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Advice on what program to use

I want to write an application with the following characteristics, and am unsure what program to use (or even if a DB is necessary). I previously wrote a somewhat more complicated application in Foxpro for Dos, but that was a long time ago!!!).

The application is to be Windows based.

Data is collected an interactive form, consisting of mostly text variables (200 or so). Logic will control some options being accessible. Table entry should be possible, as well as importing of small documents, and graphical objects (jpegs).

The data will be analyzed to generate a number of different reports, incorporating additional text linking the variables. Output has to be as a editable text document (including tables), preferably MS Word, and also as an Excel spreadsheet.

The input form needs to be sent to clients, for them to fill in and return (each client would be 1 record, would not need more than 1000). So the DB would be relatively small. I assume that as some logic would control the input form, that this needs to have some sort of end-user license, and protection of the code.

I believe MS Word and Excel have features that may be able to do most of this, but I am unsure about the additional code required. I found programming in Foxpro to be quite easy, and have more trouble understanding the MS Access DB wizards.
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I think that anybody that answers your question will answer it based upon their own experience, and how they interpret your requirements.
So...I would do the back end in Foxpro, but I would install xammp apache friends - xampp and create the input form as a web page in php. The Foxpro code that you write will essentially be a batch program with no windowing or @say statements.
I can't imagine the logistics of getting a Windows application out to a 1000 clients and have them install it and return a completed form.
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Thanks for the response. It is difficult to describe the application given my inexperience in the topic.
My reference to Foxpro was more to identify my previous experience with DB programming, and not a suggestion that I would use it in the future.

My form needs to be able to change based on responses to early questions, and therefore "interactive". It also needs to be able to either place the responses in a database, or a format that is readily exportable to a database. It also needs to be suitable for updating over a period of time.

Based on my previous experience in Foxpro, I could imagine a way of doing it, but I realize there have been many new options developed in the last 20 years, hence my visit here for suggections on how to proceed. By past experience I know the importance of taking time to select the right platform at the outset. Any tips will be gratefully received.
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You may consider this as well, MachForm PHP HTML Form Builder Their Machforms version 3.4 allows you to create a mysql database directly from a form. You need to create a web site so that the clients can access the form, but the forms build quite quickly.
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Thanks for your replies. Since my original posting, I have been checking out solutions. Form building software (like Google Tools and MachForm) looked to be a great short-cut, but the ones I checked out in detail (FormLizard and DraftOnce) had limitations that I couldn't overcome. I also investigated XpressDox, which handles the document producing but is less strong on the form building side.
So I have come full circle, and decided to use Access. From my previous experience with Foxpro, I suspect Access is fully featured enough to do all I want, and evolution has certainly brought lots of bells and whistles. All I have to do is knuckle down and learn it, and as I said before, those wizards don't help at all. I've got a few questions about design concepts in my project, but I will post on the Access forum.
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Access will certainly handle the data and will let you create a nice form. But I don't think you can "send a form to a client" from Access. You'd have to send a copy of the entire database, and the clients would need a license for MS Access to use it.
I could be wrong...ask in the MS Access forums. But you should do a proof of concept before you go too far down this path.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindman View Post
Access will certainly handle the data and will let you create a nice form. But I don't think you can "send a form to a client" from Access. You'd have to send a copy of the entire database, and the clients would need a license for MS Access to use it.
I could be wrong...ask in the MS Access forums. But you should do a proof of concept before you go too far down this path.
Sorry, my mistaken terminology. I would of course send a run-time application to my client, who would fill in the associated forms, data captured in the database, and I would take care of document generation upon receipt of the file.

I posted my follow-up on the database design and concept forum, not the access one, just in case someone comes up with an alternative to Access.
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just wondering if you do this by say a form within a word document

sending an Access DB with runtime will be tricky.

the issue with Access is that not every one has a copy of Access, and you could be limiting yourself by using Access. Yes I appreciate not everyone has a copy of word, but there are more office installations with word than there are of Access. I'd probably try to use as old a version of word as possible to reduce compatability issues

you should be able to get the word document to save to an Access db and get the customrr to return the DB.

a word of caution though, Access only runs on Microsoft windows or suitable emulators
Word has slight differences between the windws and mac versions (mac versiuons are a few generations behind Windoews versions), and although you can open word document in say open office there is no guarantee that any VBA scripting inside your word document would work in OO.
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Thanks for the suggestion. I did look at using Word, but felt that what I wanted to do was more complex for it to handle (my perception). What I have are multiple forms, which require a menu system, as well as help buttons, and what I percieve to be features more akin to a DB program than Word.

I was also under the impression that a runtime version on Access means that the enduser does not need to have a copy of Access (maybe my terminology is not correct). From what I have seen Access should be fine to design a form to collect the data in the database, and then I will have all the info I need to run document merges in Word.
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