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sets vs tables

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    sets vs tables

    I'm building a typical sales app that is a conversion from a Lotus Approach app. In Approach, all the tables are linked together (primary key to foreign key), so there is a path from any record to any other record (for example, invoice->lineitem->product). In Alpha I can create a set, I'm calling it Universe, that reproduces the linkages in Approach. My question is, is there a significant performance penalty if I use Universe for all forms, browses, etc.? So far I've been creating minimal sets (i.e., link only the necessary tables for a particular form). My current database is small enough that I don't see a difference between Universe and minimal sets. Any information about what might I expect when much larger tables are underlying the sets?



    Re: sets vs tables

    It is most unusual to have an app with tables that can all be linked in any fashion. Perhaps Salesman -> Vendor Address would be an example. Fitting everything into a 1-1 set would be very limiting.


      Re: sets vs tables

      There is no storage overhead in using sets. Sets are merely the linkage definitions. Given that, it wouldn't make much sense and would slow things down to create a browse of the universe set using only customer fields to display customer information. A browse based solely on the customer table would be the way to go. A set based on customer to invoice_header would make sense to display customer purchase history.
      There can be only one.


        Re: sets vs tables

        The article collection at www.learn will be invaluable to anyone coming to Alpha Five (Desktop) from Approach.

        Two articles directly pertinent to your conversion project:

        1) Simplify your application for added performance;


        2) memos and browses that work

        -- tom


          Re: sets vs tables

          Thanks to all for the responses. I was trying to be lazy, but it sounds as if, though there's no space penalty for using "Universe", there may be a performance penalty. That would seem to mean that Alpha doesn't try to figure out which parts of a set are actually used in a form. That's not unreasonable, but it would have been nice if it had been so.

          I will look at www.learn - thanks for the pointer.



            Re: sets vs tables

            Don't know anything about Approach but in Alpha a form or browse is only a means of viewing the records in a table or set. If you build either a form or a browse on a set, all records in the set are available and to some extent "in the way" when you are only concerned with certain tables.

            If you view the default browse for a set you will see multiple browse rows (and parent table values) for each one to many child record. If you view the default form for a set you must navigate (page down) through the set records for each one to many child record before the parent value shown will change.

            Creating a saved browse or form and only putting child records on same doesn't change the underlying structure, only changes what you see.
            There can be only one.


              Re: sets vs tables

              Thanks to the feedback I've gotten, it's occurred to me how to do an experiment that will answer my question conclusively. Let's say I have two tables, A with 20 rows, and B with 3 rows. Each row in A is linked to one row in B, so a set formed by AB will have 20 rows. If I do a browse of AB and display only the columns from B, depending upon how the set is scanned, I should get either 20 rows, or 3 rows. The result depends upon whether the way sets are scanned is by "constructing" the set on the fly, or by determining which components of the set are involved in the result, and reconstructing only the part of the set that's involved. The latter approach is evidently the way Approach processes queries on their data - in approach, I'd get 3 rows in the result. A5 always enforces the "structure" of the set, even if the entire set is not used, so we get 20 rows in the result. I've seen threads about very large SEM files. It looks as if having all my tables in one set and hanging all forms, etc off the set would possibly result in an enormous sem file, so that may be further impetus to avoid such a structure.

              That bottom line is, everyone who responded is right. Thanks again.



                Re: sets vs tables

                The set specification takes up very little room in the set's dictionaries. However, lots of other things get stored there.

                What? you may ask...

                Well check the help file topic: Alpha Five File Types

                To learn what's stored where in an alpha desktop app.


                  Re: sets vs tables


                  I knew the "Approach" and still using a program which made by it. The term "Joint" is called "Set" in the Alpha. Alpha does not allow the "Multiply-Line data" in their browse which Approach can do.

                  See this http://www.learn


                    Re: sets vs tables

                    Sandy, if you have used Lotus Agenda you will appreciate the linking that Lotus is capable of.
                    Nightmare, and then parsing/logical flow is intimidating.
                    See our Hybrid Option here;

                    We are the
                    Department of Sunshine and Rainbows!

                    Hope restored, faith renewed, spirits lifted!


                      Re: sets vs tables

                      When dbf tables are going to be very large in records and lots of fields, I tend to break them up into separate tables of 80-120 fields and link in a set one to one. Using one as the "master" table. Any one to many conections are made from the one "master".

                      I do have tables linked to the master more than one time in a couple of apps for various reasons.
                      Dave Mason
                      [email protected]
                      Skype is dave.mason46