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Thread: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

  1. #1
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    Default DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    I need some help from the experts designing a A5v10 application before I start heading down the wrong road.

    I am starting to design a reporting application for our payroll system (Advanced Micro Solutions’ 1099-Etc) to supplement their standard reports. There are multiple clients and multiple years. Overall structure is:

    F:\ <<== Payroll drive
    1099.w08\ <<== 2008 program directory
    MHM\ <<== Client directory
    pyd2008.dbf <<== Check table (each record is a separate check, ssn link)
    pye2008.dbf <<== Employee info table (employee name, ssn, address, etc)
    BHC\ <<== Client directory
    pyd2008.dbf <<== Check table (each record is a separate check, ssn link)
    pye2008.dbf <<== Employee info table (employee name, ssn, address, etc)
    1099.w09\ <<== 2009 program directory
    MHM\ <<== Client directory
    pyd2009.dbf <<== Check table (each record is a separate check, ssn link)
    pye2009.dbf <<== Employee info table (employee name, ssn, address, etc)
    BHC\ <<== Client directory
    pyd2009.dbf <<== Check table (each record is a separate check, ssn link)
    pye2009.dbf <<== Employee info table (employee name, ssn, address, etc)

    Normally I need to report by client by year, however, it also would be nice to report by client over multiple years. There is one strange issue: AMS only stores the month and day (12/26) in the check date field so I have to somehow create a new date field which combines the check date field and the year in the file name (12/26/2009).

    Any help and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Bill Thompson

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    I just looked at the post and the formatting really got messed up. I have attached a file with the correct formatting.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    Boy, that's rough. AMS likes a busy segregated directory/file structure, whereas Alpha like everything in one directory and ideally - one table for each discrete data "set". You would have to plan on doing data importing into two tables - checks & employees with a 1:1 set linking the two. Then base your report upon the set. Presumably you could do a "one time" import of all the necessary records from each of the relevant tables. If not, you would have to set up a script to dynamically import records on an as-need basis (much more complex). In your import you would add a new year field w. a default value (2009, 2008, etc) for each data set. If you dynamic script import you would have to read the directory name to get the year and insert that into the records as they are imported.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    Peter thank you for your response. I think I'm still keeping to the thread by exploring the methodology to accomplish the feat since it does have an impact on the design. If not please let me know and I'll start a new thread in the A5V10 area.

    AMS is structured in the "traditional" way to insure data integrity and separation.

    I have always used VB6 and Access to report against the data. Both are cumbersome but their flexibility has allowed me to make workable solutions. For various reasons I have committed to changing all of the supplemental reporting functions to A5. The last month has seen me viewing numerous videos, reading documentation, and pouring over the message board. I think I am finally starting to think in the A5 way. It has been a long and frustrating journey and I'm still not to the final destination but hopefully by changing tools I can be more productive in the future. (For the developers' benefit the main reason for changing tools is A5's implementation of Ajax. I have purchased A5V8 and A5V9 but have not taken the leap to change until A5V10.)

    The A5 application will never change the original payroll data files. The only use is for supplemental reporting.

    AMS data files are in .db format though I don't know what program AMS is using. I have successfully used the files in A5V10 by "Adding a Table/Set".

    There are about 100 clients. Each client has a maximum of 100 employees and writes a maximum of 1000 checks per year. Each AMS employee record has 250 fields. Each AMS check record has 72 fields. I don't need to use all of the fields in either file. The max size for a 2009 employee file is 200k and the max for a check file is 750k. Currently I'm thinking I will start with 6 years of check data.

    All previous year data is static. Obviously, current year data changes as the year progresses.

    I agree that the easiest and proper way to report against the data is to convert the structure to two tables, checks and employees linked by SSN.

    I still believe that the A5 data should be separated by client to retain integrity but this may be my accounting thinking. What do you think?

    I don't know what method should be used to get the data into A5. What do you think? From messages on the board it appears that shadow files, import, or append are all options.

    Should I rebuild the A5 tables for all years each time the program is run? Should I only add new records? Should I only add records for one client or all clients?

    I visualize the program flow as:

    1. User selects a client from a list.
    2. User selects from a list of actual check dates and/or from a date range.
    3. Selected checks are displayed in a browse or a grid with totals.
    4. User may print the selected checks with totals.
    5. User may create an ascii file of the selected records that can be uploaded to external agencies.

    Peter your help is greatly appreciated. I think all of the issues and questions above have an impact on the design before I get started. Then comes the hard part.

    Bill Thompson

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator Peter.Greulich's Avatar
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    Default Re: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    Judging by what you say, you seem to have a good grasp of things. I'm not sure what you want to do can be done w. action scripting alone. You will likely need to learn xbasic to iterate through the folders and extract the data. It's a complex little challenge that you have. The alternative is to manually import each of your individual dbs into the two proposed tables - employees & checks.

    Quote Originally Posted by bt900 View Post
    I still believe that the A5 data should be separated by client to retain integrity but this may be my accounting thinking. What do you think?
    I wouldn't. I assume that each client has a unique client_id, so it is trivial to query by client once you have the data in A5.

    I don't know what method should be used to get the data into A5. What do you think? From messages on the board it appears that shadow files, import, or append are all options.
    Not sure about shadow, although I think I know what you are referring to (i.e. hot swapping tables), but I would go w. import & append.

    Should I rebuild the A5 tables for all years each time the program is run? Should I only add new records? Should I only add records for one client or all clients?
    Given your apparent knowledge and understanding, I would go for the gold. Import all the data and do incremental imports when needed.

    You may have already done this, but I would import one data set - employees & checks, first. Create your linked set and build the report you are after. If that comes out the way you like, start coding your user interface and import code.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DB Design for Multi-Client, Multi-Year

    Thanka for your thoughts Peter.

    I'm off to the races!

    Bill Thompson

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