Mark Bell wrote:
> Access is not perfect but is much more user friendly than many more
> products. Personally I used to prefer Paradox but Borland lost the plot
> ago - leaving Access as the only real solution for PCs.
From a nice GUI (Graphical User Interface) perspective I guess Access
does the job but so would filemaker or a host of similar apps. Wouldn't
a free, enterprise class database like http://www.mysql.com be of more
use? e.g. It supports functionality like soundex and other pattern
matching as well as full text keys which would, for example, support
PB's requirements for sophisticated search routines.
> In most cases if you get the data structure right, what database you use is
'Which database?' is an important question. Does the database in
question support the complete SQL specification or will I have to learn
a new SQL dialect in order to maintain and interrogate it. Can my
proprietary database structures be scaled up or down onto other
platforms if my requirements change etc.
e.g. I build a pottery database on a Windows machine using MS Access as
part of a research project...how easy would it be to port it to linux
and run it on PostgreSQL in order to take advantage the Linux
implementation of 'R' ( http://www.r-project.org/ ). What if my research
project was taken on by the department as a full scale R&D tool, could I
port it to a SQLServer DB quickly and effectlively or would I be stuck
using Access and shared files?
As you point out, one of the core tenets of database design is
reusability/orthagonality - the ability to reduce data input overhead by
structuring the data in a relational way. What good is this if you data
is then equally restricted to a particular platform or toolset?
However, for those people wedded to the Excel gui there is no reason to
discontinue its use just becuase you store your data in a database. I
find it very useful to reorder, view, sort and present data from a
database by using the data source functionality that it comes with.
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