Relationships matter

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Relationships are important, right? At TrackVia we certainly think so! We encounter many questions about why and how to get the most out of relationships between pieces of data. Read on to learn more about TrackVia parent-child relationships…

Importance of table relationships

The parent-child relationship is an important aspect to any database. Most importantly, it helps normalize data. Table relationships increase app flexibility and scalability by eliminating redundancy and inconsistent data input.

When to use a parent-child relationship

Most TrackVia users import data into their applications from Excel spreadsheets. During those imports, all of that data ends up going into a single table. As a result, duplicate data tends to be created, rather than being saved into another (more appropriate) table within TrackVia. The screen shot below illustrates a common scenario — an imported list of contacts from various companies.

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As you can see, we have a list of people, many of whom work for the same companies. This current model is not very flexible because it requires us to manually input the company name each time, which creates inconsistency in the data (TrackVia vs Trackvia — which one is correct?), as well as task redundancy. For example, let’s say a company has a formal name change; you would now have to manually update every person in this table to reflect that name change — and that could take a while. A table relationship would make the process much easier.

Additionally, this model does not provide a way to save and track information about each company. With parent records, you can eliminate this problem. For example, let’s say you want to see how many of your contacts work for TrackVia. To accomplish this, you’d need to create a new view with a filter to remove contacts that do not work for TrackVia. Want to see this same info, but for another company? You’d need to create another view with a filter. There must be an easier way…

Enter the parent table!

By creating a parent table, you can group your contacts to their corresponding companies by way of a relationship link. For an in-depth tutorial on linking tables, click here.

Once you have moved the companies to their own table, and then created the relationship with your contacts table, you can see the company name appear as a link in the child (Contacts) table. This is a simple one-to-many relationship.

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Now your application is more scalable and flexible than before. You can now make one company name update and it will automatically cascade throughout your child records. You can also quickly see how many contacts are associated with a particular company by selecting the company itself — no new views or filters required. And all child records are included on your company form for easy reference.

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Ready to create your own TrackVia parent-child relationships? Read more here in the TrackVia Knowledge Base.