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Ferrari Database Suggestions...

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by 134282, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    40,617
    California
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    Ok, folks... It'll be a while before i get this started, since i'm still missing two key things to do it: a lap top and a database program...!

    However, i've been brainstorming on the idea and i come up with more and mroe details the more i think about it...

    The software i'll use for the database is called ACT!, from a company called Symantec; i'm not looking for database ideas... Their software permits hundreds and hundreds of totally customizable fields... i use ACT! everyday at work (for the last 3 years), so i'm really familiar with it and know how to play around with it...

    The database i have set up here in the office is split up into two parts; a top half and a bottom half... The top half has client information: Company name, address, city, state, zip, phone, fax, cell, contact, title, salutation, alternate phone, email address, broker, agent, other agent, total monthly premium, ID/status, origin and various other personalized fields that break down the information according to how we need it sectioned and to best suit our/their needs... The database is just that flexible... When creating my Ferrari database, my top half will be somewhat similar, inputting names of owners, dealerships, museums, etc.

    The bottom half of the database will be set up with fields that break down Ferrari information... For example:
    Ferrari: 308
    Type: GTS (as opposed to GTB)
    Engine: this is where i'll probably put a drop down selection of choices like: QV/Carbed/Injected, etc.
    Body Style: Euro (as opposed to the states)
    Year: 1979
    Serial #: 01234 if there's a chassis # separate from the serial #, there will be a field for that
    VIN: Z1FTY65487FDHGERDES04519

    For cars that have raced and have race history, there will be fields for that, too... There's also a 'Notes' tab on the database where i can add unlimited amounts of information... i will, of course, create other tabs for "other cars" this way i can store information on other exotics that might be owned by the Ferrari owner in question...

    This will be more than a registry... i'll create the database and will spend the rest of my life refining it, adding fields, compromising fields, etc.... Eventually, i hope to have every Ferrari ever made in my database...


    What i need from everyone else is additional field ideas... What other specifics of these cars are important that they can broken down and specified... The database allows me to do look-ups, so, once created and information has been entered, i can do a look-up, then cross reference/narrow it down and tell you, for example, how many '00 red 360 spiders are in Latvia or whatever...

    The more detailed the database is, the better... Please post any and all suggestions you have... i expect that i'll be asking a lot of questions as you folks start posting, so i can refine the idea for this thing as much as possible before i have a chance to make it a reality...

    Thanks in advance, everyone... You're contributing to what will, one day, be the ultimate Ferrari database... :)
     
  2. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Oct 3, 2002
    44,771
    @ the wheel
    Full Name:
    Andreas
    DES, here a few fields I'm using in my 288 GTO registry:

    - color of interior
    - any upgrades (e.g. A/C, stereo)
    - exterior color
    - name of owner
    - country of owner (I don't collect addresses for security reasons)
    - miles/km driven

    I would also a note field for upgrades. Some people like to add things like wings...
    :)

    And how about a field for prizes won at concours.

    I applaud you in your effort. Act! is a good choice I think and if you're getting desparate for a laptop, let me know.
     
  3. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,234
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    DES - to help along with the great project, all I can tell you is with databases - planning everything out will be the success or failure of the usefulness of the data it contains. that said, when you get finished designing it, publish out the ERD for review so you get everything straight the first time. Only for a public review from tech-heads. /just my advice.
     
  4. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,234
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    one other tidbit of information - thoughts on expandability - would it be just a general database of looking up cars/origins and history? or how about maintenance and problem childs that certain people own and can track. it could be oil changes or something for each person to document, for each person to go into their personal section and look at their car. it is just a thought though... but if that were the case, I would avoid ACT! - as it might be a good contact management list, it isn't too usable as a database other than from a local source (non-web) AFAIK.
     
  5. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    40,617
    California
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    LOL...!
    i was considering something like that... If you don't mind my asking, how do you have that field set up in your database...? Do you have a drop down menu or a long, general field open for notes... Maybe you have more than one field with different drop downs...? This is exactly what i'm looking for; ideas and then how best to go about implementing them... From a concours stand point, everything from an after market exhaust to added fire extinguishers and a whole bunch of other things, are considered upgrades...
    i was also considering fields that listed concours prize-winners as well as race history... Maybe i can have a separate tab for cars with race history... additional notes on specifics of race histories/drivers/owners/accidents/etc. can also be added and will definitely be considered... i'm still playing with thoughts on the best way to lay all these things out... Here in the office, my database contains "sections" of fields for clients who have more than one health plan for their company... i think i will do the Ferrari database differently where i can have one owner entered 20 different times, since it's the cars that are the main part of the database and not the owners... i'm still toying with the best way to lay that out, as well...

