How do I delete all corresponding child records simultaneous to deleting the parent record? E.g., I want to delete an Appointment that is the parent records. How do I do that so it also deletes the corresponding Sales, Payments, and Claims records without accessing each table and deleting the individual record?
The most common thing that people will do is create a report in each of the child tables that filters the records based on 'related parent' = blank. Those reports will show all the child records without parents i.e. the parent record has been deleted. You can then from the report choose to 'delete these records' which will delete them all.
I used to do this as kind of a daily / weekly thing. You can set up a notification to send you the report daily / weekly, whatever kind of time frame you want.
Now I typically do this via MS SQL server and QUNECT via a scheduled SP, but that obviously isn't an option for everyone.
If that is the case, yes - you would use the summary field option in the relationship to count the number of child records and have the report of parent records filtered where # of child records = 0.
I also do this, albeit for different reasons. To Dans point, if you have multiple child tables off of a parent record, what I did was a summary field for each child table that counted the number of records for that child table, and then a formula field which added all summaries up. So as an example, if you have three child tables for a parent table called tables A, B and C, you would have three summary fields like 'Number of A Records', Number of B Records', 'Number of C Records'. For simplicity of reporting i'd then create a formula field called 'Total Number of Child Records' which added those three values up. Then your report would only have one filter criteria - show all parent records where 'Total Number of Child Records' = 0.
From experience in this forum, I have seen Dan comes up great solutions with the use of scripts and undoubtedly that would be an elegant solution. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people like me who have no idea how to put such solution to practice. This would be great service to this forum if a resource or guides area is established to up skill people like me. I heard about terms such jquery, IOL etc but find it very difficult to learn or use these solutions. Just a thought!