Chapter 3. Defining and Working with Fields
In this chapter
Working Under the Hood
Fields are the heart of any database. By storing information in properly categorized fields, you impart both function and meaning to what would
If you're new to development in FileMaker Pro, this chapter is a good place to start. No doubt some of the topics we cover will lack a certain context, but establishing a solid foundation in field definition is a
If you have built a few FileMaker Pro databases, you may need only to skim this chapter. Of the topics we cover here, indexing is likely the most advanced; our discussion explores some subtle differences from prior versions of FileMaker Pro.
New Databases Begin with Field Definitions
To create a new database, simply launch FileMaker Pro and then choose F ile, N ew Database. You'll be presented with the option to start with a template or to create a new, empty file. To create a file of your own, select the Create a New Empty File option and click OK.
After you've stepped through these first
Using the Define Database Dialog
When you choose to start on a new, empty database, FileMaker Pro creates a file for you and automatically opens the Define Database dialog (shown in Figure 3.1). As a developer, you'll spend a good bit of time in the three tabs in this dialog. FileMaker Pro's Define Database dialog allows you to create the fields, tables, and relationships you need in order to form your database. It also enables you to modify a wide range of attributes associated with fields, such as
Figure 3.1. The three tabs allow you to switch among defining tables, fields, and relationships.
Notice the active table in Figure 3.1. The fields you define are associated with this selected table.
FileMaker Pro will have already created a default table for you, named the same as the file itself. Notice the Ta b le menu selection on the Fields tab of the dialog in Figure 3.1. Any fields you create will be created in that table.
Notice the third tab in the Define Database dialog: Relationships. We won't be covering multitable relational databases in this chapter, but it is on that tab that you'd create the relational associations among tables in your solution.
Commenting is a vital discipline to develop. Spending a few moments to add information to the
omment text box, below the field
To view comments, toggle between options and comments at the top of your field list.