    Lastly, as far as a laptop goes, i'll be using it to store pictures i take at events and anything and everything i write, so i'm gonna hold out for a new one... Loads of gigs of hard drive space, lots and lots RAM, a CD burner - the works... My first crap top was an Acer... Ugh... My second/current was a Compaq Presario 1200, that, after rebates only cost me $600... Like they say, you get what you pay for... i appreciate your offer, though, thank you... i think this time, i can't short myself; i need to get something deep, fast and fully loaded... (LOL, ironically, Acer's new Ferrari lap top doesn't sound like it would cut the mustard...:))


    Schatten, planning everything out before i implement it is exactly the point of this thread... When i first started working here, i was given the software and pretty much created the database as i went along... Bad move. That why i'm asking so many questions and i don't even have a computer yet... i'll let this thread grow and grow and as ideas become refined, i'll start mapping out possibilities on paper and save everything in a folder... i'll eventually print this thread out and include it with my other notes when i begin the whole thing...

    Working with a database that we keep here in the office and only network via peer to peer, i have absolutely no idea what ERD is... i never considering publishing the database via the web... Now that's something else i need to consider... What the advantages/disadvantages of a database i can publish to the internet as opposed to a "local" database...?
    The thing about ACT! is that it's pretty much the reason i have a job as i manage just about all the data in the office with it and it's the first thing i open in the morning when i get in and the last thing i close...

    Maintenance problems and things of that nature is another good idea... Recalls like the TR seatbelts is something else to consider... i'll have to include a field that indicates that said car has one or more well-known maintenance/technical issues and that more details explanations are in the Notes/History section/tab of the database... Anyone have an alternative suggestion on how to log that or do you think separate notes is the way to go...?
    Oh, geez, i might actually have to go into the Technical Q&A forum... i shudder at the thought, i don't know the first thing about Technical Q&A...

    Thanks for the advice, guys, keep it coming...!
     
  6. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,234
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    hmm, actually you've brought a few other thoughts to the table - recalls and service updates, and tips. can get quite advanced quite quickly, but K.I.S.S. for the time being and make it expandable.

    ERD - entity relationship diagramming. it's the basics of database design and the fundamentals, which is where you need to start. don't worry about that part of the deal, just layout all the details and we'll work from there. I hope to help contribute on this venture with a few ideas and practices. as for you... go with the flow and keep the ideas going.

    don't think about tabs, and other items within an ACT! database. this would be not too usable because it would require: 1) the database be centrally located, security must be implimented and most of all, we'd all have to have ACT! and access to it. that doesn't make it too usable. or... 2) it would require that we pass around an ACT! database from person to person.

    just stick with the structure and draw it all out. if you are interested in ERD's, from a mere business model standpoint, I can send you a few videos. they were training videos from a place I worked. nothing formal, just a few guys in a room, along with myself, learning about ERD's for a rather large project. three cd's, about 45-1hr ea. well worth watching if you are interested. it can help you design and think through this database and others in the future.
     
  7. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Oct 3, 2002
    44,771
    @ the wheel
    Full Name:
    Andreas
    KISS

    Keep it simple, stupid!

    At the end of the day, you DES will be the one entering all that. Or nothing. Registries have been setup before and it is hard to get ANY information. So the less you ask for, the more likeli it will be, that you get SOME answer.

    You still need to keep your DB design flexible enough for occasions where you do get a ton of data, which in all likelihood is when you go to a concours yourself.

    The DB won't be accessed by anybody but you, so you can use drop downs to make YOUR life easier, so I'd fill an add-on drop down with all the standard things you can think of (A/C, stereo, fire extinguisher, wheels, racing seats...) and then add some fields for free text.

    Don't get too hung up on the DB itself. True, a good desing is important, but DBs like Act! can always export their data if it outgrows your requirements.

