Your first step in designing a Visual FoxPro database is to analyze your data requirements by determining the purpose of the database and how it is to be used. This tells you what information you want from the database. From that, you can determine what subjects you need to store facts about (the tables) and what facts you need to store about each subject (the fields in the tables).
Talk to the people who will use the database. Brainstorm about the questions you'd like the database to answer. Sketch out the reports you'd like it to produce. Gather the forms you currently use to record your data. You'll use all this information in the remaining steps of the design process.
Suppose that Tasmanian Traders, an import/export company that sells specialty foods from around the world, wants a database that can track information about the company's sales and inventory.
Start by writing down a list of questions the database should be able to answer. How many sales of our featured product did we make last month? Where do our best customers live? Who's the supplier for our best-selling product?
Next, gather all the forms and reports that contain information the database should be able to produce. The company currently uses a printed report to keep track of products being ordered and an order form to take new orders. The following illustration shows these two documents.
Tasmanian Traders also needs to print mailing labels for customers, employees, and suppliers.
After gathering this information, you're ready for the next step.