Database software

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by suetown, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. suetown macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2019
    #1
    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
     
  2. Efrem macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2009
    #2
    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.
     
  3. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #3
    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.
     
  4. suetown thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 12, 2019
    #4
    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......
     
  5. NoBoMac Moderator

    NoBoMac

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #5
    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.
     
  6. neutrino23, Aug 13, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019

    neutrino23 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #7
    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)
     
  8. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. AxiomaticRubric macrumors 6502

    AxiomaticRubric

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    #9
    Try the Mac app "Base". It's a very simple SQLite editor and it sounds like a perfect fit for your use case.
     
  10. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a

    TheIntruder

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    Jul 2, 2008
    #10
    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.
     
  11. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

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  12. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #12

    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.
     
  13. rdowty macrumors 6502a

    rdowty

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #13
    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.
     
  14. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a

    TheIntruder

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    #14
    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.
     
  15. suetown thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 12, 2019
    #15
    Oh lots of options there - thanks everyone - I will look into some of these
    appreciate the feedback
     
  16. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    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.
     
  17. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #17
    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. ;)
     
  18. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a

    TheIntruder

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    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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18 August 12, 2019