Existing Forms need Relationship Editing

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  • February 26, 2021 at 8:07 AM #43585

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    Hi,
    When I started using Tap Forms long ago, I really did some overkill on my database organisation and some rather unwieldy file connections, for example Project Overview is connected to Project Planning and somehow connected to clients and client numbers.

    I realise that what I wrote doesn’t make sense, so let it be simplified: I think I have created rather complicated form relationships that don’t make too much sense to me anymore.

    I also created lots of layouts within the forms. (Also a mistake). Simple is easier. Complicated fascinates my mind. Am I correct in assuming that I can just remove layouts without effecting form fields because these are not dependent on layouts? (I do hope so).

    Does anyone have any tips to simplify the forms and their relationships without losing data?

    The forms that are related or should be related are
    client/client number (used for issuing invoices and keeping track of files)
    Project overview – What is the project about
    Project planning
    Acquisitionplaning – which is indirectly related and not connected to the above, but could be
    Contacts
    To Dos

    I am trying to figure out how to make this project management leaner and easier to deal with.

    Thanks
    Regards,
    Kimberley

    ps Brendan: I produced my third Search and Find book using Tap Forms. Number four and five are in process. Yay!

    February 27, 2021 at 1:31 AM #43599

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Kimberly,

    Yes, you can delete a custom layout without affecting any other layouts or the Default Layout. Fields are stored independently of the layouts and the layout objects.

    As for optimizing your current forms structure, I would perhaps recommend creating duplicate of your document using the Duplicate Document command in the File menu.

    Then open up the duplicate and perhaps play around with that without affecting the document that’s working the way you currently have it.

    It’s a tricky thing though to take a certain form structure and reconstruct it while still keeping all the data that you want from the relationships.

    That’s awesome about your books! Congrats!

    Thanks,

    Brendan

    February 27, 2021 at 5:16 AM #43604

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    Thanks. I hadn’t thought about creating a duplicate, but it is a good idea. My web designer does that with my site when I need changes and development executed.

    It was such a breeze this time setting up the book participants. I’ve learned a lot through mistakes and also from checking the tutorials, that keeping an eye on everyone and where I put them in the book helped me sleep at night – you don’t want to forget someone, now, do you?

    I’ve saved that template because it worked well for me and will use it for the next books. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Kimberley

    February 27, 2021 at 8:07 PM #43618

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    One slightly more crazy idea is to just start from scratch again and build up organically. You can use the same document or build a brand new one with something like your master client list exported from your original document. You can keep using your old document but starting clean gives you a blank slate and liberates you from worrying about your old data. Plus it’s not like you’ll throw away that old data too, it’s still there in the older document and you can go to it any time if you need to refer to it.

    For me part of the power of Tap Forms is that you can start with a very basic document and then as you need to add extra fields or track extra behaviours you can add them later. You might find yourself normalising data out with multiple forms or you might end up finding that a pick list does the job sufficiently well.

    February 28, 2021 at 4:13 AM #43631

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    Hi Sam,
    Thanks. That is probably the best idea, but I have two books to draw and that would need a lot of time. I will have to see what is best. It would be a good way of removing unnecessary files, like contacts that no longer exist.
    Regards,
    Kimberley

    July 22, 2021 at 5:22 AM #44841

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    I am going to pick up where I left off. Book number four is at the printers and I am thinking of how to organise the fifth one using Tap Forms. Book number three has been long-listed for the world illustration awards. :)

    Since the file I use for keeping track of my participants works – it is a separate file not connected to any client based files – I was wondering if there were any way to link to the client based file?

    I’ve been giving this some thought. I only need a project file as long as the project is active. After that I prefer to retire it out of view.

    Things that I need for my project file from the client based file would be client, client contact details, client number.

    I would also need to add contact details of people that are involved with the project, but who are not the client. This could include city marketing companies or tourism associations, for example.

    Would it make more sense to just create a field to link other files, separate from the project, as you would with documents or structure it so that the all the files are linked?

    One note here: The participant files are always completely separate documents from the client files.