    The trickier part is the picture DB. You need that to some degree. However again KISS! So I'd suggest only a link/reference in Act! to your file storing the pics, which can be as simple as a subdirectory. That's how I store my own pics. There are good pic DBs out there, but in the end *I*'m the one using them and *I* have to be comfy with them. Maybe I'm a simple mind, but KISS is paramount for me. After all this is not a paid job, but something we do in our SPARE time. Well, maybe not DES, but anyway...
    :)
     
  8. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2003
    563
    Groningen
    Full Name:
    Bob Hagendijk
    If there is anybody who knows a good way to link a picture to an excel database, please let me know
     
  9. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2003
    563
    Groningen
    Full Name:
    Bob Hagendijk
    Please note that you are working with Ferrari's so there are always cars that are never discovered, more than 1 car on one s/n, no cars known for a s/n and that ****. It'll take all your free time and a lot of frustrations. We are not even talking about engineswaps and so on. I wish you good luck...
     
  10. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    40,617
    California
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    Schatten, recalls, service issues and tips can all go in notes, if need be... At least in the floor plan i'm thinking right now... ACT! is definitely expandable but i don't want to keep things too simple; i'd rather get as much info as i can into the rough draft then work with it from there... As i refine, new things will come and go and i'll be able to work them in and out of the design without being too overloaded...

    i hope you help contribute ideas, too...! :)

    i wasn't much thinking about a database that would be just be available to anyone, anywhere... i was thinking along the lines of a personal database that i could work on, over time... When i finally get it up and started, it's still not going to be of any use to anyone, since most of the information i'll acquire in the beginning will be readily available to anyone, anywhere, anyway... i'm focused on ACT! 'cause i know how to use it, i know its ins and outs, what it's capable of and so forth... Like Andreas said, if it ever gets too big, i can always export to something else... Bigger database software, if need be (but that's years and years away)...

    Until i really get it up and running and it's got a respectable amount of information in it, publishing it to a public/internet/shared database would just be a waste of time and money... To start, it'll be centrally located, so i can work on it when i want, where i want and not have to worry about anything else...

    ERDs sound interesting, but they don't sound like they'd be of any use here in my office (nooooo, learning about how to manage data would be too logical), but it still seems like a good idea to check the videos out if they'll help with ideas on designing the database... Data management is what i do all day, though, so i'm pretty set in that department... Ferrari data is somewhat new to me, though (comparatively), so that's what this thread is based on... The video won't help me much if i don't know all of the truly important details of pertinent Ferrari data - that's where you all come in... :)


    Andreas, at the end of the day, i'll go home and look forward to entering information... i'm already collecting information on cars, printing it all out and bringing it home... i have a few folders, neatly labeled with various pages printed out, stapled and/or paper clipped together... i want more than a filing cabinet, though... i want a database... of everything. As much information as i can acquire... Every detail about every car from its inception to its current state/location...

    A/C, stereo, fire extinguisher, wheels, racing seats, etc. is exactly the type of stuff i'm going to be looking for later on... i can always add things to the drop down at any given time after it's created, but that's stuff that i'll need to know down the line... Every single thing...

    A picture database is a whole different ballgame... i can keep pictures on my hard drive or, if i must, have them developed and keep THEM in a filing cabinet... i can have separate fields/drop-downs with different codes (ie: 1234A) for specific cars, then i could check the file cabinet for a file labeled 1234A, which would have pictures of said car... That's certainly a way to go if i want to include pictures...


    Bob, i do a few Excel spreadsheets here in the office but am really not all that familiar with the program at all... Including pictures is something i've never even heard of... Rather than making that a post in this thread (although the word Database is in the title, so someone looking in here might see your question and know the answer), i would start a whole new thread in O/T... You're bound to get a flurry of answers in no time... i wish i could be of more help, but including pictures in any sort of database is foreign to me...

    Also, i know that there are some "mystery" cars out there... i've encountered a few already... :) That's part of the fun. i love Ferraris and the more i learn about them, the more i seem to love them... The man, the history, the legends, the stories, the cars, the lineage- it's all so intriguing... i'm enveloped by it all and i can't ever imagine falling out of love after coming this far... i've got so much more of the journey to go and i relish every second of it... This is just another step for me, another door opened in this endless corridor we call Ferrari.
     

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