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  1. #1
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    Best platform for one-to-one and one-to-many relationships?

    Hi everyone,

    First post on WDF! I am about to start a daunting project for a company that sells products and services throughout the US. There are several representatives that are assigned regions and those representatives are also tied to different warehouses. Basically I want to have a "representatives" page where people can type in a Zip code or State and they will be presented with the representative that serves that area, as well as the warehouse(or warehouses) they are associated with, and finally, I want to display other representatives they might be interested in contacting.

    The website will have several one-to-one relationships as well as several one-to-many relationships. There will be a relationship between a Zip code(or region) and a representative(s), a relationship between the representatives and the warehouses and a relationship between representatives and other representatives.

    Basically I am wondering what the best platform would be for a site like this. I have quite a bit of experience with Wordpress, so ideally I would like to use that, but my co-worker seems to think that Rails would be better for a project like this(he is currently looking into LocomotiveCMS). The problem is that I am very new to Rails and only know the basics so there would be quite a steep learning curve there, but if it is more suitable to this project, I would be willing to take the time to learn it.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on frameworks or even plugins for those frameworks that would help me on this project?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Can things like this happen ...

    A representative might be tied to 2 warehouses, or 10 warehouses ... you won't know how many?
    Can several representatives be tied to the same warehouse?
    Are products duplicated between warehouses?

    I'm trying to get a picture, or matrix of how inter-twined it could be, or is it fairly simple with set rules on who is tied with what?

    Another thought ...
    Would a person be searching for a product in their area, or a representative?

    Example:
    A person founds a product they like.
    They then use your page to find the representative in their area.
    They find the representative and they call the representative.
    Finds out that the product they want is handled by a different representative.
    In this case, it would have been better to get the representative for that product ... not the representative in their area.

    I'm seeing you describe representatives, regions, warehouses, states, zipcodes.
    I'm not seeing anything about the products or services.

    OR ....

    Maybe you only need the customer to find the representative in their area.
    That representative deals with whatever it takes to get the product no matter where it's at?

    Last question ...
    How much of this is already in a database?
    Is there a database of products, services, and where they are located (warehouses)?


  4. #3
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    Yes, a representative may be tied to 1 warehouse or many warehouses, it varies quite a bit. For instance, there are some regions which only make up a few cities in a state, and then there are other regions that encompass the entire state.

    The products and services that are offered are all the same, regardless of the region, so people will only be searching for representatives/warehouses instead of searching directly for a specific product/service. So yes, your assumption toward the end is correct.

    Unfortunately, there's nothing in the database so far. All we have currently are a few Excel spreadsheets that contain the relationships between the representatives and their regions as well as what warehouse(s) they are associated with.

    I found a Wordpress plugin called "Pods" (Home | Pods Framework) which seems to be close to what I am looking for, I am only worried about being able to make the correct relationships between the Pods and being able to tie that relationship into the search function(we are thinking AJAX so that the content will be updated automatically, without a refresh, based upon entering a Zip/State or allowing the browser to detect their location).

    Thank you for the quick(and detailed) response! BTW, I'm from Minnesota as well, in case you couldn't tell from my username

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    First and foremost, I think you're mixing up concepts a bit. W*rdPr*ss is a CMS based on the PHP language. Ruby on Rails is a framework. Comparing the two results in an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    The site itself won't have those relationships; that's where the database comes into play. You define those relationships at the DB level.

    You'll need a language / framework, a database, and maybe a CMS for this. I say "maybe" because it depends on how often the representatives' data and other site data changes. If it changes infrequently, store it in the database and edit the database when necessary. You may be able to get away without one.

    If you were to use one, however, WP probably isn't your best choice. My personal bias against WP aside, it's primarily intended as a blogging / content creation platform, not as a means of organizing warehouses and representatives. There really isn't anything I know of that'll do that.

    So what you need is a language or framework, a DB, and probably your own ingenuity from there. I'd personally do it with ASP.net and SQL Server because that's what I'm familiar with, but it depends on who you are, how comfortable you are with learning things, and the technologies you have available to you (your host for example).
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    apad1? hmmm, I don't get the Minnesota connection from that.

    This is a tough one .. whether using WP or not. I'm just thinking of how a MySQLi database could be created that would allow all of the cross-relation matching.

    The creation of MySQLi tables ...
    1) table of warehouses: unique warehouse ID, warehouse number, region, warehouse location/address
    2) table of representatives: unique rep ID, rep name, rep email, rep phone, rep location/address, region
    3) table of relation: unique relation ID, rep ID, warehouse ID

    As warehouses are added, the info for them is added to the table of warehouses.
    As representatives are added, their info only goes into the table of representatives.

    Those two tables remain pretty much static. Add, Edit, Delete as needed.

    The relation table is the active table ...

    Every relation between rep and warehouse is given a row in that table.
    One rep may have 10 rows, another rep may only have 3 rows.

    Now the magic begins in querying that database. table joins, grouping, etc. to give search results.
    Notice that the bold column names are common between at least two tables. From any one table, data can be joined or matched to another table.

    If you could find someone to program the MySQLi (not MySQL), and get it to work without any WP involved, this could then be incorporated into WordPress.

    I don't have the time to program it, but maybe someone else does ... that you can hire?

    I think it can be done.


  7. #6
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    APAD = Adrian Peterson All Day

    The reason we're wanting to use a CMS is because we are building this site for a client and the client(who knows nothing about web design) will be maintaining and updating the database themselves, so there needs to be a GUI backend that allows them to do that easily.

    I'm aware that Wordpress is not the same as Rails which is why I mentioned LocomotiveCMS which is a CMS built on Rails.

    I'm pretty sure this Pods plugin for Wordpress is going to work for us, spent a few hours with it yesterday and it seems like, aside from a bit of tweaking, it will work for our application.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and guidance!

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Yeah...you're from Minnesota all right!

    One thing to consider...is there any personal information or other sensitive information that is to be stored? If so, I'd run screaming from WP.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  9. #8
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Adrian isn't from Minnesota ... he's from Texas. Playing for the Vikings doesn't count.

    Trying to think of who is on the Vikings that was born in Minnesota? Maybe Marcus Sherels ... is the only one I can think of?


  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Well, if you wanted to extend it to baseball you'd have Joe Mauer as a hometown boy.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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