OT: Database application



Filemaker Pro for a built, $$ but not too many, multiuser, web-capable, etc. database which manages to combine easy to use with lots of function, though lots of function is not always easy, depending on your mindset. Cross-platform, 30 day free trial available from the website. You probably don't need any of the extra-added cost versions (advanced, etc) they have made up to complicate the marketing. When things scale enough, a server is a good idea, and that raises the cost quite a bit, but if you are at that scale, it doesn't raise the cost per seat much. For what you are describing, and from what I recall of your operations as described in the past, a single copy, perhaps with local access to other computers via web, would probably do. A nice feature is container fields that can hold practically anything - I use them primarily for pictures of something related to a record.
I do a bunch of stuff (some rather complex) in FM Pro and it works fine. Much larger places use it or much larger numbers of records. I've heard it smeared, but almost always by people with an intere$t in another database (sales-slime), or who have never actually used it.
Much free and $ stuff in SQL, but it has seemed too clunky to convert over to for the stuff I do. Capable, but obtuse, from what I can see.
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Tom Gardner wrote:

Tom, have you looked at 'MRP' type software? It tracks inventory, lets you schedule production, and can let you see at a glance if you have everything needed to produce any standard product in your line. For instance, you need to schedule a run of 1000 of a single type brush. It automatically transfers the needed materials to that job number, and updates the available inventory for each component you use to make that brush. You can even schedule machine time as a non billable component. That way you can see how much work is scheduled for each machine, to help you set shipping dates.
Most packages have multiple user levels, so production workers can check on jobs and move orders, but can't request extra materials or change schedules. Higher levels would be stockroom, and production planning. The MRP programs can produce custom reports, in almost any way you can imagine. Best of all, you only need very basic computer skills for the average worker.
<http://www.google.com/search?q=mrp+software&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GWYA
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<http://www.google.com/search?q=mrp+software&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GWYA
Yep! We recently hired a consultant to create a scheduling system and train the appropriate people. We ended up not using a software solution though we looked at a number of them. Instead, we opted for a big magnetic board and a bunch of spreadsheets. Actually, an elegant solution and it seems to be workable. The software available is expensive and complicated and way over-kill for what we need to do. I'd like to automate some of the spreadsheets and/or have some simple database applications...you know, the kind I used to bang out in dBaseIII, FoxBASE, early FoxPro or some of the other DOS based database managers.
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Tom Gardner wrote:

There are small, inexpensive MRP packages availible. This has been discussed on news:sci.electronics.design (or http://groups.google.com/group/sci.electronics.design?hl=en for google group users) recently.
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On Sun, 2 Dec 2007 12:35:41 -0800, "Tom Gardner"
<snip>

<snip> ==================After reading the replies/responses/commentary for a while I have a few reminders/observations, and suggestions for a "cheap screw" solution. [my favorite kind of solution!]
From the perspective of the cost to replace/create, the ratio of costs run something like this:
Hardware = 1X, for example, run down to WalMart or BestBuy with 500$ and replace within an hour
Software including customization/macros = 10X or 5000$ in this example, the direct out of the box cost may not be much more, but the time/effort will be several days to several weeks.
data including time/cost to input = 100X or more or 50,000$ in this example
The loss of hardware or software, while inconvenient, seldom puts a company out of business, ==>but the loss of their data files may well do so.<== The moral is to make backups AND STORE THESE OFFSITE, POSSIBLY AT HOME.
While somewhat inefficient, flat ASCII files are the most portable between applications, allowing easy upgrades in your data entry, data query, and analysis software.
IMNSHO you are attempting to get a single program to do everything.
As in the machine shop as well as life, a program that does everything does nothing very well, is expensive, and hard to deal with.
ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] a superset of the MRP/MRPII [Materials Resources Planning/Manufacturing Resources Planning] programs such as SAP are examples. click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_requirements_planning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_resource_planning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_resource_planning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_ERP http://www.sap.com/solutions/business-suite/erp/index.epx
Given your stated requirements: "I want a simple application to log incoming shipments. I built a database in Access with fields including: Date, supplier, PO#, product, qty, text notes and a few more."
Step #1. I suggest a simple PowerBasic text based *ENTRY* program, which can including simple range checking. If you want to get fancy, there are bar code scanners, from wands to guns, that can go in parallel with the keyboard for data entry. You can also include head-down two pass entry for checking/verification.
Text based is much faster for data entry than GUI. More than likely this should go to a "holding file" rather than the main data file. Note that PowerBasic CC [Console Compiler] runs directly under windows and not in a dos box, although it has the look/feel (and speed) of a traditional dos program.
If you will send me your data description, I will hack out a PowerBasic demo. Use the email address shown.
Step #2. Create a simple PowerBasic program to range check and merge the above "holding file" by a qualified person into the main data file. This will allow several people to input data on separate computers. Note that you can easily import flat comma delimited ASCII files into Excel or the OpenOffice equivalent [free] spreadsheets. There is however a limit of 256 columns and 65,536 rows.
Step #3. Import the comma delimited [csv] files into Excel or OpenOffice, sort as desired, and generate tons of reports, charts, graphs. This process can be easily automated using macros. The spreadsheets offer a large number of report generation tools including subtotals by variable, pivot tables, and many types of charts.
Unless you are running General Motors, 65k line items of shipment data will be sufficient, especially if you offload the older data, for example to a cd for archive.
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Tom Gardner wrote:

I still fire up an old edition of Revelation whenever I need that kind of power, and man, does it sing with modern PCs! /mark
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