Very NEW....need direction

Very NEW....need direction

Post by Jeni » Sun, 24 Oct 1999 04:00:00



I am very new to FileMaker and to make a long story short, I work for a
small government office and am the most experienced computer person
there.  (mainly data processing and spreadsheets)  The problem is, my
director has done some checking around about data bases and has bought
filemaker pro (4.1) and handed me the box and said, "create a data base
by November 15".  UGH...I have been pouring over the manuel that came
with the software and I am either making something easy, hard....or I
am simply not "open minded" enough to understand it.

What I am asking, is for guidence, either by directing the way to go or
to direct me to a laymans book to get.  I don't have a lot of time so
the quickest way possible would be appreciated. (in short of hiring
someone else to do it, which I know he won't do, i am on my own).

Just a little of what I am trying to do and what we are about. We are a
court administered drug and * program and we have a client base
of over 800 cases, and presently we are doing everything on paper.
(don't cringe)  *smile*.........and we are required to turn in
statistical reports annually (basically demographics....age, gender,
charge, referral...etc)  I currently have been playing around with fmp
and have everything in ONE file....with over 40 fields.  My questions
is...would it be easier to break them down into individual files....ex.
client information, client court history, client referral information.

We currently also keep a ledger sheet on each individual.....I am sure
there is a way to incorporate all this together, just not sure HOW.

I am sorry to sound at such a lost, but in reality, I AM!  Any
direction of help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Frustrated in Indiana,

Jeni

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Very NEW....need direction

Post by Paul E. Est » Sun, 24 Oct 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> Just a little of what I am trying to do and what we are about. We are a
> court administered drug and * program and we have a client base
> of over 800 cases, and presently we are doing everything on paper.
> (don't cringe)  *smile*.........and we are required to turn in
> statistical reports annually (basically demographics....age, gender,
> charge, referral...etc)  I currently have been playing around with fmp
> and have everything in ONE file....with over 40 fields.  My questions
> is...would it be easier to break them down into individual files....ex.
> client information, client court history, client referral information.

> We currently also keep a ledger sheet on each individual.....I am sure
> there is a way to incorporate all this together, just not sure HOW.

> I am sorry to sound at such a lost, but in reality, I AM!  Any
> direction of help will be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks!

> Frustrated in Indiana,

> Jeni

Hey Jeni,

Hang in there. Ok well you have your database of 40 fields that looks like
the form you used. Stop working on it and save it for the 11/15 if he even
bothers to ask for it. In the mean time, you need to take a little time
and start to learn how relationships work. The idea is that you record
individual data once, when you start to have lots of records duplication
sucks. It's ok for just annual reports on demographics and such but you
can make filemaker do much more including managing the whole client
contact process.

A more realistic approach is to give yourself a january deadline and do it
right.

Some concepts you have to learn are how to map out data. It is important
to identify one to one, one to many and many to many relationships. To use
these properly you will want to learn how to use portals, lookups and key
fields

The first obvious issue is that clients keep coming back, but the client
info is largely the same. His name and DOB is unlikely to change but his
address might. Do you care to track what his old address was, if you do
you will want another database for just addresses (1 to many).

You probably refer these clients to the same group of treatment programs
(many to many). To set up this you will need the client database to talk
to a line items (captures the clients attendance in treatment) database
which in turn is linked to the treatment database which has the data
specific to the treatment program.

The same scenario I assume for the courts, many courts to many clients,
and many appearances. Again a line items file is required.

I guess I would first recommend you get a book. There are many good ones
out there. Work through the examples and learn some of the concepts. Map
your structure out on paper and then try to build it. Learn to use
scriptmaker to tie all the files together and make navigation easy. Also
there are many consultants out there that could give you a start or build
the whole solution for a fee. I love filemaker, it's amazing what it can
do once you get the hang of it, but it takes time to learn to do things
right. I learn things about it every day ;)

Don't give up if you are not satisfied with your 11/15 product.

Paul E.

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Very NEW....need direction

Post by Jeni » Sun, 24 Oct 1999 04:00:00


Hi Paul,

First off, thanks for your encouragement.  I think I need all that I
can get.  I am hoping to get book on FileMaker Pro tomorrow, and read
and play around with that.

