1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 7, 2013 1:29 PM by philmodjunk

    New to Relational Databasing, Help!



      New to Relational Databasing, Help!

      Your post

           Hey Filemaker peeps!
           So I'm very new to this software, and in fact relational databases in general. I work for a non-profit 3rd party vendor that does tutoring inside elementary schools. We are a very small organization and I am responsible for all IT and Data needs. 
           As of now, we have 4 schools that run a myriad of programs. Right now I have managers at these schools that report data about staff, events, tutoring, volunteering, art, and more. We have dropbox which is our information pipe between the schools and our office. I then have Excels for each program in each school. So every Wednesday the school manager looks at all volunteer data and enters it in. Then on Thursday after all of our managers update their spreadsheets, I have another spreadsheet which automatically updates from those, turning daily numbers into weekly, and weekly into monthly for the boss lady to analyze and inform decisions. 
           Now onto where relational databasing and networking comes in. If I have 4 or more sites in the future reporting data back to our office, do I need Filemaker Pro Server or can this be done with just Pro? Do I organize this by breaking tables by school and each have their own file? Or can I have one master file that they all edit? Should I be doing this through dropbox? Or is there a better way to do this online. Dropbox does have an issue with two users editing the same file and I fear it could get messy. 
           I know there's a lot here but if anyone has any advice for an inexperienced newb at a new non-profit I'd be extremely appreciative! 

        • 1. Re: New to Relational Databasing, Help!

               FileMaker Pro can host up to 9 simultaneous connections from FileMaker Pro clients. Each such user has to have a correctly licensed copy of FileMaker Pro or an iPhone or iPad with the free FM Go application in order to access the database.

               FileMaker server will support many more clients and also provides a number of valuable tools for better managing your database.

               For the rest of your questions, I suggest breaking them up into simpler tasks and asking them in the FM Pro Forum (see tab at top of this screen). You'll also be better able to ask questions and understand the answers offered if you invest in some training resources on FileMaker and relational database design.

               In general, you would not give each site their own set of tables. Tables that combine data of the same type from all sources is a much more flexible way to go. A field in such a table can identify the site and you can even set up access controls that limit what records a given user can see in that table. But defining a good data model--the needed fields, records, tables, table occurrences and relationships is a crucial part of setting up a good database system and it is not a simple concept to take on. Be prepared for a cycle of trial and adjustment/redesign as you work out what is best to meet the needs of your particular system.

               Please note that it is also possible to publish a FileMaker Database to the web and then your client users can use a web browser to access the database and enter data into the system.