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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database? 281

New submitter danzvash (447536) writes "I'm doing some volunteering for a street kids charity in Senegal, West Africa, and they need a new database to store all their information for the kids, and to help the funding organizations like UNICEF. The charity staff have a few computers running Windows 7. Being a die-hard OSS geek I'm more inclined to knock up a MySQL backend with a Django (or similar) front-end and run the whole thing from a reliable VPS. But it needs to be understandable by the non-geeks in the charity — there is no IT expertise here. Is there anything that can allow me to design and edit databases, tables, and forms but doesn't require an MS license?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @01:51PM (#47010577)

    I'm surprised a die-hard OSS geek hasn't heard of OpenOffice or LibreOffice's Base.

  • OpenOffice + MySQL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _hAZE_ ( 20054 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:07PM (#47010783)

    While I never did get around to implementing it (or really needing it), I was always intrigued by the fact that the OpenOffice "Base" application can connect to a MySQL database (and has been able to for many, many years). You may want to consider investigating that, as it may provide a fairly "user friendly" and "easily supported" interface to a solid database backend.

  • Pff Good luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:11PM (#47010833) Journal

    The problem is not the database. We all know Access is no PostGres or MySQL. It is the GUI to build forms and store them.

    For example you can create a car parts inventory system really quick and easy for a small shop. You do not have to be an expert developer and an average Joe who knows a tiny bit of sql can develop it and have a working solution within an hour or 2. I wish Access was more used than god aweful Excel to store data, but that and File Maker Pro have filled this market.

    I thought about starting a file maker/access clone a few years ago that would be simple and could backend to a SQL database of choice. I never got around to it because I knew it would never compete.

    It would be nice to a a gui like Access that can work with a web browser too easily. Until that time there is no replacement for File Maker or Office. (Does Apple even make File Maker anymore ?)

  • civicrm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:16PM (#47010873)

    CiviCRM is web-based, open source, Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software geared toward meeting the needs of non-profit and other civic-sector organizations.

    As a non profit committed to the public good itself, CiviCRM understands that forging and growing strong relationships with constituents is about more than collecting and tracking constituent data - it is about sustaining relationships with supporters over time.

    To this end, CiviCRM has created a robust web-based, open source, highly customizable, CRM to meet organizations’ highest expectations right out-of-the box. Unlike proprietary software, each new release of this open source software reflects the very real needs of its users as enhancements are continually given back to the community.

    With CiviCRM's robust feature set, organizations can further their mission through contact management, fundraising, event management, member management, mass e-mail marketing, peer-to-peer campaigns, case management, and much more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:26PM (#47010993)

    Sorry, but base is a joke. by far the LEAST functional part of that suite. (And it's too bad. I'd use it for all kinds of stuff, if it were just a little more reliable...)

  • by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @06:39PM (#47013585)
    It can be handy if I'm dragging data from multiple sources like an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file and MySQL database, via ODBC connections and be able to build queries on all these sources (even if it can be as slow as a dog).

    That's something that ooBase (or LibreOffice Base) has yet to get right - a good database tool lets you pull from *anywhere* and put to *anywhere* with minimal effort. MSAccess has very good import/export capability, which makes it easy to pull in a CSV, massage it, and then output something else.

    The other issue with ooBase/LibreBase is that you cannot visually design insert / update / delete queries using their QBE interface. Instead you have to write out all of the SQL. Add to that the stupid idea to use a non-standard SQL engine that requires weird syntax not supported by the mainstream databases (like pgsql). In ooBase you have to put double quotes around every table and field name.

    As much as I want to use ooBase/Libre at the office, MSAccess still beats it hands-down for data manipulation.

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