Exporting to a Database

The Process Navigator ‘Export to Database Wizard’ function enables you to send all captured data directly to industry standard databases such as Microsoft Access 97, Access 2000 and Access 2002 (XP) (only the Microsoft Access.mdb format is supported in this release of the Process Navigator). This enables you to produce customised reports and perform complex analyses of the Multi-Map.

Export to Database Wizard Step-by-Step

Step One
Select Multi-Map > Export Wizard > Database Wizard. Click Next.

Step Two 
The second screen of the wizard enables you to specify the location of the target database. Note that Access 97, Access 2000 and Access 2002 (XP) can be used. If you choose a target database file that does not already exist, the file will be automatically created by the wizard.

Select Browse to load a standard file selection dialog box preselected for the Microsoft Access .mdb file format. Select an existing .mdb file or choose a new name to start a new file.
Click Next when you have completed this step.
Step Three

By default, Process Navigator will write data into the following tables:
Activity tblActivity 
Deliverable tblDeliverable 
Node tblNode
Input tblInput 
Output  tblOutput
Screen three of the Wizard allows you to specify alternative table names. Use the text fields on screen three to specify these alternative names.
Click Next when you have completed this step.
Step Four
Screen four of the wizard allows you to specify a backup location of the existing database. Process Navigator erases all previous data, in the tables indicated, before carrying out an export. If versioning of the data is important, Process Navigator can automatically archive the database file prior to export. It is strongly recommended that you archive the database each time Process Navigator attempts to write to it.

If versioning is required, use this screen to define:
  • The folder in which to copy the database file.
  • Whether or not to prefix the file with ‘yyyymmmdd Copy(?) of’. It is recommended this option is left on so that no version of the database is overwritten. Note also that using this naming scheme automatically lists the versioned files in date order in an explorer view. 
  • The required behaviour in the event of an export problem. If the backup fails, should the export continue? For example, if the backup folder is currently inaccessible because the network is down, should the export attempt to export anyway?
When you have clicked ‘Finish’ on screen four of the wizard, the export routine opens the selected database file and updates the data as follows:
  • Removes all previous Multi-Map records in tables of the same name.
  • Itemises all Deliverables in the Multi-Map and creates a corresponding record in the Deliverable table. 
  • Itemises all Nodes in the Multi-Map and creates a corresponding record in the Node table.
  • Itemises all Activities in the Multi-Map and creates a corresponding record in the Activity table. 
  • The Input and Output tables are then populated.
Field Matching
Most of the attributes that are stored with an Activity or a Deliverable are stored as custom properties. These custom properties are an intrinsic part of Visio and can be viewed by selecting a shape, and then selecting Window > Show ShapeSheet.
All custom properties have a field name of the form ‘Prop.PropertyName’. For example, some of the Activity custom properties are:
  • Prop.TotalEffort.
  • Prop.TotalCost.
  • Prop.ElapsedTime.
Whenever the user right-clicks an Activity and selects Properties, the corresponding Value columns of the changed custom properties are set. Indeed, if the user writes directly into the ShapeSheet, the Properties dialog box would also show the amended values. The Properties dialog boxes can, therefore, be considered simply as user-friendly interfaces to the ShapeSheet.
Digression: virtually the whole of the Visio interface can be considered as user-friendly dialog boxes to set or read values stored in the ShapeSheet. Everything that happens in the ShapeSheet can affect the view of the shape, and nearly all operations carried out on a shape alter one or more cells in the ShapeSheet. For example, rotating a shape alters the Angle cell found in the Shape Transform section at the top of the ShapeSheet.