A READER ASKS: FileMaker and Accidental Deletes

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

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

Great site and thanks for continuing to be the Filemaker Guru!

I have a FileMaker database with 4000+ records and an intern is deleting records by mistake pretty frequently. Do you know of a way to prevent accidental deletions (I read your validation solution) and still be able to edit the record easily?

My first reaction would be to introduce record level access privileges to the database system. Record Level Security is the method of controlling a users access privileges on a record by record basis. I've written about it in the past, here is just one of those posts (click here).

Although I really like this FileMaker feature, it may not be the solution that best fits your needs. You might want to adopt a delete flag system. Remove the ability to delete records from the interns password but add a delete button / delete flag field. When a user wants to delete a record, they click the button, which then sets the flag. They could also set the flag directly but nothing beats a big old red delete button.

Anyway, at the end of the day or so, a user with delete access can find all the flagged records. After doing the find, you may want to export that found set to an archive (or not) or you might want to make a backup of the database for storage (or not). The idea is that you might have a way to rollback deleted records.

Then the user with delete access can review the found set of delete flagged records (or not) before deleting them. The review process can be used to unflag records you know shouldn’t be deleted. It also will give you a chance to see if you can detect any patterns in the accidental deletes. If you detect a pattern, then you can educate the intern/user or build in programming to sidestep accidental deletes going forward.
More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

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