What you describe is a bit vague, but still sounds like something that can be done with a set of related records. There are at several ways that a calculation in one record can reference a value in another record.
It does seem possible that related records might work but the I/O involved could get very extensive if you had thirty records to read/write vs one if these fields were in the same record.
Maybe I can give a better example;
Group a: range is 1 to 10
Group b: ten decimals totalling up to 1.0
Group c: calculated by multiplying group a(1) * group b(1) to get group c(1), a(2) * b(2) to get c(2) etc.
A: 1 5 5 4 6 8 5 4 6 9
B: .1 .1. .05 .1 .15 .05 .15 .1 .1 .1
C .1 .5 .25 .4 .9 .4 .75 .4 .6 .9
If a, b and c were all in one record then you have one I/O but if you use related records you would have 30 I/O operations. The fact that there might be even more calculations against all groups would require even more I/O operations. That is why it would seem more practical to put those in one record.
So you create 10 records with an a, b, c field in each record.
Then a calculation field: a * b * c will compute the product of the three.
Don't see any advantages to using a repeating field for that.
If you have a hundred people filling in these records and you need ten records instead of one that would result in 1000 I/O operations on the database as opposed to 10. Wouldn't that be a disadvantage and I/O operations grow significantly as the number of users increased?
It's the same number of I/O operations. one I/O operation on one repetition will = one I/O operation on one field in a record.
Meanwhile, you have many built in tools for working with aggregate groups of records, only a few of which work with a repeating field.
I agree with Phil. Repeating fields or not, there's no free lunch in the I/O department. I use repeating fields for certain displays but occasionally get bitten when I discover later that I need to use them in calculations. A lot of extra work with no benefit.
Thanks for the posts on this issue. I will try to take your advice and avoid the repeating fields. Just wanted to confirm some of the feedback I had heard and put it into my own situation.
Please Note: I DO use repeating fields, but only if there is s clear cut advantage to doing so and such uses are few and far between these days. Repeating fields were, back in FileMaker Pro 2.5 the only way to associate groups of data with a given record--the database was not a relational database. Filemaker has maintained backwards compatibility ever since, but with each new release repeating fields are less and less useful.