External Database: An external database is any database that is not created by Pathagoras' Instant Database module. Common databases in contact record managers (CRMs) such as Act®, time and billing programs such as TimeMatters® and Tabs®, practice management systems such as PracticeMaster® and , as well as a wide variety of non-specialty database and similar programs, such as Excel, Access, etc.)

  Links: For an on screen document that contains variables to use information from an external source to complete those variables, you must create a link to pair the on-screen document to the data source. Typically (i.e., in Word, without Pathagoras, you would using Word's mail merge functions to create that link. In every program other than Pathagoras, you would have to embed fields referencing the external database into your documents.

   Sometimes the link you made to the database would be permanent. Whenever you recalled a document with a permanent link, Word would interpose a 'confirmation' that it was about to link to the database, slowing your startup. Sometimes the links would be temporary, but then in order to personalize your on screen document, you had to relink to the database, and sometimes you could not recall where the database was.

  Fields: Those infernal 'grey-backgrounded' pieces of text that you typically must create within a document that you want to link to an external database. No fields of this nature are required with Pathagoras. Plain text will work.

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  Pathagoras has always prided itself on its plain text underpinnings. There are no complicated or hidden, fields to create, no confusingly constructed links to make your life miserable. Only plain text. You type and see what you want.  The less confused you and the other end-users in your office are, the more productive you will be.

  Pathagoras can offer you quick access to up to 3 external databases. While you have to know a little bit about your external database programs in order make the initial call on it (and you may have to call upon your IT person to help you out this one time), once the connection is made the rest is simple, straightforward and intuitive.

   Pathagoras can work with the following external database types:

.csv files: This may be a new term, but it is not a complicated concept. ".csv" means 'comma separated value' and refers to the way the data in your primary database is exported to a file. Thes are sometimes called "comma delimited" files. It means that the values contained in the is stored in individual rows, one per record, with the breaks between each field of data in each row indicated by a comma. Here is what a comma separated file might look like:

Jane,Doe,1234 Main Street,Jacksonville,FL,32211,red
Harry,Johnson,914 Oak Tree Lane,Ft. Collins,CO,78765,white
Roy,Lasris,117 Chisman Landing,Seaford,VA,23696,blue
. . .

   As you can see, The various elements of information (name, address, quantity, price, etc.) are separated from the other elements by a comma. Hence the name 'comma separated values.Typically the file extension of a .csv file is '.csv' (hence its common name) but some programs export to to '.txt' files and others to '.dat' files. So long as the data is truly 'comma delimited,' you are good to go.

 In many cases, the first row of the .csv file contains the names of the fields. This is for reference purposes. Typically refers to the field names assigned by the original database from which the file was exported. And these field names are used by the importing program to pair up fields if the data doesn't match the order or the spelling of the importing routine.

FirstName, Lastname, Street, City, State, ZIP Code, Color Choice
Jane,Doe,1234 Main Street,Jacksonville,FL,32211,red
Harry,Johnson,914 Oak Tree Lane, Ft. Collins,CO,78765,white
Roy,Lasris,117 Chisman Landing,Seaford,VA,23696,blue
. . .

  Sometimes, the information itself contains a comma as a proper punctuation mark. Addresses contain comma between the city and the state, and if the field name is "Address" instead of the component parts "City", "State" and "Zip", an enclosing set of quotation marks are added so that the punctuation is not seen as a separating comma.

FirstName, Lastname, Address, Color Choice
Jane,Doe,"1234 Main Street,Jacksonville,FL,32211",red
Harry,Johnson,"914 Oak Tree Lane, Ft. Collins, CO  78765",white
Roy,Lasris,"117 Chisman Landing, Seaford, VA 23696",blue
. . .

.tsv fies. Identical to 'csv, except the separator is a tab. Less frequently used, but still common nevertheless.

Excel files: Each row represents a record, and each cell in the row a value. The first row may contain the field names

Outlook contacts: Pathagoras can read and return selected fields from your Outlook contacts.

SQLServer and MySql databases.

   It is simply not possible (presently, anyway) to effect direct links to every external database, but since every database can export to .csv and .tsv and probably Excel, an 'almost' direct link is entirely possible.

 

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