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When to create a new Relation

The first and most important step in developing a database application with Helix is deciding on the design of your Collection.

Sometimes, the most difficult part of designing a Collection is determining when to create a new Relation. Rather than design your Collection as you create it in Helix, you should always design your Collection "on paper" first (you can use actual paper and pencil for this if you like, or you can just as easily use a spreadsheet application).

Create a table where each column represents a Field and each row represents a record. Enter some sample records into your table. By doing this, you'll discover how to group your data into Relations.

Design Problems

For example, in the illustration below, "Duck Name" and "Duck Breed" do not have anything at all to do with such customer information as "Name," "Address" and "Phone Number."

Therefore, you need to create two Relations: one for people and one for ducks.

Another problem you may encounter in trying to determine how to group your data is a one-to-many relationship. For example, if you are keeping track of phone calls, you will want to enter a new record for each call. If you create new records in your "Customer" Relation, you will store redundant information such as the "Name," "Address" and "Phone Number," as seen below:

Once again, you need to create another Relation--one to store the Customer information and another to store the information about each phone call involving that customer.