>>> Edmund Lee <[log in to unmask]> 28/07/2003 14:33:07 >>>
I'd just like to add my support to Marks comment that it is not necessarily
the technology that is the key issue in deciding 'whats best', but the
organisation and structure of the data.
Most of the software referred to is capable of storing, basic processing
and some sorts of export of data. However, for that data to be useful in
the long term (ie when your project is finished) or to anyone else, who may
have their data structured in a different way, then agreed standards become
That's exactly the point. The key is to understand the nature of the data and what you want to do with it, design your system, then implement your system. The design stages should be completely platform independent until you come down to implementation. This ensures that the data structure is determined by the data and by agreed database concepts rather than the designers familiarity with a particular piece of software. Even for a tiny dataset, this should still apply in principle, even if the only design needed is to define a single table in your head then build it in Excel or whatever.
Of course, technology plays an important part as most people use what they have or what they are familiar with but it is still, for the most part, irrelevant. I personally wouldn't advocate Excel over Access or vice-versa - i use them both in different contexts for their specific strengths. I also use dBase tables as part of my work, but generally using Access or Excel to work with them ;-) The point of my last posting was that as long as a few simple conceptual rules regarding the nature of the actual data are adhered to, anyone can build a half-decent database using their chosen database/spreadsheet application: I'd rather have a well structured, non-atomic but consistently delimited text file than a poorly structured MDB file (of which i have seen plenty). Discussions regarding MySQL vs Access vs Excel vs Paradox and the like are only relevant from the point of view of implementation, which as i have said, should be independent of conceptual database design. I personally detest the line that is more often creeping into project designs that states "data will be stored in an Access database" as if this in some way means that sensible design has been fully taken into account.
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