What good techniques are use to convert the information the client gives you to a attributes and entiteis? If that make sense. What specific questions should I ask the client?
The client should be able to give you a narrative description of the problem or process they which to automate thru the database. Look for the nouns and verbs in the narrative for entities and actions. At this point, skill and verbal trial-and-error must be applied to come up with the final list of entities. Make a list of each noun and examine/ evaluate it. Is it a entity or an attribute (something about or some state of an entity)? When the noun stands on its own as the object which has attributes, then you just might have an entity.
And ask for a list of reports / documents that they want to come out of the system, let them sketch those out if they don't have any yet, they will allow you to verify that you have captured all entities and the proper attributes (=fields) for each entity.
If you haven't done it before, I suggest you pick up a copy of the FileMaker Training Series (free to TechNet members) and go through module 3 (Data Modeling) very carefully and slowly. Good data modeling practices are essential for every developer.
Another great resource is the FileMaker Solution Architectures Technical Brief, PDF by Ray Cologon:
Debi RubelFullCity Consulting
Thanks for that info..I just downloaded it.
Thanks..I'm reading this article now.
Retrieving data ...