The FileMaker Relationship Graph

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
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FileMaker allows you to define relationships using a graphical interface in the third tab of the Define Database dialog box. The relationship graph area will consist of a number of boxes, that correspond to tables within that file or linked external files. Not all tables need to be represented here and some tables may be represented by more than one box. The boxes are called table occurrences. These boxes will show the name of the table occurrence and can show you additional field information about the table in 3 possible views. You can also see lines connecting each table occurrence that indicates a relationship has been set between them. Although it is NOT possible that lines from different relationships intersect, they may flow through one table occurrence to another via a cascading relationship. In the center of each line is a box. This box can be opened to view and/or edit the relationship settings being used. 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.

Here you can see the new relationship graph for defining a relationship.

FileMaker allows you to define relationships in a large graphics area. The graphic area will consist of a number of boxes, that correspond to tables within that file or linked external files. In the upper right corner of each box is a display toggle. This display toggle allows you to flip between the 3 different views of the fields within the table defined. The first view ( and normally the default view ) will show the fields used as keys in a relationship in a dedicated area. Below this is another area that will show all the fields, including the key fields. Obviously some tables will have to many fields to show but this second area can be expanded or scrolled to view more fields. Clicking the toggle button will take you to the second view. Here you will only see the fields used as relationship keys. Clicking the toggle button again will take you to the third view. Here you will only see the table name information and all the field information is hidden. Clicking the toggle button again takes you to the first view we mentioned earlier.

The information source area of a table occurrence box isn't so much a control and a pop up display. It is used to display the source table and the source file. As we mentioned earlier, you may have many table occurrences for the same table and you may even have external files using relational links. This little pop up display option might come in handy in those complex database solutions.

In the illustration above, you can see 4 different table occurrences. The one on the far left allows you to see the key fields and then the other fields in a section below the key fields. The first table occurrence on the right is when the display toggle is clicked once. In this table occurrence, you can only see the key fields. The middle table occurrence on the right is when the display toggle is clicked again. Now all you can see is the name of that table occurrence. The bottom table occurrence on the right has the cursor over the info source button and it displays the source information.

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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

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