7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 11, 2015 7:22 PM by DanHarris

    Contacts Database Help



      Contacts Database Help


      I'm working to put together a contacts database for our business. Previously, we were using Daylite to manage our client and vendor contact info, but will be moving to Filemaker for this and other business needs.

      I attempted to use the Contacts starter solution, but didn't care for it's organization.  I'd also like to develop this database from scratch to better learn Filemaker for our company's future system solution needs.

      At this point I'm confused as to whether I need to create separate tables and link them into a relational database. Basically, I'm wanting this system to function like Daylite in that it sorts contacts into Organizations or People.  

      For example: I might select Organizations and view just organization names, then I could select an organization and view all data and people related to this particular organization.  I then can select a person from this list and be shown this persons contact info. Or I could do the reverse and select a person from the People list and then select their organization and be taken to its data.

      Also, I'd like to be able to "grab" an organization's data and automatically populate general info into a new contact as I create it (main address, phone & fax number, web address, etc).

      Is it best to create this database as a single table, or would it be better to link an Organizations table (One) and a Contacts table (Many) in a relational database?

      Hope I'm making sense here, thanks in advance for your assistance. 

        • 1. Re: Contacts Database Help

          A quick thought would be two tables.  One record for each company, child table for the many people records in a company.  You could view the Companies with a tab with a portal of the people.  You could have most any layout ... layouts on the People table and or the Company table.

          • 2. Re: Contacts Database Help

            You might need a join table. As you look at your data for organizations and contacts, is there any chance that a single contact might need to be linked to more than one organization? If so, you have a many to many relationship and you need a join table to manage the links between contacts and organizations.

            • 3. Re: Contacts Database Help

              I appreciate the info guys. 

              Phil, I thought about the many to many relationship possibility and I don't see an instance where a contact would be a part of two organizations.

              • 4. Re: Contacts Database Help

                It all depends on the organizations and contacts that you need to manage with your DB system. Sometimes a person owns more than one business, sometimes someone is a broker or other type of representative and represents more than one.

                And if any of your organizations are charitable organizations, you might have all kinds of multiple organization contacts...

                • 5. Re: Contacts Database Help

                  Very true Phil.  In reviewing our current contact management system, I don't see any contacts with overlap (ten years of contacts).  If it were to happen, it would be so rare that a quick entry in the contact notes would suffice.

                  It sounds like two tables is the best here, Organizations (parent) and People (child).

                  Another concern, say a user needs to enter a contact into the DB but only has a name and phone number (no organizational data yet). Would this system allow for that, or would an organization be required prior to creating a person?

                  • 6. Re: Contacts Database Help

                    There is nothing inherently wrong about creating a contact record where it's foreign key field set up to link it to an organization is left blank. While probably not necessary for your situation, you could even create a fictitious organization named "no organization assigned" and link all such contacts to it until you have more information with which to update the record.

                    • 7. Re: Contacts Database Help

                      Ok that's good. 

                      I like your idea of a "bucket" to catch all unassigned contacts too.