From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer
Along the bottom of the relationship graph area are a series of buttons that allow for table occurrence creation, relationship creation, alignment of table occurrence elements, viewing options for the graph and printing options for the graph. The first family of buttons are the table relationship buttons.
The first button in the bottom button row is the Add Table Occurrence To Graph. Here you can add a table definition to the graph by clicking the button and then filling out the upcoming dialog box. The box will ask you which table you want to use and what name you want to give the occurrence. By default, FileMaker will try to name the occurrence after the table you selected. If the table occurrence already appears on the graph, FileMaker will attempt to add a number to the name such as Clients1, Clients2 or so forth.
You cannot have two table occurrences with the same name in the graph. If you could, you could get very confused which occurrence to use in relationship situations.
Before I adopted the design technique called anchor/buoy (which I will discuss later), I tended to name my table occurrences with some of the relationship information in them. For example, I may use a portal as a navigation aid. Portals can be easily filtered so I can easily jump to related records. In situations like this, I may want to create a set of table occurrences for this very purpose. I may name the occurrence People_rolodex, people_daytimer or people_filtered.
Here you can see that if the table you want to relate to isn’t in the current file, you can add a reference to another file. After you add that file reference, you can select any of the tables within that file to link your relationship to.
The second button in the bottom button row is the Add Relationship button. This button is an alternative way to create a relationship between two table occurrences. This button brings up the same define relationship dialog box we discussed in The Relationship Operator Box discussion. The only difference is that the two table occurrences you want to use have not been defined yet. You pick them and FileMaker will create the link for you. If a new table occurrence is needed, FileMaker will present you with a dialog box allowing you to do so.
Here you can see the Edit Relationship dialog box after clicking the second button. You will notice that no tables have been defined for either side of the relationship as of yet. However, I did click the pull down menu above the left side table occurrence area and can select a defined table occurence.
The third button is new as of FileMaker 8. It allows you to duplicate relationship graph objects. I have to admit this button was in there for quite some time before I even noticed it. It didn’t take that much longer before I started using it. You can select two linked tables, click the button and it will duplicate them with the relationship intact. You can then edit the relationship for your particular needs. You can also select unrelated table occurrences and duplicate them as well (sans their relationship settings to other table occurrences).
The later is the only way I use this button because I’m a strong advocate of the anchor/buoy relationship design system. I know that I keep bringing that topic up but I’m not ready to write about it yet. You can do a search for Kevin Frank anchor / buoy in Google and find his PowerPoint presentation on the topic. That was my introduction to it.
The fourth button in the bottom button row is the Edit Selected Object. You will need to select an object on the graph first and then click this button. You can edit the objects settings this way. I have to admit I never use this button because in most cases, you can double click an object in the graphic area and bypass the need to click this button.
The fifth button in the bottom button row is the Delete Selected Object. You will need to select an object on the graph first and then click this button. You can delete the objects ( which related to table occurrences ) this way. However, I don't think anyone really does it this way. In most cases, you can click an object, hit the delete key on the keyboard and bypass the need to click this button.
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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com
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