through individual message.

                            MIke