Wanted: Simple, fast flat-file database app

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Fishrrman, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'm looking for a simple - and FAST - "flat file" database app for OS X.

    It should have both "list" and "form" views, but otherwise doesn't have to be overly elaborate with lots of bling or bells 'n' whistles.

    If anyone here remembers the Classic Mac app called "Microsoft Works" from the late 80's-early 90's, you know EXACTLY what I'm searching for.

    I've yet to encounter ANY database app that was as simple, clean, easy-to-use, and did I say, "FAST"?

    The db module from ClarisWorks/AppleWorks is ok, but still never matched MS Works for speed.

    Today, everything is "appearance". Granted, MS Works didn't look fancy, but it did the job. I still use it on this PowerMac g4 (in Classic mode), but I realize at some point I'll have to start migrating old databases towards the MacIntel platform.

    Any suggestions?

    - John
  2. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
  3. Sholom macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2009
    Hi John. I'm glad you posted this. I thought I was the only MS Works junkie on the planet.

    It's insane that a program that was created more some 20 years ago has more easier use and, in some ways, sophistication than anything out there today, but it does.

    I've just downloaded the Bento demo and tried it briefly. At first blush it looks like the next-best thing to works I've found. In Find mode it groups and isolates all matching records in one shot BUT it looks like you have to manually click in the Search field to initiate the process. In works, as you know, you merely had to hit Command F to find a single record or Command M to find all matching records, and the Search field would pop up with the cursor already in it, ready to type.

    There's a program called Basilisk II that will allow you to run works and other classic apps on your Intel mac. It works on Tiger; I don't know about Leopard. BUT my nephew, who'se a programmer had to install it and he was able to get it working on one machine but not on another with a slightly different OS version, and not on my PC, even after endless tweaking.

    It works in emulation mode and it works perfectly BUT it's slower, pixellated, and importing and exporting data is complicated.

    The flatfile database is so good that I have a G4 taking up space for that purpose only. I still use it for my main contact database and many other personal databases.

    I'd suggest you download the demo of Bento and see if it works for you. Unless you're a programmer or very technically minded, I doubt you'll be able to get Basilisk up and running, and you may find it frustrating.

    I have another programmer friend who says if I spent a few hours with Filemaker Pro (the father app of Bento), I should be able to create a simple database that will do anything works can do. He's probably right so that's another route you could go. I just haven't taken the time to yet, although I did make a few initial failed attempts.

    I suspect that, like you, I will continue to search for a works clone. Stay in touch.

    Further to my last, detailed reply, and after working with bento a bit more, it does have a shortcut to the search field (command option F). Moreover, when you enter the search term, it finds all instances of that term without you having to hit the return key.

    On balance, then, it might be even better than works since it can do more things...except after your matched records have been isolated, it seems complicated to return to regular mode. So far I haven't found it possible with just one keystroke as in Works. But I'll keep trying.
  4. Taximan macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Check out Panorama

    I have been using different versions of this program for years one of the first databases for the mac. Very easy and lightning fast. provue.com Free trail and plenty of templates

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