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R:BASE 11 Beginners Tutorial

Navigation: Lesson 1 - Database Design

Introducing SkyWrite Ink

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In the late '90s, local businesses were looking for creative ways to advertise their products and services. Seeing this need, Amelia Lindhart and Charlie Earbergh formed SkyWrite Ink, a skywriting company. SkyWrite Ink provided companies with a cost-effective advertising method to reach large numbers of potential customers.


SkyWrite has grown considerably from those early days. Amelia and Charlie have several salespeople who book the company's flights. Each year, SkyWrite's planes log thousands of hours of flight time spelling slogans and messages above the city.


Currently, SkyWrite keeps customer records and tracks flights schedules by hand. However, as the business has grown, so has the amount of paperwork that must be done.


A Business Information Problem

The problem at SkyWrite is simple. The manual system that worked ten years ago can't keep track of all the company's customers and provide necessary information in a timely manner.


For example, Amelia wants to offer a discount to clients who have booked more than five flights in the previous six months. However, since she is also one of SkyWrite's pilots, she doesn't have time to sort thorough the receipts from the last six months, organize them by customer, and then count the number of flights SkyWrite has flown for each, which might take her more than a day to do.


Under the manual system, maintaining up the list of customer addresses is time consuming. And when Charlie wants to mail an update on SkyWrite's services to customers, he can't use the list to automatically generate a set of mailing labels. He ends up hiring a temporary typist to address all the envelopes.


Amelia and Charlie have discovered that they can't get the information they want and can't easily use the information they have.


A Business Information Solution

To solve their information problem, Amelia and Charlie recently purchased R:BASE-a relational database management system. A database is a collection of information stored on a computer. A relational database, like R:BASE, organizes information so that it can be expanded, updated, and retrieved rapidly.


Using R:BASE, Amelia and Charlie can store all the information for SkyWrite Ink's customers, employees, and flights. Then they can use that information in ways that will help them run the business more effectively. Amelia will be able to find out in a matter of minutes which clients used SkyWrite's services most often. Charlie will be able to automatically generate a set of mailing labels based on customers' current addresses.


And because the information stored in the database can be used flexibly, they'll be able to answer other questions that arise about their business.