Under The Database group you should read this page the last, and then you should already understand much about your “user data”. The Relational SQL is going to limit you to spreadsheet-like grid of rows and columns. The Vocabulary of your Domain is going to limit your data to a single industry. The Technical Dictionary is going to be as simple or as complex as you design it to be. Once you start using Fabrik - your designs become much more focused, your processes much quicker, and your results are more and more impressive!
The Relational Dabase Management System RDBMS is a stack of software (and stack of services) which maintains the connection between related and relevant pieces of information. The RDBMS maintains integrity by preventing users from creating orphaned, duplicate, partial or conflicting information.
Fabrik takes care of this for you, so there is not much else to explain.
Creating and maintaining all the existing relations between pieces of data is seldom desirable. Instead you want to create them to investigate - but you do not want to keep maintaining them. The fact is, relations and integrity checks are maintained for a cost. The more of those you have the harder it is to change the database, so creating mapping for temporary uses makes a lot of sense.
FourOh-LLC promotes creating small, unrelated projects - at least while you are learning. Resist the attempt to create cascading drop-downs - like “When I select a state, I want to see only cities inside that state”. This sounds logical, and it is useful, but this also creates a scope larger than necessary. Instead of loading thousands of cities into the drop-down - create a list, a form and a menu item where you are able to select the City directly.
This is just one example of the practice where you create a temporary relation “outside” the database, and we call this mapping. The more you practice the better you become with this, and the easier it becomes to keep your tables smaller, more focused.
The source for your data should be a spreadsheet, or some text typed or scanned. FourOh-LLC shall not be used to host or process photos, music, video, large binary files such as PDF or ZIP archives.
Your target should be lists and reports inside Fabrik, and spreadsheets downloaded form the database. You should download to pretty format and print, chart with the spreadsheet library and pretty print to PDF, and to backup / archive your filtered, most valuable data.
You should create web forms and convert some of your paper forms, upload all your “databases” held in spreadsheets, and create new forms to copy and paste a lot of unstructured data.
The web forms and the database are capable to do more - but for starters you should focus on those above.
You should ensure you password-protect access to your data. FourOh-LLC does not steal or even plagiarize, and we credit everywhere credit due. This is very simple and straightforward both in concept and in practice.