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Database design advice

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  • Database design advice

    We have an existing database that we have been using for years and has become the backbone of our business.

    When the database was developed, all company information (name, address ,telephone, etc etc) was manually included in every report, letter, etc.

    The powers to be now want all this information to be editable via a 'company information' form. This form needs to allow them to change all company information and any other fields used throughout the database that have default values (past due messages, invoice notes, etc).

    My initial thought was to create a 'company info' table with a field for every value they want to be able to edit. This would also require linking this table to every other table in the database via a set. All existing reports and letters would have to be recreated referencing the new set. This seems like way too much work and too much overhead on system resources.

    My other thought is to create a 'company information' form and set an 'onsave' event that sets all of the editable fields to a global variable. I could set these variables globally on startup and change the values when a field is changed on the company information form. All reports and letters would have to be edited referencing the new variables but at least new sets would not have to be created.

    Am I overlooking anything in my 'variable' option?

    Thanks for the help

  • #2
    Re: Database design advice

    I prefer to use global variables initialized on startup.

    This article at has been a big help.


    • #3
      Re: Database design advice

      Originally posted by Mark Williams View Post
      This would also require linking this table to every other table in the database via a set. All existing reports and letters would have to be recreated referencing the new set. This seems like way too much work and too much overhead on system resources.

      Am I overlooking anything in my 'variable' option?
      1. A little additional work with the sets, but I don't see it as overwhelming. Sets are very efficient and you can copy the report/form to the new set and then the work to change is very similar to the work needed with global variables.

      2. If user 1 changes the table and his global variables, how does user 2 know that the table values have changed?
      Al Buchholz
      Bookwood Systems, LTD
      Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

      Occam's Razor - KISS
      Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
      Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
      When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.
      "Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
      Albert Einstein


      • #4
        Re: Database design advice

        Mark, with 20:20 hindsight, the Company Demographics Table is part of any application which is going to be sold to more than one user, so most developers would have included the table from which all data would be used on reports and letters etc.
        The good thing is you only have to do it once, and linking tables using sets is easy as Al mentions.
        If you plan carefully, you can set up one report based on the demographic data, copy the section and insert it into another report. It won't get rid of the work, but it will reduce it.
        I use this approach when developing user action buttons, and have a dummy form with all of the common theme items laid out as I want them to appear. If save fiddling later and looks consistent.
        See our Hybrid Option here;


        • #5
          Re: Database design advice

          I had to set this up many years ago and thanks to people like Tom Cone and others it has worked flawlessly.

          Company information table
          edited only by authorized persons
          read at app start up into global variables
          global variables are then used where ever needed throughout the app.

          This is used not only for the company info, but many of the company defaults like: tax rate, discounts, etc.
          Dave Mason

          Skype is dave.mason46