I am going to have to go in and talk with my boss on Monday and tell
him that the November 15th date is not rational or doable at this time.
I want to do this right, so I suppose I will be spending a lot of
evenings right here in front of the tube!

I appreciate your direction and will look into the items that you
suggested.  Any other help you want to give will be appreciated too.

Thanks again,

Jeni

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Very NEW....need direction

Post by Jeni » Mon, 25 Oct 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> Probably.  If you have exactly one thing for every client (e.g.
> an address) then it should go into the main file.  If you have
> zero or more, then you should probably make a related file to
> keep that information.

So, if I understand you correctly, items such as SSN's, DOB's, Phone
Numbers....should go into a main "client" file, because there is only
"one" of that type of information, right?  And due to there being more
than one court or more than one treatment facility, that would go into
a related file?  (oh God in heaven, please let me see the light)
*smile*

Quote:> Give your clients a code (could be just a serial number, may be
> something more complicated) and use the code to relate the
> files.  Do /not/ base the code on any interesting information,
> e.g. name, address.

Okay, so I have a "referral number" assigned to every client, that is
not repeated.  This could be the "serial number" that you speak of.
Which I have kind of figured out on my own, there!  (surprise)

Quote:> > We currently also keep a ledger sheet on each individual.....I
> am sure
> > there is a way to incorporate all this together, just not sure
> HOW.

General recommendation to those who're learning FMP:

Quote:> Forget your current problem until you've worked through the
> manual.  Oh, you don't need every page, so don't read the
> bit on passwords if you don't need passwords, but you don't
> know what features you need until you've seen them.
> Once you've finished the manual you'll turn back to your own
> task and it'll be obvious how to do it.

I have read through most of the User's manual and am getting another
book sometime this week. The FileMaker Prog Bible was recommended by
several of you out there, so that is the one I am getting.  Hopefully
that will help out, quit a bit.

Quote:> >November 15
> You should have something to show him or her by then.  It
> may not be whatever you finally end up with.  You're being
> asked to learn how to design databases which, I assume, is
> not what you were hired for.

You are exactly right, I was not hired to do this kind of thing.  I am
an *ions counselor for heavens sake!  This is enough to make me go
out and seek one!  LOL  It's just that I am the most computer literate
in our office and am expected to come up with something!

Quote:> Oh, and I'm quite sure that FileMaker is a very good tool
> to do this with.

From what I have seen, this looks to be the easiest to work with,
FileMaker Pro that is.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my request for direction, Simon.
I truly appreciate it.  It still isn't real clear to me yet, but I am
working on it! Thanks, very much!

Jeni

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Very NEW....need direction

Post by Simon Slav » Tue, 26 Oct 1999 04:00:00




> I currently have been playing around with fmp
> and have everything in ONE file....with over 40 fields.  My questions
> is...would it be easier to break them down into individual files....ex.
> client information, client court history, client referral information.

Probably.  If you have exactly one thing for every client (e.g.
an address) then it should go into the main file.  If you have
zero or more, then you should probably make a related file to
keep that information.

Give your clients a code (could be just a serial number, may be
something more complicated) and use the code to relate the
files.  Do /not/ base the code on any interesting information,
e.g. name, address.

Quote:> We currently also keep a ledger sheet on each individual.....I am sure
> there is a way to incorporate all this together, just not sure HOW.

General recommendation to those who're learning FMP:

Forget your current problem until you've worked through the
manual.  Oh, you don't need every page, so don't read the
bit on passwords if you don't need passwords, but you don't
know what features you need until you've seen them.

Once you've finished the manual you'll turn back to your own
task and it'll be obvious how to do it.

Quote:>November 15

You should have something to show him or her by then.  It
may not be whatever you finally end up with.  You're being
asked to learn how to design databases which, I assume, is
not what you were hired for.

Oh, and I'm quite sure that FileMaker is a very good tool
to do this with.

Simon.
--
http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk | John Peel:
No junk email please.          |  [My daughter] has modelled herself on you.
                               | Courtney Love:
                               |  Oh, I'm so sorry.

