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Chapter 2. Organizing Data Efficiently > About Relational Databases

About Relational Databases

FileMaker is a relational database program. That means two important things. First, it's a tool for taking a collection of information items and imposing a formal organization on them. (That's the part that makes it a database program.) All the earliest computer databases shared this characteristic, as, to some degree, do modern spreadsheet programs. Second, FileMaker allows you to fluidly retrieve, add to, and dynamically assemble that information in separate but connected database documents, without having to modify the initial database structure or create duplicate data entries. (That's the relational part.) Relational database programs are more flexible, sophisticated and powerful than simple flat database programs.

Just because FileMaker allows you to create relational databases doesn't mean that every database you create using FileMaker will take full advantage of these features. In fact, most beginning users of FileMaker understand the database part of its capabilities long before they understand (and effectively use) the relational parts.


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