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Hour 1. Introducing FileMaker > Talking About FileMaker: A Guide to Terminology

Talking About FileMaker: A Guide to Terminology

You have already encountered some FileMaker and database terminology. This section provides definitions of the key terms used in the world of FileMaker. (In Hour 2, “Using FileMaker and Its Basic Templates,” you'll explore the FileMaker interface and find still more terminology presented in that context.) Note that the definitions given here are for FileMaker; the terms may be used in other environments in slightly different ways.

  • Column— This is alternative terminology for field; it comes from the world of relational databases. (A field can also refer to the formatted representation of a column in a layout.)

  • Database— All the data for a FileMaker solution. It can be in one or more database files.

  • Database file— A single file containing one or more tables of data. (Before FileMaker 7, a database file contained only one set of data; the concept of tables is introduced for the first time in FileMaker 7.)

  • Field— A single data element that occurs throughout a table. Each field contains a value. For example, the field “First Name” might contain 432 values in a table with 432 entries.

  • Record— A single entry in a table. Each record contains one or more fields. Every record in the table has the same fields, but each usually has different data values.

  • Relationship— A means of specifying which record(s) in one table match up with record(s) in another.

  • Row— This is alternative terminology for record. It, too, comes from the world of relational databases.

  • Schema— This is the description of a table. It specifies the fields/columns, validation routines, and the like. It contains no data values.

  • Solution— Most people use this word to describe the collection of database(s), reports, screen layouts, scripts, and other FileMaker features and customizations that are brought to bear on a specific problem. Sometimes people refer simply to a “database,” but this term makes it clearer when the larger entity is being discussed.

  • Structured Query Language (SQL)— This standard language for relational databases is widely used in products such as Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, and the like. FileMaker does not use SQL itself; however, it can communicate with SQL databases and other applications using the xDBC interfaces described in Hour 12. (Note that the changes to the FileMaker database structure in FileMaker 7 bring it much closer to the SQL standard.)

  • Table— A set of data pertaining to a specific area—customers, projects, addresses, and so forth. Tables contain fields and records or columns and rows (see the following definitions).



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