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Database software

suetown

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 12, 2019
3
0
Hi All
I am looking at running a simple database on MAcBook pro and need to be able to input excel csv files regularly and also design and pull data reports easily in a GUI.
Just wondering if anyone can recommend anything please?
thanks
Sue
 

Efrem

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2009
112
15
I'd go with FileMaker Pro. Aside from being able to do this, they also have a lot of templates and starter applications. There's a good chance that one of those will do all you need.
 
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superscape

macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2008
930
218
East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Much as I'm no fan of Excel and generally applaud any move from Excel to a database... is there a reason why you're not just making the reports in Excel itself? e.g. have a sheet for your raw data, and a sheet with your nicely formatted report that reads from the raw data sheet?

I appreciate, there are many good reasons not to make a report in Excel. Just wondered whether you'd considered it as an option.
 
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suetown

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 12, 2019
3
0
Thanks Efrem and Superscape.....we currently maintain a database of memberships (over 700) in Excel....we run trials every month and export the data to a CSV files and then we want to update the results for each member that ran in the trial -- its a bit long winded doing this by hand in Excel so looking to simplify this process somehow....i am thinking it might be a harder task than i thought......
 
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NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
2,891
1,217
Can try messing around with LibreOffice's Base (free) module:

https://www.libreoffice.org/discover/base/

If you have PC access and you have a full Office license, Access on that side.

Macs come with database software, sqlite: /usr/bin/sqlite3

Depending on the formats of the csv files, can maybe sorta-automate by using VLOOKUP/HLOOKUP function to extract data from one csv to fill into the other.
 
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neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,765
260
SF Bay area
Probably FileMaker would be great, but they are kind of more expensive than they used to be.

SQLite looks interesting. I didn't know it existed. Should work with your data which is text only. There is a free interface, Valentia Studio, in the App Store.
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,798
9,675
Prescott Valley, AZ
Whenever the question of databases arise, people always recommend FileMaker. FileMaker works with relational databases, which are generally overkill for most people. Designing a relational database usually requires more database knowledge that the person possesses. How easy is it to use FileMaker with a flat-file database?

Back-in-the-day, on the Windows side, there used to be simple database modules within integrated apps like MS Works and ClarisWorks. On the Mac side, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks and Bento. (I still have and use Bento)
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 65832
Aug 27, 2015
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Tons to choose from, depends on budget, needs, tech abiliity, etc.

Have not used it, but an option that reminds me of the ease of FileMaker of old, or Bento is Records. Free demo, low cost, worth checking out.

May be hard to beat for simple + beautiful. May not fit your needs if you need advanced sharing features, automated notifcations, etc.
 
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TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,297
827
Whenever the question of databases arise, people always recommend FileMaker. FileMaker works with relational databases, which are generally overkill for most people. Designing a relational database usually requires more database knowledge that the person possesses. How easy is it to use FileMaker with a flat-file database?

Back-in-the-day, on the Windows side, there used to be simple database modules within integrated apps like MS Works and ClarisWorks. On the Mac side, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks and Bento. (I still have and use Bento)

FileMaker started as a flat-file database, and didn't start to add relational capabilities until v3.0 Pro. I still have the VHS tape introducing the brave new world (but no working player on which to watch it).

Some old DBs I created as flat-file still live on happily with modern versions of the app, so the relational side can be ignored if needed.

FMP is a great tool, but has become overkill for most individual users or small groups. A single-user perpetual license now costs $540 for v18, and FMP almost always has issues of some sort with each major OS update. Upgrades aren't cheap either. Apple can clearly claim that it and FMI, err…Claris, are separate entities because the two could be more in sync with their releases, but aren't. One company now treats "Pro" as a marketing term, and the other has gone full bore catering to no one but pros.

I've been actively looking for a FMP replacement, since v12 won't work with the new machine I have on the way.

It's difficult for the small user or hobbyist because of them have shifted their focus to the bigger fish, cloud and/or subscription models. There is no clear substitute for one of the Works modules or Bento, but the closest may be Tap Forms, which offers a trial period I intend to check out.

Panorama, Helix, 4D, LiveCode (modern HyperCard), Access (ugh--and Windows only), Base/LibreOffice (requires Java) are other names often thrown out, but may or may not be suitable.
 
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hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
FMP is a great tool, but has become overkill for most individual users or small groups. A single-user perpetual license now costs $540 for v18, and FMP almost always has issues of some sort with each major OS update. Upgrades aren't cheap either.


