4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2014 8:00 AM by MichaelPoling

    Cleaner method?

    MichaelPoling

      Title

      Cleaner method?

      Post

           Hi all, just checking to see if there is a cleaner, easier method to do what I am doing.

           I have a form I am reproducing for electronic data collection.  The form has a bunch of varying things on the first page, simple enough.  The second page is a list with 8 variables (some just text box, some are yes/no tick boxes).  These variables are repeated 7 timed under different titles (they are the results of 7 different tests-it just collects the same data types for each test.)

           I want to keep it all within a single table.  So far, what I have done is simply create the 8 fields 7 times with different but relevant field names.  Obviously, this is a lot of fields to manual enter, but I did it, no muss, no fuss. 

           But for my learning purposes, is there a better way to approach that problem.  I do see where I could have created a linked table and used a portal, but this is going to fit into a larger database with a lot of relationships and links that I shuddered to try to figure out, and then wondered if you could do it all within the single table?

           Curious if that's possible.

           Mike

        • 1. Re: Cleaner method?
          philmodjunk
               

                    I want to keep it all within a single table.

               That might or might not be the best design decision here.

               In terms of data entry, it can make little or no difference in what the person entering this data sees and does, but often, when you have multiple items of very similar data being collected all for one entity (your form record in this case), keeping the fields all in one record may not be the best option. A related table where you have one record for each repetition of the same basic data can often result in greater flexibility when it comes time to do something with the data once you have entered it.

          • 2. Re: Cleaner method?
            MichaelPoling

                 Yea, it does look sort of "messy" when I look at the table.  This is data that I am not likely to run any summary or stats on, except maybe to look how often a "positive" came up in a single field.

                 I assume if I had a related table, and I have slightly different names for each "field" in the form I am recreating, that I would have a second field that represented the name of the field, filled in by a Value LIst, and another representing the data I am collecting for that particular "field."  Correct?

                 I put the term "field" in quotes because what I mean there is the box on the form, not the field in Filemaker...just not sure how to refer to that :)

                  

                  

            • 3. Re: Cleaner method?
              philmodjunk

                   You've only provided the most general of descriptions of your setup here. That's one of the reasons why I used the term "might".

                   

                        I assume if I had a related table, and I have slightly different names for each "field" in the form I am recreating, that I would have a second field that represented the name of the field, filled in by a Value LIst, and another representing the data I am collecting for that particular "field."  Correct?

                   If these fields were then located inside a portal to the related table, this would be a very typical way to set that up. But sometimes developers set up a script that adds the fields and assigns the "label" values automatically.

                   And there is no need to use "fields" in quotes. We call these layout objects fields just like we call the matching definitions in Manage | database fields even though they technically are not the exact same thing. (But you have to really be splitting hairs to treat them as different objects so we just call both items by the same name.)

              • 4. Re: Cleaner method?
                MichaelPoling

                     You are absolutely right that the related table would work well and much more cleanly than my current setup.  

                     I'm in the "dabbling" mode with my scripting so I won't tempt fate by trying to assign field names automatically just yet :)  

                     But I see the value in being able to do that, certainly.

                     Thanks again!

                     M