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Beginner desperately at sea over portals


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Hello, I apologise if this is the wrong place to post such as basic question, but here goes. I've built a database for our publishing company, a central resource that contains all details of our books, and the key field in each record is the books product id. This isn't a relational database, just a collection of (a lot) of fields that cover all the book's history, from commission to going out of print. I also have a separate file which contains all the available specialist magazines to which we send books for review. Each record in this file has a numerical index (1, 2, 3, etc.,) and the magazine name, address, etc. When I started this, I also included repeating fields in this file to contain details of which books were sent to which magazine for review (hpe you're following this).


I now want to use the magazine file purely as an inventory of potential reviewers, and include a portal in the central resource file to show which mags were sent copies of a given book for review. However, for some reason, I can't get to grips with portals (I've read the sections in the Filemaker manual, even the filemaker Missing Manual, but my brain just can't 'do' portals.


Please, any help, pointers, tips, etc., would be very welcome.





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Think of a portal as a window within a window.


You want, in this case, a portal to a third table, not to magazines itself. You aren't creating new magazines as the children of your books! What you are doing, instead, is creating new records of review-sendings, each record of which would be related to the book that's being reviewed and also to the magazine that would be receiving it in order to review it.


So that third table would have a field for product ID, and one for Magazine (or possibly one for Magazine ID and a second one for Magazine name), and probably one for Issue Date, and Sent Date, and Status, and whatever else you would want to track about the sending of a particular took to a magazine to be reviewed.


And you would put your portal on one of your Books layouts. You would set up the relationship between Books and ReviewSendings so that it allows creation of records through this relationship on the ReviewSendings side of the relationship (this option is a checkbox in the New Relationships dialog).


And you would want a dropdown value list consisting of all values for the Magazine Name field in Magazine (or for Magazine ID showing also Magazine name, if you're doing it that way) at attach that value to list to the Magazine field in the portal to ReviewSending. So to create a new record in ReviewSendings, you'd do a Find for the relevant Book, go to the portal, click on Magazine and pick the correct Magazine from the drop-down list of all magazines. Then you fill in the other fields.


I think what was throwing you off is that you were trying to figure out how to tie Books to Magazines. But each book would have many magazines associated with it (or could have, at least), and each magazine would be receiving many different books from you to review (most likely). So it's what we call a "many to many relationship". The table ReviewSending is what is called a "join file" — it represents the intersections of the other two tables.

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Mate, that's fantastic. I've just done it! After weeks of pratting around with manuals (and missing manuals) I've done it. You've really got a gift for making it simple (ever thought of writing a manual?)


Thanks a lot.



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