Re: Looking for a database function

Subject: Re: Looking for a database function
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 08 May 2010 14:26:30 -0700

On 05/07/2010 09:05 AM, Dan Goldstein wrote:
> It seems obvious to me that this should be doable -- not necessarily in
> Access, any program will do!
>
> I want to create a grid in which one axis lists several dozen company
> quality procedures (by the released document numbers), and the other
> axis lists several dozen company employees. Each employee has to be
> trained in certain procedures, so for each employee there's a list of
> procedures and for each procedure there's a list of employees.
>
> To indicate that a given employee has to be trained in a given
> procedure, I want to just mark the grid at that intersection.
>
> I need to be able to query in both directions. In other words, when a
> procedure is revised under document control, I need a list of the
> employees to be trained in the revisions. And when an employee is
> replaced, I need a list of the procedures to train the new employee in.


The grid you're developing is a table, or series of tables. Why not make
one table for each procedure? Who needs complicated tables when you have
a database to manage the complexity for you?

Let's do it: create a table and list the employees down the rows, and
add one column named "status". Save the table, copy it, and name the
copied table for a procedure you want to track. Copy the table again,
name it for another procedure. DC al fine (do this copy/name step until
all procedures have a table named after them. Put your status data in
the appropriate tables, and then use the intrinsic power of databases
to answer any questions you have about that data.

The query is the thing you really need. If you have a visual database,
you can design the query and query your data without having to write the
query in a query language. If you know a SQL (noob note: see' kwel)
language for your database, you could write out the query using the
limited assortment of SQL keywords. A pseudo-code SQL query would be like

SELECT "employee" FROM the Disaster_Recovery table WHERE the value of
"status" = "X". -- this would give you a list of all employees needing
training in Disaster Recovery procedure

Or, you might query the database for the names of all tables where no
one needs training (status=null, if I got your data definition right).
If you have the data, a database will let you slice and dice it any way
that makes sense, and a lot of other ways as well. The query returns the
resulting data in some form of a virtual container that you could save,
or copy text from to paste in an email, or query to refine the results,
or just look at and discard.

Hey, after all this flapdoodle about visual database packages, I have
good news: in Windows, you can use database functions against any
structured data (tables, delimited files, spreadsheets, ...) contained
in just about any kind of file, whether it is plain text, a proprietary
binary file, or whatever.

If that last statement had the ring of arcana, like old news that
doesn't mean anything anymore, then you caught me--I haven't done these
database things in a long time and can't check my recall for accuracy
because my Windows M'chine is frozen at the Start Windows Normally
prompt:-) I say SNAFU.
Good luck, hope this helps.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
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Looking for a database function: From: Dan Goldstein

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