I greatly appreciate the help I’ve received from the Filemaker community. As a way of saying thanks here is what I’m trying to do, and why the usual database structure won’t work. Hopefully the community will find this interesting.
Rather than be abstract I’ll start with a specific example of the way information is actually linked together in my Hypercard Application that I’m bringing over to Filemaker.
Hypercard only works on PowerPC and older processors. When Apple moved to Intel, memory management was completely different, and Apple didn’t migrate Hypercard to it. When my last computer still running OS9 goes, my application will go with it.
The following is a single record (HyperCard calls them Cards) from a table (Hypercard calls them Stacks) called Xref — it contains 15,000 + such records. I've entered all the data myself as I've read the literature, so it's pretty stripped down with just what new information the papers read provided that I wasn't familiar withy.
Title: Apolipoprotein A -IV
# This is a protein which carries fat around in the blood. As a clinical neurologist, I dealt with vasular disease producing strokes and dementia daily, so I wanted to know as much as I could about the cause of vascular disease and what we could do about it.
Text: This is a 46 kiloDalton plasma apolipoprotein made only by the small intestine during fat absorption. Interestingly, it circulates primarily unassociated with plasma lipoproteins. It may play a part in the assembly and intravascular metabolism of HDL (high density lipoprotein). HGowever it is a component of intestinally derived triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. [ Science vol. 273 pp. 966 - 968 '96 ] Apolipoprotein A-IV activates lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase, promotes cholesterol efflux from cholesterol loaded cells and binds to liver cells. It may play a role in reverse cholesterol transport. [ New England J. Med. vol. 331 pp. 706 - 710 '94 ] People vary tremendously in their response to cholesterol feeding. Most show rises in cholesterol and LDL levels, but the amount of rise varies. This paper shows that two different alleles of apolipoprotein A-IV have different responses to the hypercholesterolemic effect of cholesterol feeding. The most common allele has glutamine at amino acid #360, while the less common allele has histidine. Thus the two forms of the protein have different charges at neutral pH and can easily be distinguished by electrophoresis. 1/7 of people hare heterozygotes for the two alleles while most are homozygotes for the common allele. Heterozygotes show a much smaller elevation of cholesterol to feeding than homozygotes.
Topic: Lipids and Lipoproteins, Atherogenesis
# This is one of some 350 Topics — in another stack (Table). There are 350 records here, and this card is assigned to this topic. Each record in this table contains (among other things) a list of each of the 15,0000 cards assigned to this topic. Other topics would be things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinsonism, or anything else I’m interested in such as astronomy, math, physics etc. etc.
Buttons: Two Reverse Cholesterol Transport, HDL
# HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. The first button takes you to the Glossary (another table) which has 8,000+ records.The second button takes you to a different record in the Glossary. The HDL glossary record has another button which takes you to the Index Table (21,000+) records. The HDL record in index contains some 25 buttons. Here is what just two of them do
The receptor button takes you to a record in Xref concerning the protein receptor for HDL — which contains 3,493 words of text — that record has 18 buttons which go to any of the 4 tables mentioned (Xref, Index, Glossary, Topics)
The Estrogen Effects on takes you to a record in Xref which concerns the relationship between estrogen, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease — it contains 4,725 words of text
By now it should be clear that I need all 4 tables available at once, and the ability to follow any button on any record to wherever it leads. So each of the 4 tables are related to the other 3. Each record in each table can contain multiple buttons which can go to records in any of the 4 tables (and usually do).
Once again, thanks for all your help — I’m sure I’m going to have more programming questions. What help you've given so far has been invaluable.