I am creating a vertical application for repair shops. I know the vertical VERY well. I do not know current DB technology. I WOULD LOVE YOUR HELP and advice, opinions, rants, etc. – I always want to learn (and I’m easily amused).

I want to choose the most appropriate DB and UI tools for my project. The ideal tool set would be 100% integrated and be so intuitive it reads my mind. But, back to reality… I am learning fast, but have LOTS to learn – please excuse the evidence of my ignorance below (and feel free to suggest what I “should” be asking).

SCOPE of the PROJECT
(Web services are required)

DATABASE
1 local server with 10-30 clients
200-400 relational databases/tables
DB size – typically 2K customers, 30K parts, 10K repair records per year, etc. – nothing huge but not trivial
The DB MUST be rock-solid – zero downtime, zero crashes, zero lost records, no index breaking…
A LINUX data server is preferred
DB OPTIONS = Is mySQL on a Linux platform sufficiently robust? Are there better choices?

IDE to create the UI
#1) The client UI must be 100% operable by keystrokes (but also allow mousing)
#2) A client UI that could be deployed on both Windows and Linux platforms would be a great extra
I suspect #2 means a browser interface which I suspect kills 100% keystrokes – but I would love to find I am wrong!

COST
My customers do not make much money – typically $3M gross, 20 employees, and $100K-$200K net. Costly run-time modules or licences will be a very tough sale. I think that scratches Oracle, WebSphere, even Progress. Plus I think these choices are probably overkill (using a Mercedes as a golf cart).

SUGGESTIONS?
Thanks.