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Chapter 11. Databases > Choosing a Database Program - Pg. 401

Databases 401 In a flat-file database program, you include all the necessary fields in a single database. Thus, the address information would be an integral part of the invoicing database. A relational database can make a link (based on a key field such as a client ID) to information in a client database that stores the address data. Whenever you look at or print an invoice, the program consults the client file and displays the latest address information for that client ID. The primary advantage of a flat-file database is ease of learning. Understanding how relations work, on the other hand, can be conceptually difficult. The advantages of relational databases include speed and avoiding data duplication. Instead of copying or retyping address information into every database that requires it, you can place it all in a separate database and then simply refer to it. Choosing a Database Program In the following sections, we examine four of the leading Macintosh database programs (or families of programs): FileMaker Pro, 4th Dimension, Panorama, and Helix RADE. FileMaker Pro 5.5 Like most other database programs, FileMaker Pro (www.filemaker.com) started out as a flat-file database program. In recent releases, the company has enhanced FileMaker to support relational databases fully, provide connectivity tools for linking to non-FileMaker databases, enable users to publish and interact with databases on the Web or on an intranet, and simplify sharing databases across a workgroup. FileMaker has long been the preferred database program of Macintosh owners, and its market share attests to this. While FileMaker has always made it supremely easy for users to design beautiful and highly functional databases, recent versions have added very little that enhances it for design-