Join Cris Ippolite for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to data modeling, part of FileMaker: Relational Database Design.
- [Instructor] In the relational model, data is broken down into small pieces, which are connected with each other by relationships. By breaking data into smaller pieces, accuracy is ensured by making data entry a one-time process, and then reusing that data by connecting it with other pieces. In this process, the large collection of unorganized data is simplified into its smallest pieces, and then related with other small pieces of data to recreate a big picture in a more organized format. The relational model provides a simple and flexible way to describe data.
Data modeling is the initial purpose of any database. The data has to be modeled and described so that it can be input and output in a method that can be duplicated and applied to the business rules of the organization that uses the system. You'll actually see data organized like this in the real world all around you. For example, in an office, several file cabinets store different files about different things. One file cabinet may store information about customers, while another stores information about orders. By breaking the data into smaller pieces, accuracy is ensured by making sure that the data entry is only done one time.
Using this process, all these small bits of information then get compartmentalized into their own groups. And these groups are referred to as entities, which become tables in your database. Entities also contain something called attributes, which are pieces of data that describe an entity. These attributes will eventually become fields in your database. The process of observing collections of data, then breaking them down into smaller groups and reassembling them in logical ways is referred to as relational modeling. The exercise of relational modeling is the first step in constructing a database.
It does not involve using FileMaker yet, but rather, planning the information to be stored in FileMaker. Much like any other construction project you might embark on, your database will proceed more smoothly if you first begin with some type of a plan or a blueprint. And then once you have this blueprint, you'll be able to determine the types of data that you're going to managing your system, and therefore, what tables you're going to need. And after you've determined all those things, you can then create your database in FileMaker. A lot of people think that they don't have a very complex database solution so they can just skip the planning stage, but it's just as important to plan ahead of time in a simple database as it would be with something very complex.
This course applies to versions of FileMaker Pro from 16 through the most current version.
- Diagramming your relationships
- Problems caused by many-to-many relationships
- Adding a join table
- Defining primary and foreign key fields
- Working with relationships and queries
- Creating child records
- Using advanced relationship techniques