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Merging and updating records

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  • Merging and updating records

    We are using 4.03 on multiple laptop computers that are not linked by a network. We have 3 different users on 3 different laptops that are updating the same database that is stored locally on each hard drive. Is there a way at the end of each week to export records from each laptop and merge them together in one master database?

  • #2
    RE: Merging and updating records

    Steve, there are several ways to do this.

    One approach would be to copy the table's structure to a new table.
    Open the new table, and append all the records from each laptop's copy of the table.
    Then identify and delete unwanted duplicates.

    Check out the tbl.append() operation described in Chapter 24 of the xbasic reference manual. There are ways to filter appends so that only unique records are added... this may be useful once you get the new table filled the first time.

    -- tom

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    • #3
      RE: Merging and updating records

      Tom,

      Thank you! I will try that.

      Steve Keller

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: Merging and updating records

        Tom,

        Thanks for the input. What about records that are edited since the last time the master file was appended, rather than new ones that are added. We would want the edited (up to date) record to replace the older (out of date) record. Is this possible?

        Steve

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        • #5
          RE: Merging and updating records

          Yes, but it gets difficult. Reminds me of my old 'sneaker net' days... back before we put our local area network in place, I used to put on my sneakers and move updated copies of our database to each workstation by visiting each station on foot.

          There are basically two approaches:

          1) rebuild the entire consolidated table each time, by copying or appending everything from all the separate users, and then stripping out the dupes... Figuring out what definition to use for a 'duplicate record' can be tricky.

          - or -

          2) figure out how you are going to spot changes, and then add only the changed items to the consolidated table.

          Changes come in two types: new records, and edits to existing records.

          Since two people, working independently, may make separate changes to the same transaction record, it gets very hard to figure out which is the one to retain, or whether you should consolidate the changes into a single record somehow. Similarly, two people, working independently, may try to add the same transaction record, but with slight differences. Which do you keep? How do you spot it?


          Difficulties also occur if some of the users want to delete records, but others don't... what will you do?


          Perhaps a better design would be to distribute copies of the consolidtated table but prevent the users from changing any of its records. Instead, design a form they could use to store changes they want to make. These 'pending changes' tables could be collected periodically and you could compare and validate them on your own, before adding them to the central table.




          Comment


          • #6
            RE: Merging and updating records

            Yes, but it gets difficult. Reminds me of my old 'sneaker net' days... back before we put our local area network in place, I used to put on my sneakers and move updated copies of our database to each workstation by visiting each station on foot.

            There are basically two approaches:

            1) rebuild the entire consolidated table each time, by copying or appending everything from all the separate users, and then stripping out the dupes... Figuring out what definition to use for a 'duplicate record' can be tricky.

            - or -

            2) figure out how you are going to spot changes, and then add only the changed items to the consolidated table.

            Changes come in two types: new records, and edits to existing records.

            Since two people, working independently, may make separate changes to the same transaction record, it gets very hard to figure out which is the one to retain, or whether you should consolidate the changes into a single record somehow. Similarly, two people, working independently, may try to add the same transaction record, but with slight differences. Which do you keep? How do you spot it?


            Difficulties also occur if some of the users want to delete records, but others don't... what will you do?


            Perhaps a better design would be to distribute copies of the consolidtated table but prevent the users from changing any of its records. Instead, design a form they could use to store changes they want to make. These 'pending changes' tables could be collected periodically and you could compare and validate them on your own, before adding them to the central table.




            Comment


            • #7
              RE: Merging and updating records

              Steve;
              As someonest the best who had to deal with your problem for many years before setting up a local network (by the way, the best ultimate solution for your problem ... and not difficult nor expensive to implement), I would suggest the most reliable and efficient methodology would be to "post" your updates regularly to the "master" database which would be located on one machine. Each of your 3 stations should be responsible for only a "part" of any updates i.e. station #1 would do updates for records 1 -100, station #2 101-200, station #3 301-400 etc. Alternatively each station could be responsible for updating specific "fields" on all the records.

              Then, at the end of the day (or week, or month),the "master database" is updated via posting. This means that you are more likely to have accurate data and there is only one "master" database.

              Hope this might help,
              Duncan

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