Seems like there would be a big market for a stripped-down version. Something with about the functionality of FM 4 or 5, but flat file only. Sell it for about $39, or make a $10 per year subscription. Could probably sell a million.

And once folks are hooked....and want a full-fledged, cloud-accessible relational DB, hello FileMaker (Claris now...just to confuse everybody).

Seems like they are leaving a lot of business on the table.
 
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rdowty

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2008
667
111
If you found a developer or knew some HTML and JavaScript you could create a simple web app and use Firebase for the hosting and your costs to run it would be zero and there'd be nothing to buy.
 
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TheIntruder

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Jul 2, 2008
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Seems like there would be a big market for a stripped-down version. Something with about the functionality of FM 4 or 5, but flat file only. Sell it for about $39, or make a $10 per year subscription. Could probably sell a million.

And once folks are hooked....and want a full-fledged, cloud-accessible relational DB, hello FileMaker (Claris now...just to confuse everybody).

Seems like they are leaving a lot of business on the table.

There is a market (I'm part of it), but it's hard to say how large it is.

FMInc may have a better idea, but it obviously doesn't see a business case for it, since it has narrowed its focus even further by offering v18 only in the Advanced version, to individual developers (who can recoup the cost in their business) or selling multi-user license setups to larger companies. Plus, the experience with Bento may have soured any future prospects.

Creating DBs, even simpler ones, takes more effort than a typical office document like a spreadsheet, and that's only if a user has the desire to organize and manipulate their data. Ready-made templates may ease the process, but they only go so far, and would require effort to customize.

There are already apps that cover the specific needs most users have to organize finances, passwords, contacts, etc., and other stuff can be managed in an office suite.

I wish it was different, but active developers selling solutions, and business that need tools are going to be more reliable than fickle end users, who won't pay subscription fees, or for annual updates, and may just call it quits when their obsession with collecting and cataloging their Beanie Babies wanes along with everyone else.
 
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suetown

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 12, 2019
3
0
Oh lots of options there - thanks everyone - I will look into some of these
appreciate the feedback
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 65832
Aug 27, 2015
1,501
507
on the land line mr. smith.
There is a market (I'm part of it), but it's hard to say how large it is.

FMInc may have a better idea, but it obviously doesn't see a business case for it, since it has narrowed its focus even further by offering v18 only in the Advanced version, to individual developers (who can recoup the cost in their business) or selling multi-user license setups to larger companies. Plus, the experience with Bento may have soured any future prospects.

Creating DBs, even simpler ones, takes more effort than a typical office document like a spreadsheet, and that's only if a user has the desire to organize and manipulate their data. Ready-made templates may ease the process, but they only go so far, and would require effort to customize.

There are already apps that cover the specific needs most users have to organize finances, passwords, contacts, etc., and other stuff can be managed in an office suite.

I wish it was different, but active developers selling solutions, and business that need tools are going to be more reliable than fickle end users, who won't pay subscription fees, or for annual updates, and may just call it quits when their obsession with collecting and cataloging their Beanie Babies wanes along with everyone else.

Clearly they don't see it, or don't want it. Could simply be they are moving up market where the big money is....trying to challenge the big boys in enterprise.

But there is a market for the sub-$100 customizable not-a-spreadsheet solutions. The fact that there are so many other options out there pretty much proves it. The good news—if I am right about the market—is that others will eagerly fill the hole.
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,798
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Prescott Valley, AZ
Clearly they don't see it, or don't want it. Could simply be they are moving up market where the big money is....trying to challenge the big boys in enterprise.

But there is a market for the sub-$100 customizable not-a-spreadsheet solutions. The fact that there are so many other options out there pretty much proves it. The good news—if I am right about the market—is that others will eagerly fill the hole.

Sadly, there is no longer a market for a sub $100 flat-file DB tool. For consumers, they don't want to spend the money on a general purpose database tool but rather a specialized database program like a DVD Catalog app. For large companies, they'll use a more expensive and powerful relational database tool. But for advanced consumers and small businesses, a flat-file database tool would serve their needs. These flat-file apps don't command a high price though.

FileMaker knew that and that was why Bento needed to die. By killing off Bento, they forced small business to pony up to buy FileMaker. People right here in this thread are even recommending FileMaker for a very basic database need. Mission accomplished FileMaker!

There were many good flat-file database programs over the decades... PC-File and dBase, Geoworks Database, MS Works database, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks Database, then on the Mac, Bento. Now, there are none that stand out and have a heavy-weight developer behind it.

