Identifying the major components that make up a database and their spreadsheet equivelants is an important step as you begin to plan your system.
A database system is a collection of tables that are stored together in one or more database file that interrelate to make up an entire information system, similar to a multi-tabbed spreadsheet or a folder of related spreadsheets. Examples of a database system, although they may vary greatly from one company to the next, are Contact & Project Management, Inventory Tracking, and Catalog Planning. However, any or all of these together may make up a database system.
Although Write Track Media uses a variety of different file configurations depending on the needs of clients, we prefer to construct new systems with a single user-interface file that draws from one or more data storage files. This allows for maximum resources sharing and faster development which together reduces development time and costs.
A table is a collection of records that together make up the whole of a certain type of information, somewhat similar to one tab on a spreadsheet. Examples of a table include Contacts, Companies, Projects and Invoices. Tables can be connected to one another forming relationships that greatly enhance how you create, view, edit and use information.
A record is a collection of fields that together describe an entire informational entity, similar to a row of a spreadsheet. Examples of records include a single person, the company they work for, a product in inventory, a shipment of products to a business or a catalog you produce.
A field, sometimes called a cell, is a single piece of information that contains some property or other informational aspect of a larger single unit, similar to a single cell or column of cells in a spreadsheet. Examples of fields include a sell price for a product, the name of a project, the date of an invoice or the name of a person.
A layout is a visual display of some fields for one or more records from the point of view of one table that makes up a database system. The user interface portion of a system is composed of one or more layouts. They can be general or task specific, displaying a list of records or a single record and any specific record or field can be displayed on more than one layout.
A script is a series of actions that can be performed by the user at the click of a button, automatically when they perform some other data entry action or on a server at a specified time interval. These are similar to macros in a spreadsheet but can be much more powerful. Scripts are used for window management and navigation within the database and other actions such as record manipulation, searching, sorting, compiling, reporting, exporting and more.