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Design Question - Best method?

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  • CALocklin
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    Oops! Deleted.
    Last edited by CALocklin; 07-28-2010, 04:49 PM.

    Leave a comment:

  • CALocklin
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    Originally posted by jmorrison View Post
    ...If you need to know anything else, just let me know. Thanks!

    No need to know more. I just wanted to make you aware of this issue. I see too many people who try too hard to recreate what the customer is familiar with rather than looking at the overall job critically and determining if you can do something better than what they've been doing.

    That requires thinking in terms of "what does the customer really need to accomplish here - what is the end goal, how can we provide better information and/or a better methodology for them, and what is the best method of accomplishing that".

    Just doing what the customer asks may make you a good developer in the customer's eyes but helping them make it even better will make you a great developer.

    For example, I had a customer that was putting in miles from City A to City B based on a printed list she had developed over the years. Each time another delivery was made from City A to City B she had to look it up and type it in. That was what she was used to and what she wanted but then I showed her how the database could keep track of any city-to-city distances she input so that she wouldn't have to look up any that had previously been entered. When she saw what the database could do and how much time it could save her, there was no question about doing it but we did have to make one minor adjustment before implementing the new method.

    Of course, you should get approval before implementing your bettter idea!
    Last edited by CALocklin; 07-28-2010, 04:48 PM.

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  • jmorrison
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    Tim -

    The record is of work to be done in the future. 95% of all the jobs they do are contractual, so they have a specific day of the week they go out tot he property, and the frequency sheets tell them how many times a month they do something. The individual weekly schedule is more fluid, it has to be what with weather, crews, and just plain Murphy striking, they just have to make sure they hit their target on a monthly basis, and don't forget things like fertilizing once every two months or some such thing out of the normal weekly maintenance, hence the Frequency Sheets.

    CAL -

    I had never thought of it that way before, but to be perfectly honest, they don't want something that sophisticated. This is not for anything that's scheduled for a specific time. Most of their appointments are done on a fluid time schedule of just whatever day that particular week they have open. Rarely do they agree to a time, but since most of the work is commercial, it doesn't have to be on a time sensitive basis as long as the work gets done by a specific date. Even the residential jobs are usually booked as "morning" and "after lunch" depending on the scope of the job and what else is planned for the day. The main thing they are looking for is a way to sit and consolidate all of the sheets they get from the property managers into one location so they can print everything out as needed, i.e. to show all the properties and what needs to be done in one month, or to show a single property for an entire year, or a specific month. They get over a 100 of these frequency sheets at the beginning of the year from different property managers, they all look different, and are organized differently. They really just want a better way to view that data without having to keep stacks of these around and go through them each individually every month when they do the schedule. I hope that makes more sense. If you need to know anything else, just let me know. Thanks!


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  • CALocklin
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    You also might want to think in terms of "what do they really NEED to accomplish here" vs. "what do they WANT to accomplish here."

    It sounds to me like someone had a spreadsheet and they created these rows and columns and, since that's what they've been doing, that's what they still think they want to do.

    A spreadsheet is NOT a database and creating a database that just copies what was done in a spreadsheet is a waste of time, resources, and capabilities.

    I'm just thinking off the top of my head here but it seems to me that it might be good to create a few different routines:
    - one that would show what is scheduled by month. (for general planning)
    - one that would show more specific schedules (specific dates/times) for a given month. (for more specific planning - especially if a customer wants to schedule a specific date/time)
    - one that would find the best time and day for a specific job. (perhaps with the logic of "find the first unscheduled date/time in august" or, in case the customer has a "day of the week" issue, "find the first unsheduled date/time on a Tuesday in August".

    One to the good/bad things about databases is their power. You can do a LOT of things with a database that you never considered with a spreadsheet. The bad part of that is that you will keep finding new things the database application can do for you and it keeps evolving and getting more and more complicated.

    Leave a comment:

  • Tim Kiebert
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    Is the data entered into the Frequency List a record of the work that has been done or of what needs to be done?

    Leave a comment:

  • DaveM
    Re: Design Question - Best method?

    some rethinking may be a good suggestion.

    More tables is rarely the answer. Too hard to pull it all together.

    It seems a table with customer info and then connect those to a table with dates and times to be there for whatever. Maybe a third table with what the whatever to be looked up on data entry.

    Not sure yet, I don't know for sure what you already have. Usually when you have adhocked a table(s) together for a while as you needed, you tend to adhock another way together.

    Suggest you sit down and write it all out and make so entry is easy and the reports can be accomplished that you need.

    Someone may already have close to what you need made up to??


    Leave a comment:

  • jmorrison
    started a topic Design Question - Best method?

    Design Question - Best method?


    I have not had much experience with different methods of design in Alpha, I have simply done the quickest and easiest way for what I needed at the time with little exploration. Here is what I have. I am designing a DB for a landscape company for a friend of mine, and the invoicing, customers, and basic business stuff is easy, and already finished. What I'm not sure of is this. They have Frequency Sheets for all of their properties. These sheets consist of a column on the left side of all the services they offer, such as Mowing, edging, supervisor visits, insect, disease control, litter, weeding, fertilizing etc... and a row above that that lists the 12 months of the year. now, going across the table, they fill in the number of times each month they go out to do whatever at the property. Services on the left (column), and months on top (row). Now, he wants to be able to input all of these whenever he gets a new property, or at the beginning of the year when he gets the new ones from the property management company. He also wants to be able to print out different reports, such as a single month with all of the properties listed across the top instead of the months, or a single year for a single property etc...

    My question sis this: What would be the most efficient way to store and sort all this data? Would it be to have a set, called Frequency with 12 tables, one for each month, and linked via the property name and the year, or is there another way that I'm not thinking of? any help or examples would be appreciated. I'm trying to make this as idiot proof as possible, with the least amount of potential trouble. Thanks!