4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2017 2:12 AM by WilliamDuncan

    Does it make sense to merge two similar databases?

    WilliamDuncan

      Environment: I'm using FM Pro 15 on a MacBook Pro running the latest version of Sierra. I will probably upgrade to FM Pro 16 soon, and maybe the latest MacBook Pro as well.

       

      I help manage the certification program for my professional association. I have two different question databases: one for multiple-choice questions and one for short-essay questions. Both databases have 4 identical tables: exam details (where it was, who proctored, etc.), change control (when a question is modified), topic number (from our content standard), and where-used (which exams the question appeared on).

       

      Each database also has a Question table that is, of course, very different.

       

      Each database is about 2MB in size.

       

      It occurred to me that if I combined the two databases into one, I wouldn't have to enter the exam details twice. And if I changed any of the common tables, I wouldn't have to make two sets of changes to the table descriptions and the related layouts either.

       

      The obvious downside is the work involved in doing the merger, but I can handle that.

       

      Are there upsides or downsides that I am missing?

        • 1. Re: Does it make sense to merge two similar databases?
          CarlSchwarz

          I'm just going to present a 3rd option, and that is you could "script" the link up to automatically add the data that you want copied from one database to the other, that would also save you the time spent on double entry.

          If you don't expect the databases to change very much going forward then this could be a quicker option.

           

          A fourth option is that if both databases are very similar then you could just import the data from one database into the other one.

           

          The downside to merging the databases is that if you do want to make radical changes to one going forward then you would need to separate it again.

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          • 2. Re: Does it make sense to merge two similar databases?
            WilliamDuncan

            Thanks for your thoughts! I've marked your reply "helpful."

             

            I'll investigate your 3rd option. That might be simpler for some, but scripting is not my strength.

             

            Re your 4th option ... that's pretty much what I planned to do.

             

            Re separating it in the future ... I'd just duplicate it and delete the question table I didn't need.

            • 3. Re: Does it make sense to merge two similar databases?
              coherentkris

              if you can quantify the work to make the merge in hours to alter the solution and compare it with the work hours the change will save over the expected lifetime of the solution then you have a ROI in work hours for the project.

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              • 4. Re: Does it make sense to merge two similar databases?
                WilliamDuncan

                Kris -- excellent point! At current volumes, and given that I'm the only one using the databases, leaving them separate is clearly the choice.

                 

                But at some point in the future ... someone else may need to do some of this work, and making everything as simple as possible prior to that date is one of my objectives.