Uniting two databases

Yesterday we came across a client who approached us with what is quite a common problem. His business used two separate databases - one sitting behind his website, and the other running on FileMaker inside his office.

The Web database serves his online shop, while his FileMaker database helps him with the day to day running of his business.

As time went on the business owner noticed that he was spending increasing amounts of time copying and pasting data from one database to the other. Descriptions of stock, stock levels, prices and margins all seemed to need replicating on the web and on the office based system.

As both systems have evolved some data was being held solely on the web, other data was being held solely on FileMaker and a great deal of data was being replicated in both places. It was time, the business owner felt, to bring the two data repositories together.

igeek are specialist in this type of data integration, possessing as we do, in-house, both web and FileMaker development teams. We were able to explain therefore that FileMaker and MySQL (the underlying format of the web database) were capable of writing into each other's data sets; all that was needed was a decision as to where the 'master' data should be held.

Using a technology called ODBC (Open Datbase Connectivity), each database could talk to the other - changes made in FileMaker would immediately affect the web, while changes made to, say, stock on the web would immediately become apparent in FileMaker's reports and figures.

The interconnecting of the two databases had a profound effect on the business. As well as saving hundreds of hours of double data entry, it meant that the business owner could use FileMaker Go on iPad to affect change on both the in-house systems and on the web.

This meant that wherever the client was, there was no excuse not to be getting on with some work. Perhaps a double edged sword!?


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