 
 
 

Very NEW....need direction

Post by Michae » Tue, 26 Oct 1999 04:00:00


Don't give up... you'll never learn a more powerful tool in a shorter
timeframe than what you can with FileMaker!  Having said that, go out an buy
a copy of "The FileMaker Pro Bible" by Steven Schultz.  It is a great book
with a simple tutorial that walks you through basic relationships and can
teach you some of the concepts you need to start applying them to your
sitiuation.
If you step away from your immediate work need for just a few days you can
get up on the learning curve a bit without feeling like you have a gun to
your head.
Most of us developers look at each sitiuation in light of past solutions and
how we can build on what we did the last time.  So start out with FMP with
something that your not so "attached" to... Who knows maybe mid-November
won't feel so daunting after next week!?!


Quote:> I am very new to FileMaker and to make a long story short, I work for a
> small government office and am the most experienced computer person
> there.  (mainly data processing and spreadsheets)  The problem is, my
> director has done some checking around about data bases and has bought
> filemaker pro (4.1) and handed me the box and said, "create a data base
> by November 15".  UGH...I have been pouring over the manuel that came
> with the software and I am either making something easy, hard....or I
> am simply not "open minded" enough to understand it.

> What I am asking, is for guidence, either by directing the way to go or
> to direct me to a laymans book to get.  I don't have a lot of time so
> the quickest way possible would be appreciated. (in short of hiring
> someone else to do it, which I know he won't do, i am on my own).

> Just a little of what I am trying to do and what we are about. We are a
> court administered drug and * program and we have a client base
> of over 800 cases, and presently we are doing everything on paper.
> (don't cringe)  *smile*.........and we are required to turn in
> statistical reports annually (basically demographics....age, gender,
> charge, referral...etc)  I currently have been playing around with fmp
> and have everything in ONE file....with over 40 fields.  My questions
> is...would it be easier to break them down into individual files....ex.
> client information, client court history, client referral information.

> We currently also keep a ledger sheet on each individual.....I am sure
> there is a way to incorporate all this together, just not sure HOW.

> I am sorry to sound at such a lost, but in reality, I AM!  Any
> direction of help will be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks!

> Frustrated in Indiana,

> Jeni

> * Sent from RemarQ http://www.veryComputer.com/ The Internet's Discussion Network
*
> The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!

 
 
 

Very NEW....need direction

Post by Simon Slav » Thu, 28 Oct 1999 04:00:00




> > Probably.  If you have exactly one thing for every client (e.g.
> > an address) then it should go into the main file.  If you have
> > zero or more, then you should probably make a related file to
> > keep that information.

> So, if I understand you correctly, items such as SSN's, DOB's, Phone
> Numbers....should go into a main "client" file, because there is only
> "one" of that type of information, right?  And due to there being more
> than one court or more than one treatment facility, that would go into
> a related file?  (oh God in heaven, please let me see the light)
> *smile*

Yep.  Everyone has a name, so that goes in the 'client' file.
For the sake of simplicity, assume everyone has one address
(maybe two if you need their work address) and one phone number
(or three if you need work and mobile numbers).  That all goes
in the master file, and if you don't need to put something in
all the fields, you can just leave it blank.

But you may have a client who has made twenty court appearences
and had four sets of treatment.  You don't want to reserve all
those fields for every client so you make a 'court appearances'
file with one record for appearance and a 'treatments' file
with one record per treatment.  Each record in those files has
a 'client' field which holds the client code (probably a serial
number) which relates it to a record in the client file.

FileMaker has facilities that let you see the client's name
while looking at a treatment record and lets you put a portal
on the client layout so you can see a summary of the court and
treatment details in related records.  You can even set it up
so that you can click on a line in the portal and it'll open a
window showing the appropriate record in the other file.

It looks like you totally understand this.  It would be a good
way to start building your solution.  Then you can figure-out
how to add the other stuff on.

Quote:> It's just that I am the most computer literate
> in our office and am expected to come up with something!

Maybe you can get a pay rise.  Good luck with it, and don't
be afraid to post again when you hit a problem.  I learned a
lot about FileMaker by reading this group.

Simon.
--
http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk | John Peel:
No junk email please.          |  [My daughter] has modelled herself on you.
                               | Courtney Love:
                               |  Oh, I'm so sorry.

 
 
 

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