As a follow on the the blog on using Filemaker as a separate stand alone database, I thought I might expand on it a little with a demo scenario, and show you just how and why to create it.
I'll start with a Vectorworks tree database, as that is currently on my mind, my drawing will require several tree symbols that need to represent the position of the tree and some text to let us know what the tree is, a unique identifier and some general data to record it's size and canopy spread, an interesting feature of 2013 is the ability to scale any symbol both symmetrically and asymmetrically.
Before I do anything I have set up my tree symbols, each is classed with a unique class set, so I can add say autumn winter and summer colours. Next I must decide upon the information I want to keep on the drawing, and as a separate filemaker database. I recommend doing it now rather than later, as adding and altering a large database is sometimes imposible and nearly always a pain, so plan now. Plus is this a 2D or 3D drawing, I try now to make all mine 2D symbols in Layer plane mode, it helps.
First the style of the unique identifier, it's going to be with me for a long time, so I intend to,,,,,, take my time, and give it some thought, I have already done this and have chosen 20130001, being 2013 the year I started the database, 0001 the counter, to large an identifier will not look good on the drawing so keep it as short as you can. You could use a shorter year, or letters, but using letters in a database field might a cause problems later.
Next the field name list for both the drawing and the external file. On the drawing I plan to limit to just a few fields, the identifier, the Taxon, or latin species name, the common name, the overall height, the canopy spread and the trunk width, although on the drawing it will only ever have two or less text fileds.
For the main database I will add as above, plus:
Notes, photos,inspection reports, it general location in the garden, and plant date if known.
Now I can set up the drawing database, by going to the resource browser, and adding a new resource, look at my YouTube video for this, next I need to add a link from each text on the symbol to the data, again have a look at my YouTube video for this.
Don't forget to add a separate class to your list for the symbols placement, you don't want it to be turned of accidentally, same goes for the symbol text.
Now we can add data, and plot trees, drag the correct symbol from your trees resource browser and place it in the correct position, go to the data tab on the Object info pallet and click on the right file, go down to the lower panel, click on the field, and add the data in the bottom window.
There is not yet any way to add a link from the vectorworks drawing, to auto update the FileMaker list, there are some export functions, but until we get further into this subject, lets leave it alone and keep this as simple as we can, so I am afraid it's a hand transfer, so limit the survey number to say 10, before you add the new trees to the FileMaker database, you might want to add a small print sheet, with a spreadsheet listing the new trees, to the drawing you can print off, that will aid the transfer.
Now we need to make a simple FileMaker database, it's not that hard, but certain things need to be understood, and in the next blog on this I will go over it's creation, and use both on the stand alone machine and on the iPad. Plus we need to look at syncing.