I'm looking for a db program\language out there that would allow me to:
1. create a db that includes forms, reports, logic, etc (like an Access db)
2. put the db and the program code into a folder
3. copy the folder to any XP+ machine
4. see, use, modify, etc. the data using only the program files within the folder and without having to install anything on the machine
5. have a nice pretty gui for the user?
Basically I'm trying to find a totally portable (installs and runs from a single folder) db that has functionality equivalent to Access.
Would you settle for even more than what you requested?
I've been really happy with the U3 OpenOffice that I can carry in my pocket.
If you want to take things several steps further than that and still retain full integration back to Microsoft Access, you can go all the way to HanDBase and trot the database all the way to your PDA/Cell phone while keeping full Access synchronization!
Thanks guys, I'm checking these out. But do have a couple of quick questions.
GeorgeV, doesn't the runtime have to "installed"? In other words, it's not portable is it?
Pat, I noticed under the Base section of the OpenOffice link that is says "(Note that the design functionality is currently disabled in this U3 package of OpenOffice.org for technical reasons)". Do you know what they mean by that?
You need to design a database (create the tables and relationships) using a copy of Open Office that is installed in the conventional way (actually installed on the Start Menu of the PC). Once the design is established, you can use it as you see fit with the U3 version.
This is a limitation of the Open Office code, and it is slated to be fixed in the near future (90-180 days the last I heard). Once the code is fixed, I'd expect a new U3 release in ten to fourteen days.
Thanks Pat. Can I ask you a couple of questions about OpenOffice?
Is Base as stable and reliable as Access (lack of mistakes within calculations and logic procedures with tens of thousands of records)?
Is it very difficult to learn to code within Base compared to Access and its VBA?
Open Office is an Open Source tool. You can view the worklist (the current planned changes), view the QA web site, and download the source code for Open Office from http://openoffice.org
I've never found a problem with Open Office that I couldn't work around. There are some limitations, but both the QA team and the support team are very open about the limitations, work arounds, etc. Some of the limitations are by design, intended to keep people from hurting themselves (or others).
Base can manage hundreds of thousands of rows on its own, and it can use MySQL for "heavy lifting" when you get beyond the scope of what Base can do on its own. This is WAY beyond the scope of what you've described so far. In general, bugs and security flaws rarely live long in an Open Source environment. While you might find a bug, I'd bet that it won't be around long.
I don't have any problem dealing with Base. Different people have different skill sets and different expectations, but I'd bet that you'll find it easier than MS-Access because the design is "purer" because there aren't as many conflicts caused by the need to support many other products.
It's a very different environment than MS-Access both from the perspective of the software package and the community that surrounds it. The things you know about Access may help or hinder you with Base because it is a different product, with a different heritage, and a vastly different support and service model.
Using Open Office to access a Jet database (MDB file) is likely to be tempermental, especially as you move that MDB from one windows machine to another. Jet has evolved in parallel with MS-Access to provide the ability to access data regardless of which Windows version you're using... Jet doesn't necessarily provide the same access on all platforms, and even when Jet does provide the same access it isn't always provided in the same way.
If you are looking for portability, I'd strongly suggest converting the MDB file to a native Base file. This will drastically reduce the number of "moving pieces" as you move from one system to another, which will provide you with much more stability.
Sorry, I'm not that into the design/development stream for Open Office or Base to be of much use there... I know that the original design deliberatly left out some features that could be implemented using the existing features and that this is a matter of ongoing debate...
There are small factions that think that Open Office would be better off if it more closely mirrored one or more of the commercial products. Of course it could only effectively mirror one suite since duplicating the performance of any one commercial product would almost certainly depart from the performance of all of the others. So far, the dominant faction is the one that holds to the idea of "We aren't product X, so while we might want to provide one of its features there is no need to provide that feature the same way" and insists on adding only features and design changes that support what Open Office is now.
If you visit the Open Office web site, post this question in one of their forums (wikis), I'm sure that you'll get a response there that makes a whole lot more sense than this one does!