About import

 

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Advisory

 

 

Exchanging data between computer systems is an especially delicate operation. The import process is especially important because it changes the contents of your database, and even small import problems can have great consequences.

When using the Import feature, be sure to follow instructions and check your results very carefully.  

 

Problems with importing data can include misunderstands, omissions and  commissions. Remember the adage "garbage in, garbage out' . To get the most from your databases, always be vigilant to keep data accurate and up to date.
 

Our customer support folks will be happy to help you with questions regarding importing and exporting data

 

Always backup your H2OS database immediately before using IMPORT.

 

 


 

The Import feature

The Import feature is intended to be general purpose, but simple in design. For example, it's input is a single file, and it's output is a single database table. Other, different or more complex data conversions are possible, but are beyond the scope of the automated IMPORT feature and  will require custom programming.

 

Generally, it doesn't pay to write a custom program for one-shot use, especially with small files (thousand records or so). In addition to file size, the condition of the data is very important.  

 

We can provide you with a ballpark estimate of the cost for a specific custom data format conversion. To begin the process, please provide a sample of the file to be imported, along with any available descriptive information about the file. If there are codes used, please provide detailed information on their meaning.

 

The import manager

 

When launched, the import manager's control screen can be used to relate ("map") source file fields to target (H2OS) file fields. If you've worked with files, databases and fields before, this screen may look familiar.

 

 

The customer record conversion worksheet

The customer record conversion worksheet may be helpful to convert records from another format into H2OS format.

 

 

 

Benefits of import

Data entry is tedious, time consuming, error prone and expensive. In many cases it's redundant if the information already exists in machine readable form, such as an Excel spreadsheet. Being able to automatically import data into H2OS from other systems saves time, cost and increases the accuracy of the transcription process.

 

Also, with online data sources growing in quantity, quality and accessibility, being able to automatically integrate data from outside sources can be a significant business advantage.

 

 

The H2OS Import feature

 

A general purpose IMPORT feature is included with H2OS. It's a tool we have developed over time for our own use, and for helping customers, and we thought to include it with H2OS because you may find it useful as well.

 

The IMPORT process involves designating the names and locations of the source and target files, and the "mapping" of data fields in the source file to those in the target file. H2OS provides a tool to help you perform this mapping and to store the resultant controls for future re-use.

 

The nature of IMPORT is complicated by the fact that there are so many possible data record  format variations.  It's way beyond the scope of the H2OS IMPORT feature to cover all the possibilities, so there may be situations where the input has to be pre-processed ("cleaned up") before it can be imported into H2OS in a useful way. Missing fields, misused fields, lack of standard entries into fields that require them, and even "junk" records all complicate the process and reduce the information value of your database.

 

Always review data you wish to import before performing an IMPORT operation. Special care must be taken with import setup controls to insure the correct use of the contents of the file being imported. and to assure the integrity of your H2OS database. You know the old saying about "garbage in, garbage out".  Once information is in "the computer" people have a tendency to trust it, which is good, but when this is not the case, people can develop a distrust of the system, so always be vigilant with protecting the integrity of your databases. This is a cost factor, to be sure, but the cost can be mitigated by careful setup and use of the tools provided.
 

 

Getting Started

After installing H2OS and checking out it's features with the sample database, you'll probably want to import electronic data for your customers, jobs, employees and other files for which data is available.

 

 

 

Terminology

 

Term

Used to describe

 

IMPORT

the process of electronically transferring data from another computer system into (in our case) the tables that comprise your H2OS database.  

SOURCE

The file being imported

TARGET

The file to which the source will be added