Developer here to pick the brains of the UX pros out there (so please excuse the general lack of UX knowledge on my part).
I am developing a code generation engine that will, out of the box, create forms for complicated data entities that a user might have. Let me explain what I mean by that via example. Say I sell shoes and here is an entity model (in developer parlance) of a shoe:
-Shoe --Color --Type --Store ---Address ----Street1 ----Street2 ----City ----State -----Name -----Abbreviation ----Zip
Ok, so my software creates a form for adding a new Shoe to the database. Since a shoe must belong in the inventory of a given store, I must have a store before I have a shoe. Since a store must have an address that includes a State, then I must have a State before I have an Address, and an Address before I can have a Store, before I can have a Shoe.
Make sense so far? Great! So here is the question: is it better to nest these forms so that when I create a Shoe I have nested forms available that allow me to create a new Store (with a nested form that allows creation of a new Address and so on)
When the user attempts to create a new Shoe--but there aren't yet any Stores in the database to associate with that shoe (in which case they could just select a store from a drop down when creating the shoe)--should I not show the form at all and just display a message that says something like, "You need a Store before you can have a Shoe. Please go create a Store first and then come back to create your Shoe."
Thanks in advance!