1 Reply Latest reply on Jun 20, 2014 10:11 AM by philmodjunk

    New FileMaker User

    pastormarkfuss

      Title

      New FileMaker User

      Post

           Hi to all. I am very new to FileMaker. I have been using the program for just over a month now. I am very impressed with its power and functionality. I am also impressed with the wide range of training materials that are available to help me learn the program.

            

           As a new user I would like to ask for some input from some more experienced users. I am working on a FileMaker solution to use in my church. It will be used by me [I will be the only user] to primarily keep track of church membership. To this point I have been able to come up with a solution that I am very happy with. It is certainly not very sophisticated, but it works well for what I need. One feature that I want to add, but that is giving me trouble, is the ability to email church members from within the FileMaker solution. I have come across an excellent third-party plug-in to help me with this but I am having some issues trying to get things to work as I would like for them to work. My question here does not concern the plug-in, but rather the structure of my database solution. I want to have the ability to send an email message to an individual or a group of individuals. I want to be able to maintain a record of the email messages that I send. I also want to be able to personalize the messages when I am sending the same message to multiple recipients. With all of that in mind, here are my questions: Should I have a separate "Messages" table? If so, what would be the most logical way to relate the "Messages" table to the "Individuals" table. [The "Individuals" table is the table that I set up to store the contact information for each individual in our organization]. What is the best way to handle all of this?

           At the present I have my solution setup to send email messages via the plug-in that we purchased but I do not have a separate "Messages" table, therefore, I have no record of the messages that have been sent.

           I know that I could probably do the email part of things via my email client easier, but I really like the thought of integrating this into the FileMaker solution. Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

           Mark Fuss

        • 1. Re: New FileMaker User
          philmodjunk

               From what you describe, I don't see any obvious reason for using a plug in. FileMaker's built in send mail script step can do all that you describe here.

               

                    Should I have a separate "Messages" table?

               Yes. You've indicated that you wanted to keep track of each message sent. If you compose the message to be sent in a field in this table, you can keep track of what was said and to whom.

               

                    If so, what would be the most logical way to relate the "Messages" table to the "Individuals" table. [The "Individuals" table is the table that I set up to store the contact information for each individual in our organization]. What is the best way to handle all of this?

               You've indicated that you wanted to customize the message so that each individual would get a different message. That suggests to me that linking each message record to a single recipient may be necessary. But if the "customization" is just a "form letter" type customization where you insert the person's name and other data from their Individuals record, then you can have a single record in Messages that is linked via a "join" table to multiple records, the recipients, in Individuals.

               Messages-----<MessageRecipient>--------Individuals

               Messages::__pkMessageID = MessageRecipient::_fkMessageID
               Individuals::__pkIndividualID = MessageRecipient::_fkIndividualID

               For an explanation of the notation that I am using, see the first post of: Common Forum Relationship and Field Notations Explained

               You may also find the "message template" demo file of interest as a better way to compose a form letter to be either snail mailed or emailed to a group of recipients: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xw8buafjuohncu/MessageTemplateBuilder.fp7 This file is in the older file format. If you are using FileMaker 12 or newer, use Open from FileMaker's File menu to open this file and produce a copy of this file converted to the newer file format.