Good DB Software for OS X

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by xgsrpg, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. xgsrpg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #1
    After my mom saw my new PowerBook G4, she now wants one of her own. However, the only thing holding her back is her Access database of all her clients. So, she needs a good database program for Mac OS X, but it needs to be able to import her Access database completely, since retyping it is out of the question. If anyone has a good suggestion, my mom can finally be a switcher :)

    Thanks
     
  2. micvog macrumors 6502

    micvog

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #2
    Filemaker Pro

    I don't think you will be able to open Access (.MDB) files directly, but you certainly could import the tables. The question would then be how complex are the queries and reports which probably would have to be re-created in Filemaker Pro.
     
  3. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #3
    Just get Virtual PC

    I don't recommend Filemaker Pro. Usually Access databases have more than just data, they have forms, reports, macros, queries. All that work will have to be redone again. Just get Virtual PC 7 and enough memory (512Mb min) and run Access. Access beats Filemaker Pro hands down anyways.
     
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #4
    From scratch, or with some work FM is the way to go. To maintain compatibility with the rest of the world you do need VPC and Access. Why M$ hasn't brought Access over is beyond me.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Without a doubt, FileMaker is a great database. However, you should give serious consideration to the database system for the Mac, 4th Dimension. 4th Dimension is probably the most powerful database system available for any personal computer. If you are in academia or work for a non-profit, you are elgible to use a free version. At that, you cannot beat the price. It is available on 4D's web site.
     
  6. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #6
    does it take Access DB's in full?
     
  7. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020

    mainstreetmark

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    Saint Augustine, FL
    #7
    Or, if you want to spend no money and you're feeling up to the porting task, use mysql/php. Granted, it's webbased, but OSX runs a nice webserver (apache) and mysql/php work nicely. Might be installed already (I can't remember if I had to install mysql, but I think it's just part of the standard OS)

    It all depends on what you need a database for.
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    4th Dimension predates Access by several years. If you want a custom application, it is an excellent development system. I know only three things about Access: 1) it lost a lot of data in its early years; 2) it owes its survival to being bundled with M$ Office for Windows; 3) it is supposed to be an access tool for real database systems and not a database system in and of itself. The only bad thing that I know about 4th Dimension is that Version 1 was slow. My suggestion to you is to forget about Access unless you are required to use it.
     
  9. James L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #9
    4th dimension used to be interpreted, and now I am pretty sure it is compiled. This accounts for dramatic speed increases.

    To go back to the original users groundrules, which were that re-typing or re-creating the DB was out of the question, I agree... get VP7. Your mom already has access, so all she would need to get is VP7.

    Cheers!
     
  10. xgsrpg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    Thanks for the suggestions. All my mom is managing with Access is a list of her clients (which totals over 900). It has a lot of information besides adresses like purchased items, credit card/payment info, and the like. She doesn't use many of the Reports features and stuff, only the label-making feature which she uses to make labels for advertisement postcards. As long as she can get the data in and she can make printable labels, it's all good.
     
  11. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #11
    MySQL is not web based. Its just what most people use for the backend on websites. It can run on its own, outside of a web container and has ODBC and JDBC drivers to incorporate into a variety of software packages.

    This should help you with your migration, should you choose MySQL

    http://www.kitebird.com/articles/access-migrate.html

    You should be able to link the database to Word/Excel for label printing too using ODBC.

    http://dev.mysql.com/doc/connector/odbc/en/manual.html
     
  12. jsalzer macrumors 6502a

    jsalzer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    #12
    On Filemaker

    If she does decide to go to Filemaker Pro, it would be fairly easy for you to help her out. Filemaker Pro is the Grandchild of the Claris database, so it's fairly easy for Mac users who have used CW to pick up. And it has the same "learn as you go" ease of use. I've been developing with Filemaker (a student/registration/financial database) for about 6 months now and am absolutely in love.

    Now, to take one step backward here. If her database really only consists of one table (in other words, it's entirely two-dimensional where she only has the 900 records and lots of fields in each record), the AppleWorks database can still be stretched pretty far. You can merge data into Draw documents for form letters and forms, print labels, perform complex searches, sort, etc. And it's free with the purchase of her Mac.
     
  13. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    Technically, I think that's only true if she happens to get an iBook or iMac, not for a PowerBook like yours or a Power Mac. But if AppleWorks is good enough for what she needs, it's inexpensive even if it's not free with the Mac.
     
  14. logicat2001 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #14
    I've been using Filemaker since 1990. At this point, I don't even remember what company owned and developed the software back then. It is true that a (very) slimmed down version is available in AppleWorks.

    Filemaker 7 was just recently released and I'm a licensed owner of both 7 and Developer 7. I also code and build solutions using MySQL on the back end, primarily w/PHP or Perl on the front end. FMPro7 is light years ahead of anything they've offered in the past. The advances they've made are remarkable; truly.

    If your Mom is confident enough using a computer and learning a new piece of software, there's not much competition for Filemaker 7 (IMHO). There are competitors that have many plusses, e.g. 4th Dimension, but FMPro's interface and scripting facilities allow people that cannot code a programming language to deal with advanced automation and logical operations in an elegant interface. Like any solution, there are pros and cons rather than "a right answer."

    Therefore, do yourself and your Mom a service and download the demos for both Filemaker Pro and 4th Dimension. Export your Access db as comma-delimited files and import them into each. See what it might take to accomplish what she needs and then you'll have your answer, on your own terms.

    Best regards and good luck,
    Logicat
     
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    FileMaker was developed as a flat-file database system by Claris, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple Computer. IIRC, all Apple software was sold by Claris. Only hardware was sold under the Apple name. Apple killed all of the Claris software products except the MacOS, Claris Works, and Claris FileMaker. It brought the MacOS and Claris Works back under the Apple umbrella and changed the name of Claris Works to AppleWorks. Claris FileMaker was spun into a new wholly-owned Apple subsidiary named FileMaker, Inc. Claris FileMaker was renamed FileMaker and was changed to a relational database system. The takeaway message is that FileMaker has always been an Apple-owned product, but it has never been sold under the Apple name.
     
  16. jsalzer macrumors 6502a

    jsalzer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    #16
    Software Packages

    Oops - thanks for catching that. I *did* have to transfer CW from my Performa over to the PowerBook and purchased AW6 later, didn't I?

    You know - not to stray too far off topic here - I really wish Apple would offer a few different pre-bundled options that could be selected on the build to order page. There are consumer users who would like to buy something from the pro line but would rather have the consumer software bundle.

    (Now watch me get back on topic). FileMaker Rocks!
     
  17. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    The only significant limitation of FileMaker for my purposes is that is doesn't come with ODBC/JDBC (standardized SQL-style) access, so I can't plug it in in place of an RDBMS. So you don't really get to plug and play, and then change your mind later, across platforms.

    FileMaker isn't relational by nature, even though they have grafted on relational-like features.
     

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