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Tinderbox Users >> Tinderbox applications >> When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
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Message started by Talal on Mar 10th, 2008, 10:46am

Title: When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
Post by Talal on Mar 10th, 2008, 10:46am

I'm making a very large biographical database. It could potentially lead into over a thousand names with all their biographical information in various user-defined TBX attributes.

So far, I've been happily (aside from no unicode) been making this in TBX. I'm wondering: is there some point, or some type of usage/export scenario, where it would actually be recommended to *not* use TBX, and rather to use a more classical database like Filemaker, or other types of databases like SQL?


Title: Re: When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
Post by Mark Bernstein on Mar 10th, 2008, 11:35am

A database will be best when:

  • you know the structure of the information in advance, and you are likely to be correct the first time
  • each piece of information has the same structure -- that is, the information is homogeneous
  • you have tens or hundreds of thousands of pieces of information


Indeed, when you have hundreds of thousands of items, a database is likely to be your only choice.

Tinderbox is likely to be a better choice when any of these criteria are not true.  When your information is distinctly inhomogeneous -- when you have more than a few kinds of items -- and when the structure of the information is likely to change or emerge in the course of your work, Tinderbox is prone to be substantially better than a database.

In many cases, it should be fairly easy to move back and forth between Tinderbox and Filemaker.

Title: Re: When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
Post by Talal on Mar 10th, 2008, 12:48pm

So long as the scale doesn't reach "tens of thousands" of entries, TBX should be able to continue to handle it?

Are there *any* export-type scenarios where TBX would be able to do what Filemaker or others do? I can't think of any, but -- as my project scales larger and larger -- I'm just trying to think a year or two ahead.

Title: Re: When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
Post by Mark Bernstein on Mar 10th, 2008, 3:58pm

I'm not sure your question isn't missing a crucial word; I don't understand what you're asking. Sorry.

On scale: Tinderbox maps are going to be awfully cluttered if you get thousands of notes in each level of the map.  Agents and Find require time proportional to the size of the document; if you're snappy with hundreds of notes and fast with thousands, you may be sluggish with ten thousand and painfully slow with a hundred thousand.

Much depends on specifics.

Title: Re: When Tinderbox, and when Filemaker?
Post by Talal on Mar 10th, 2008, 6:47pm

Oops: quite right. I mean to write: "are there any scenarios of exporting where TBX would *NOT* be able to do what Filemaker or other databases can do?"

Forgive if this is a vague question. It's probably just research-tool anxiety. :) I do hear you on the scaling, and your point, I believe, is clear.


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