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How to handle nested hierarchical structures

Question asked by BFCSteve on Apr 20, 2016
Latest reply on Apr 25, 2016 by FrankvanderMost

Hi all,


I've been using FileMaker since before it was called FileMakerPro, which was before it was called FileMaker again.  That's a lot of years, but I still consider myself only an experienced user, not a guru.  I'm hoping someone can help me out.


What is the easiest way to visually display and interact with a hierarchical outline of nested elements where each element is stored in a separate file for relational linkage to other similar hierarchical outlines?  For example:


Subject 1

     Topic 1

          Idea 1

               Data Point 1

               Data Point 2

          Idea 2

               Data Point 3

               Data Point 4

          Idea 3

               Data Point 2  (same as in Idea 1)

               Data Point 4 (same as in Idea 2)

     Topic 2

          Idea 4

               Data Point 5

               Data Point 6

         Idea 1 (same as in Topic 1)

               Data Point 1

               Data Point 2

          Idea 2 (same as in Topic 1)

               Data Point 3

               Data Point 4


What I want is the ability for the user to see all this data, formatted similar to above, with the ability to modify the structure.  For example, breaking the link between Topic 2 and Idea 4 and replacing it with a link to Idea 5.  In total my database has hundreds of thousands of stored bits of information, so the inability to view things from a higher level in context really stinks.


I've had a bad time trying to get this to work with Portals, though Portals works excellently at the lower levels.  The problem is Portals do not show nested relationships this complex.  For example, I can easily show Subject 1 contains Topic 1 and Topic 2, but not Ideas are contained, nor what Data Points are contained within each of those.  That produces very inefficient information gathering because the user has to select a Topic and then view its contents out of context with the whole.


Any thoughts on how I can do this within FileMaker?