... now off to yell at some kids to get off my lawn. ;)
 
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TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
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My needs are all personal now, and I don't require all the power that FMP offers, or have an employer willing to pay for it. It's mostly inertia (investment in learning the program, and already-built solutions), plus some nostalgia, that's keeping my interest. If it was offered at a more reasonable cost, then I'd probably buy a current version, but that's not an option and that doesn't appear likely to change.

When I get some more time, I'm going to download Tap Forms and give it a good evaluation during the free trial period.

From my research, it most closely matches my needs, offers an iOS version, and is reasonably priced ($50 for macOS, $17 for iOS). It's been around a while, and the developer seems responsive to user inquiries. There's only been one paid upgrade for a considerable period of time (though some still grumbled), which also adds to the value proposition.

One alternative I've tried, and neglected to include in the list above earlier is Symphytum, which is open source and multi-platform. For simpler needs, it could be a suitable choice, but I quickly realized that it wouldn't work for me.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 65832
Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
Sadly, there is no longer a market for a sub $100 flat-file DB tool. For consumers, they don't want to spend the money on a general purpose database tool but rather a specialized database program like a DVD Catalog app. For large companies, they'll use a more expensive and powerful relational database tool. But for advanced consumers and small businesses, a flat-file database tool would serve their needs. These flat-file apps don't command a high price though.

FileMaker knew that and that was why Bento needed to die. By killing off Bento, they forced small business to pony up to buy FileMaker. People right here in this thread are even recommending FileMaker for a very basic database need. Mission accomplished FileMaker!

There were many good flat-file database programs over the decades... PC-File and dBase, Geoworks Database, MS Works database, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks Database, then on the Mac, Bento. Now, there are none that stand out and have a heavy-weight developer behind it.

... now off to yell at some kids to get off my lawn. ;)

Have to disagree....at least about Bento. I always found Bento to be frustrating. Too simple, too basic. Never had the magic of early FM or Claris. Not surprised it never got traction.

There are still some other options out there. But most, like Access, were too painful for me to want to really use.

These days AirTable may be the closest thing. 4D was never as simple, looks like that has not changed. Others are still (as far as I am aware) fairly traditional, not-so-user-friendly.

Ironically, even as FM moves up the market, Oracle Apex bills itself as a FileMaker-like low code, fast dev tool. Themes, templates, icons....very FM-looking (never used it).

No point in debating, simple or starter version of Claris is not coming. I still have access to FM with EDU pricing, at least for a while. Otherwise, i would have to move on too. Too expensive, too up-market for my needs now.
 
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TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
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OK, better late than never, I said I'd chime in after giving Tap Forms a whirl…

Long story short, I found it will suit what I need -- a simple, easy-to-use flat-file DB for personal organization -- and bought a license, which was also spurred by the fact that it can be found at a steeply discounted price.

While it obviously doesn't have the power (or to be fair, the complexity) of FMP, it is capable of relations, while being easy to use.

At this point, I've got most of my data into workable files, but have yet to get into customized layouts or calculation fields, so those parts are TBD, but the basics are sound.

I never used Bento, so I don't know how it compares, but TF follows the familiar three-pane paradigm not unlike Address Book and Mail, with Categories (Groups or Mail accounts), a list of records (Contacts or Messages), and the main content pane. It won't be foreign to anyone who has used those two common apps.

Setting up the guts, like defining fields, is handled by a sidebar that is shown/hidden by a button in the toolbar, not separate dialogs like FMP.

There are six pre-defined views that are quite usable by themselves, with labeled fields, tabular views, and others, and can be used for basic entry and editing. No need to set up a basic layout from a blank slate like one would have to do in FMP. In fact, one could entirely forego designing custom layouts if only a quick-and-dirty database is required.

One may elect to have a single DB document file host a variety of different "Forms," like an Excel workbook, or elect to keep them in separate files.

Data can be synced with the iOS version, which is a separate license, but that's not a functional I think I'll need.

The biggest adjustment is getting comfortable with a different way of doing things, but overall, it's a friendly approach to a DB program that makes it easy to get going quickly, and won't intimidate users with the "now what?" feeling that the completely blank slate that FMP and Access present when starting from scratch, especially from the layout standpoint.

The app is freely downloadable, and functions for a ten day trial without a license.
 
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Big Bad D

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
183
88
France
I haven't had the time to yet use it extensively, but Ninox Database seems to be another possible option if you are looking for something with more traditional database functionality than a form based app.
 
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