    I need some room to think out loud now and hopefully get some logical feedback, whilst my mind springs from tree to tree

    Ideally for the project file I would have three forms:
    1. The project detail form

      Project name
      Project number (which is dependent on the client’s number – which is why I really would like to connect it to the client & acquisition file or visa-versa)
      Work hours and details imported from a csv-file (I use Tyme2, which has proven to be very good for me)
      Time planning, like as in a Gant-Chart (page 1 needs to be done by this date, page 2 by then, etc)
      Project description
      Information about repetive characters including a brief description and linked turn-around drawings
      An additional contact list of people involved in the project

    Client information
    Support information (people who are important to talk to, places to draw about)

    2. The participant form
    This form contains cvs-data imported from my newsletter provider
    I might need to add the details (names, ages, addresses if different from the person who organised the participation) to the form. these aren’t contained in the original registration. Germany is very strict about data collection. This would have to be manually added.
    I also use this form to provide the press with statistics. Therefore, I do not wish to create separate entries for people in the groups and family type categories. That would skew everything. This time around I duplicated the entry, changed the number of participants to “0” and put in the address of the person/people pre-ordering books.I use the filter to filter out the number of books pre-ordered so that I can send that information to the publisher to process.

    3. Book pre-orders
    This should populate from the participant form, however as I just experienced this week, people who are in groups pre-order for themselves and aren’t listed personally in the participant form. I can only find them by searching the email registration and the documents submitted. Their addresses are not listed and the books would be billed and delivered to the wrong address otherwise.

    Does anyone see any holes in this? I would appreciate any feedback before I set up the next file. Thanks
    Regards,
    Kimberley

    July 24, 2021 at 2:05 PM #44850

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Kimberly,

    Sorry for my delayed response.

    Congratulations on book #3 and #4! That’s amazing! My wife just published her first book. She’s been working on it for years and finally finished it up, had it edited, and published it. My son designed the cover illustration for it too. You can learn more about it here: http://www.lindaduddridge.com

    Anyway, sorry for the shameless plug :)

    I was wondering if there were any way to link to the client based file?

    There’s no direct way to link records from one database document to another. But if it’s just a link you need, then you can visit any record in any document and under the Edit menu, select Copy Record Link. Then paste that into a Website Address field in another document. If you click on that, it will take you to the other record in the other form in the other document.

    I’ve been giving this some thought. I only need a project file as long as the project is active. After that I prefer to retire it out of view.

    You could add a field to indicate if a project is active or not and use Saved Searches to filter the list of active and inactive projects. Or, you could just have separate database documents for each project. Then when you start a new project, just copy the forms from one project document to the other.

    Would it make more sense to just create a field to link other files, separate from the project, as you would with documents or structure it so that the all the files are linked?

    That’s really up to you. There’s so many different ways to structure things. It’s whatever workflow works for you. As I suggested above, you could just use a separate document per project or have one document with a Projects form in it that links to your other forms. It really just all depends on what kind of separation you want between projects. Also would depend on how many projects you will have an how you want to be able to search them later on. Having a single document with multiple projects makes it possible to do searches on projects in different ways. With separate documents, they’re really just files on disk that you’d have to open up to find what you’re looking for.

    One note here: The participant files are always completely separate documents from the client files.

    Do you mean Tap Forms documents? Or other kinds of documents?

    The basic structure of your document looks fine to me. Because it’s really a domain specific subject, you’re probably the best judge of the data and structure that you want to keep. But it looks ok to me :)

    Thanks,

    Brendan

    July 25, 2021 at 11:55 AM #44856

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    Hi Brendan,
    Thank you for the understandable plug. I just ordered her book (on Kindle, so I wouldn’t have to wait). I hope she finds a lot of fans for it.
    An aside here: Remember the blog I wrote about you and Tap Forms? It is one of the most visited pages on my website. My guess is that there are a lot of creatives looking for better organisational tools.

    Thanks for the tips. I will try them out. So far, for the participants, I just duplicated the file, changing the project number. So I have made separate Tap Forms for each set up book participants.They are unrelated, unlinked and stand-alone, if you prefer.

    When I started using Tap Forms, I thought I had to pack everything into one big Form, ie Clients along with Cooking, Sewing, Life Goals, whatever. You can imagine how bloated that file got. (Don’t ask me why I assumed that. Beginner’s mistake, I guess)

    Once I realised I didn’t have to do that, I think I tried, with the Participants Files, to make it too lean. They aren’t connected to the client. The file is recognizable because it has the Project Number and Name on it. Perhaps I fear bloating my client/akquisition files. The participant files get loaded with photos. I will have to consider that when I set things up.

