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In FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training, Cris Ippolite demonstrates the principal features and functions of this popular database software, including creating tables and relationships, managing fields and records, and working with layouts. The course shows FileMaker developers how to find, sort, and share data as well as how to create reports, calculations, and scripts. It also covers brand new features in FileMaker Pro 11 such as the Inspector tool, charting, and portal filtering. Exercise files accompany the course.
Once you have added records to your FileMaker database, or if you've already got records in your FileMaker database, you have the ability to edit the data that's already in those fields. Now I should mention that you can control whether or not some of your users, or all of your users, can edit values inside of the database. There's something that you'll find under File > Manage > Security, and it will allow you to set up accounts and privileges. Now, we are not going to be covering that in this title, but I urge you ,if this is of interest to you, to go check out the FileMaker Help System under the topic Security. You can also prevent users from entering a field when in Browse mode through Field Attributes, which we'll discuss in a later chapter on Formatting Layout Objects.
But assuming that you've allowed users to make edits to the data that's in your database, all they need to do is click into one of the fields. You'll see that it puts a border around the active field, and puts the position of your cursor as a blinking line, and then they simply need to just start typing. You'll see here I am hitting the Delete key, and I am typing in a new value. I can now tab to other fields, or click into other fields if I'd like to. You see I've just Drag+Selected the entire contents and by typing anything into this field, it will overwrite the previous value.
Now, once you've made a change to a field value, and you click outside of the record, this is what's called committing the entry. This is how FileMaker saves changes to data and once the record is committed, it's automatically saved to your FileMaker database. Therefore you, or your users, do not need to save any of the changes that you've just made, like you may have to in other applications. Now, keep in mind there is one way that you can undo changes. For example, if we go down into this Notes field and we type in a value, before we commit the field, there you see we've committed this value, but now if I make changes, I can go under the Edit menu to undo typing, which will then change the value that I just entered.
You can do this multiple times, as long as the user has not committed the change. So it doesn't allow you a lot of recourse for updating any changes that you make in a field, but if you can train your users that before they commit, they can undo the changes that they've made. Otherwise, simply committing the record will commit those changes to the database. Another very important thing to know about editing records is that only one user can be editing a record in a database at the same time. This means that a user can only be editing a single record, not the concept of editing inside of the database.
It's very common to share your FileMaker databases on a network, so in that case, you may have multiple users that are interested in working on a single record. Let's take a look at what that would look like. I am going to open up a new window which is basically, just another copy of the same database that I am currently working on, and you'll see by going under Window, to New Window, it's going to pop up the same database on the same record on the same layout, and this is just to demonstrate two different users trying to access the same record at the same time. If you are interested in more details on managing windows, feel free to take a look at the FileMaker Help System under Managing Windows.
Now, let's say I am a user over here, and I've selected Record number 4, and I click inside the field, and I start making a change. User number 2, who would be on another computer, could be on Record number 1 and you see they can click into the Notes field, and they can start entering in whatever kind of value that they'd like to. Now, what if User number 2 navigates over to Record 4? Now, you see that we have two users modifying the same record. What happens now if I try to click inside this field and make a change? I am going to hit the Delete key right now.
Now, you see a window popped up saying the record cannot be modified in this window, because it's already being modified in a different window. Now, that's a message that you see if you have two windows open at the same time, like I do. But the message that you'll see if you are sharing a database is very similar, just a slightly different wording, and it basically says another user is already updating this record. This is what's called Record Locking, and it prevents confusion while updating records in your FileMaker database. For example, if we allowed two users to edit the same record or even the same field at the same time, how's one user going to know that their changes that they've just entered got completely overwritten by somebody else? So when this record locking message appears in a multiuser environment, you'll see the information on the account of the person who is making a change, which allows you to possibly contact that person and say, hey, are you editing this field? Can I get in there when you are done? It's not a bug or anything to work around in FileMaker.
It's actually there by design because this is a way that two users who are trying to edit the same record makes only one of them aware that their changes have been saved. So this way the other person is going to be restricted from making any changes, so that there is no confusion by the users or the database as to who got to save the last change. The concept of record locking is something you'll need to be taking into consideration when you are training your users on updating records in your FileMaker database when it's hosted. It's important for you to understand how changes can be made, and even some of the restrictions that may occur that prevent multiple users from editing the same record at once.
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