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  1. #1
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    DB flow chart (O97 & O2K)

    I apologise if this has been posted and answered many times before. I have had a search through the previous posts and looked around Smart Access, as well as Helen Feddema's excellent excellent site but alas, cannot find what I'm looking for.

    Whenever I design a DB, I like to plot out the data flow, for example showing three boxes representing tables which are used as the basis for a make-table query, which in turn provides the basis for another, etc. etc.

    Is there anything out there that can do this better than my usual method of making some monstrosity in Excel using boxes, connecting lines and a lot of fine alignment?? It doesn't have to be anything too swish, just to provide me with a graphical representation (screen and printout) of the key objects in my DB, i.e. Tables, Queries, Forms. It doesn't even need to involve macros, modules or forms.

    Thanks everyone.

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    Re: DB flow chart (O97 & O2K)

    About the only product I know of that even attempts anything like this is FMS Total Access Analyzer, but it doesn't do much more than give you some relational diagrams and a used on report that will let you chain through to find out who uses what where. The latter however is not graphical. It sounds like what you are creating is something that looks like the relational diagram that you get in the query builder, but which is capable of showing the nested relationships where a query calls a query which calls another query which is based on a series of tables. Sounds like a good product niche for somebody to fill. You might try directing your question at Helen in conjunction with the WAW newsletter and see if she can propose anything.
    Wendell

  3. #3
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    Re: DB flow chart (O97 & O2K)

    The Access 2000 Developer's Black Book: Indispensable Problem Solver mentions that Microsoft's Visio Professional product will produce entity-relationship diagrams and table / relationship diagrams. The authors seem to imply that after doing a pile of diagramming in Visio you can ask it to create all the tables you need (I'm not sure about that one...) OR you can ask Visio to reverse-engineer an existing database and produce the appropriate table relationships, etc. I am not too impressed by the book, so I take these comments with a (large) grain of salt. I went to the MS home page, and it does seem that Visio Pro can do some cool stuff for technical drawing documentation. Last time I looked, Visio Pro was pretty pricey, but it depends on how badly your clients / employer / co-workers want nice clear diagrams, and what your alternatives are. You might consider just printing the Relationships window (the ability to print the relationships arrived with A 2K - in A97 you might try taking a screen shot and printing through a graphics program) or creating the diagrams "by hand" in Visio Standard. I agree - doing these sorts of charts in Excel is an exercise in frustration.

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    Re: DB flow chart (O97 & O2K)

    Visio has always been my tool of choice for database design. In many ways, I preferred the pre-Microsoft version, but I've worked with all the versions since it was released and I like it. It's possible to flowchart, build entity relationship diagrams, and in the latest versions even Use Case diagrams. There are several flavors of Visio (that isn't new to Microsoft's version, by the way) targeted to the primary use for the app, including Standard, Professional, Technical and now Enterprise. I've used the Pro version for years but sadly a few of its features were removed and put into Enterprise to justify the higher price. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15> One thing that is still there is the ability to reverse engineer a database to bring in tables, queries and relationships and use the objects to describe your project. Forward engineering, which I used to use a lot is now a "feature" of the pricey Enterprise version. <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>

    Another product that is less powerful than Visio (also cheaper) is allClear, which is a flowcharter. I've worked with it, but I've never found flowcharts to be too useful in an event driven environment, so I prefer Visio.
    Charlotte

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