    Thanks for your help and much success for your wife.

    Kind regards,
    Kimberley

    July 25, 2021 at 3:43 PM #44857

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    On the document cross linking via web site field, I have a video on how you can do that as well. Better support for inter-document linking is something that I go back and forth with. Sometimes I’d like it and sometimes not, realistically to make it possible when you add multiple devices would require support for servers that isn’t the direction that TF is going.

    I personally don’t think having a large single document with multiple forms is a problem though, particularly for textual records and so long as they’re all related data. If you have media heavy documents, then I can see wanting to split those up for content that you don’t need on all devices (one of my own is splitting apart image libraries from their metadata that I interact with). I feel generally I’d want to keep the contents together as much as possible and use saved search or hidden forms to “archive” that data but still keep it in the same document.

    Ultimately as you work with the tool, you’ll figure out what works for your workflow :)

    July 26, 2021 at 12:13 AM #44860

    Kimberley Hoffman
    Participant

    Hi Sam,
    Thanks for your link. I’ll take a look at it today.
    One argument for putting the projects in with the client’s page is quick accessibility, but my computer, even with the RAM it has, is slow when saving Tap Form files. At least that is my perception when closing the program. I assume because it backs up before ending.

    I think I will try for my next search and find book to create a new client & client acquisition base. I won’t need a participant file, but it would be a good time to experiment with fictional names. I probably could even go crazy and create a scene file, much like an author would for her characters. I am starting work on the book today, so I will also need to set up the new files today, too. Luckily, I know what works and what was missing on my project files. I love designing the different views, but will simplify that, too. I can always add to it.

    Regards,
    Kimberley

    July 28, 2021 at 1:38 AM #44874

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Kimberly,

    Oh that’s great about the blog post! I remember not to long ago coming across it again and noticed that you had translated it to German too. That’s fantastic!

    And thanks for buying Linda’s new book! I’ll let her know! I hope you like it. It definitely tugs at your anger and heart strings all at once.

    Thanks!

    Brendan

    September 1, 2021 at 3:29 AM #45140

    Kevork Hopayian
    Participant

    Hello Brendan,
    You stated “There’s no direct way to link records from one database document to another. But if it’s just a link you need, then you can visit any record in any document and under the Edit menu, select Copy Record Link. Then paste that into a Website Address field in another document. If you click on that, it will take you to the other record in the other form in the other document.”

    So if I import a data base with two collection which have a one-to-many relationship,there is no way that I can link the two?
    Did I understand correctly?

    In my previous dtb I could select a child and add it to the portal in the parent collection. It seems that is not possible with TF. The solution of using hyperlinks when there are say 10 child records for each parent is not an easy task nor an attractive solution. Am I right, that is the only solution?
    Many thanks,
    Kev

    September 1, 2021 at 12:19 PM #45141

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Kevork,

    You can establish relationship between different forms within the same document by adding a Link to Form field to your parent form that links to a child form. You just can’t link between completely separate documents.

    But what you’re describing, you can definitely do and is the purpose of the Link to Form field.

    See the documentation on Relationships for information on how it works:

    https://www.tapforms.com/help-mac/5.3/en/topic/relationships

    Thanks!

    Brendan

    September 1, 2021 at 1:29 PM #45142

    Kevork Hopayian
    Participant

    Thank you for the rapid reply. I can do what is described in the manual i.e. set up a new collection say “Employees” (Parent) and “Annual Reviews” (Child), create a record Employee 1, then create a linked document annual review 2021.
    The problem is this: I already have from a previous database (say) 200 Employee records and 400 Annual Review records. I cannot link AR records to the Employee. I cannot see any mention of that in the manual. One can go forwards, with new Annual reviews, but not backwards, link previous ARs
    Best wishes,
    Kev

    September 1, 2021 at 1:53 PM #45143

    Daniel Leu
    Participant

    Depending on the relationship type, there should be a ‘checkmark’ that you can use to link an existing record.

    You could use the join relationship to link records based on name or employee number.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Daniel Leu.
    September 1, 2021 at 5:39 PM #45145

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    Make sure you tick “show inverse relationship” to also have a Link From Form field created in the linked form as well.

    Once you have a JOIN field up and running using two common fields between the records, you can use a script to copy the links from the JOIN field to your other 1:M Link to Form field.

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