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We've talked about why you want to use a relational database to manage your data over a flat file, for example, but I'd like to show you a couple of reasons why FileMaker is such a great application for developing those relational databases. First off, you can see here onscreen that we can store information within our application much like we do in a spreadsheet or other applications. We can create new records if we'd like to by simply hitting the New record button, or delete those records if we'd like, and we can even search for records by simply typing in some criteria onscreen and hitting Perform Find, and this is that retrieval aspect of the database, which is so key.
So you could have, instead of just having one record like we have here, you could have millions and millions of records, and within just a matter of a second you can retrieve whatever information it is that you're looking for inside the database. What's nice about FileMaker though, is that it's a relational database. So, for example, you'll see if we click over to this button here that says Invoices, we're in a completely different table. The database itself can have many different tables. In this case, we've got a table that stores customer information, a table that stores Product information, another one that stores Invoice information, and in a true relational database, all these tables can be linked together.
So, for example, you see if I create a new record here inside my Invoices table, I can choose one of my customers from my Customer table and by simply choosing that customer, you see that I've filled in all of the customer information that we see stored over in the Customer Detail section. So what's key about this is that all these different tables can fit into one FileMaker file, so you don't have to manage different files like, for example, when you have to create a new spreadsheet every quarter or something like that. All of the files and all of the data can be tagged appropriately and stored in one easy-to-share FileMaker database.
In addition, FileMaker has all sorts of FileMaker-specific kind of cool functionality here as well; for example, you'll see if I click on this Website tab, it's going to automatically load a Website right inside my FileMaker layout. So although FileMaker isn't intended to be a Web browser, it can certainly link your data over two things like Google Maps and stuff like that like you see here. And also you're not just limited to storing a text or number data inside of FileMaker; you see that we've got different fields or attributes: First Name, Last Name, President that kind of thing.
We've got a special type of a field called the Container Field that we'll talk about later in this title, that allows us to store Media. So, for example, we can insert in a movie into a FileMaker record, and not only can we Insert in the movie, but we can also play movies. We can do the same thing with sound files or image files, so you can play music or have pictures of contacts inside your database, all that kind of stuff. But the strength of FileMaker is that it provides the ability to create a database very easily, probably one of the easiest database creation environments out there, and also works the same on both Windows and Mac.
So if you have two users on your same network, one that uses a Mac and one that uses Windows, they can both share the same FileMaker database at the same time, thus making live changes to it while the other person is in the database as well. And with the advanced Security model that comes with FileMaker, you can determine what your users can do and see when they're inside of your database. Then up to 250 different users can share the database simultaneously, all having their own session and all being logged into a server, and you can even publish your databases to the Web. You see you've got support here for FileMaker PHP or something called Instant Web Publishing, which allows you to share your FileMaker databases through the browsers.
You can also share your database with other applications that are what are called ODBC or JDBC compliant; this allows you to integrate your FileMaker databases with things like your accounting software, for example. In addition, not only can you store your information and share it with other FileMaker users, but FileMaker allows you to do things like export records, and you can export them in various different file formats that you can share your data with other non-FileMaker Pro users. You can also save your records as Excel spreadsheets or as PDF files, so any user that has Excel or that has in a PDF reader on their computer can also access your data, all sorts of different things that you can do with the FileMaker database.
We're going to cover a lot of these in this title, but for those of you that have never worked with FileMaker before, and you're thinking okay, what is this? You get that it's a database, but you've really got here with FileMaker is the ability to create a fully functional and powerful database application using FileMaker Pro, without having to know anything about databases, or computer science or anything like that. By the time you're done with this title, I assure you that you'll be able to create FileMaker Pro databases, deploy them, share them with people, understand their limitations, build reports and do all sorts of different functions that you never have been able to do before.
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