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GerrOrneq

Need advice on databases from those who work with them.

10 posts in this topic

Hello to all,

I have had a request from an old customer who has been running DataEase 4.5 (The MS DOS version) for over 20 years now.

The program was modified before my contact was employed there so that she does not know what the modifications entailed, but the upshot is that the database will not import into any subsequent versions of DataEase and we have not been able to find anyone who can determine how to upgrade, plus it seems like the Windows ver. of DE (And the later DOS versions are unstable) is not working as it should and I have seen other customers (on different DE forums) calling for earlier stable versions of DE to be made available.

The ver. she has works very well and does what it says on the tin as it were, but over the years it has thrown errors and I was called to rectify it, Now I must state that I know very little about DE but from toying with it I got it to ReOrganise all its data and that always sorted out the problem, So as far as DE 4.5 goes I regard it as very stable and recovers well from errors, as it has only happened a handful of times over the lasst 15 years that I have been involved.

It is now running in a DOS window on Win XP for a couple of years and has thrown disproportionately more of those errorrs during that time, my conclusion is that XP's DOS box supportis just slightly different enough to cause the errors, may be nothing to do with it but is just my suspicion.

Anyway my concern is that when they come to upgrade to Win 7 etc it may cause more errors and or whatever is causing the errors will cause a catastrophic failure of the data.

The person who is operating the DE app is also the only person who knows how to do so as DE's operation is archaic and non-obvious to Windows users, on top of that she is due for retirement so it is imperative that they get a modern-day replacement database that has the power and functionality of DE 4.5

DataEase 4.5 is being used (for a charity) to:

* keep track of church-gate collections throughout Ireland

* Keep track of the collectors at those church gates

* Track all schools and their collectors throughout Ireland

* Track lodgements from those collectors

* Track receipts for all monies collected

* Lodgement receipts

* Acknowledge pledges

* Acknowledge donations

* Produce Bank reports

* Produce Reports to the collectors on their collections

* Produce std letters to fundraisers etc.

* Produce other associated reports

* Produce the mailing labels for envelopes to various supporters and collectors

* Acknowledgements

* Reminders

* There appears to be a couple hundred reports it produces (I have not asked the user how many and I have never needed to know as all I needed to do was get it back up and running again)

* There are other functions that it does that I don't even know about as I am not a DE user.

Sorry for being so long winded as I though that some background was necessary.

Now my Q for those of you who are very familiar with databases is:

Do you know of a modern database app that will do all of the above functions and is customisable and relatively easy to use?

I researched (briefly) and found an app called Ffenics, it appears to be developed by ex developers of DataEase (may be wrong here tho.) and although it cannot import the existing data I was wondering if anyone knows if its similar and powerful enough?

Any good suggestions are welcome though.

Being a charity their resources are limited and I suspect that powerful data management software will not be cheap so the cost should be borne in mind when suggesting.

I may be wrong, but a Quickbooks, Quicken, Access or Excel type db would not be a viable option.

I perhaps need to clarify one other point, I am retired from the business rat race due to health problems for 10 years now and am only getting involved with this case as the company is a registered charity and they do good work and while I was in business they were a customer of mine.

So If I can get to pick someones brains here and come up with a viable answer to their database problem it will be greatly appreciated both by them and myself.

Thanks in advance.

DeMo.


Quote of the week:"BASIC programmers never die, they GOSUB and don't RETURN." -- UnknownWisdom of the ages:

  

  • I'd be unstoppable... if not for law enforcement and physics.
  • Marriage, the number 1 cause of divorce.
  • Don't steal... the government hates competition.
  • Irish Government Motto: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.
  • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
  • Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product.-- Ferenc Mantfeld
  • If you learn from your mistakes, then why ain't I a genius?! -- Anonymous
  • Remember, live every day as if it was your last day! one day you will be right.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Sure my system is secure, it just locked up again.
  • I haven't lost my mind; I have a tape back-up somewhere.  ~Author Unknown

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A SQL database with Crystal Reports or SQL Reporting Services would probably be a typical answer there...

In one sense though the question kinda sounds like "I want the reports to be complex but simple", I don't know if there's a good answer for that one :mellow:

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#3 ·  Posted (edited)

A quick google search brought up this...

http://www.churchdb.org/

And especially this! Maybe a better place to ask :mellow: ...

http://groups.google.com/group/chms/

Edit: Found this in the Google Groups, someone who's been on the same mission as you are....

http://transformingrenewal.blogspot.com/2008/10/chms-summary.html

Edited by KaFu

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Hi,

@evilertoaster.

@KaFu.

Thank's very much to both of you for taking the time and effort to reply, it is greatly appreciated. :P

I will follow the links ye have provided and see where that leads, I was/am unsure what daatabse system would be best suited to their needs and was wondering if anyone here had experience of DataEase and could compare it to Ffenics (or even if anyone had experience of Ffenics as it has DataEase roots).

But your suggestions have made me aware of other possible solutions, it will just require a lot more research and defining of requirements :party: to find an answer to suit.

The older one gets the more you realise how little one really knows :party: , so, anyone; other suggestions or recommendations will be gratefully appreciated.

Hopefully with all this new knowledge I will then have one of those 'Ah, hah' moments. :mellow:

Yours,

DeMo.


Quote of the week:"BASIC programmers never die, they GOSUB and don't RETURN." -- UnknownWisdom of the ages:

  

  • I'd be unstoppable... if not for law enforcement and physics.
  • Marriage, the number 1 cause of divorce.
  • Don't steal... the government hates competition.
  • Irish Government Motto: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.
  • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
  • Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product.-- Ferenc Mantfeld
  • If you learn from your mistakes, then why ain't I a genius?! -- Anonymous
  • Remember, live every day as if it was your last day! one day you will be right.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Sure my system is secure, it just locked up again.
  • I haven't lost my mind; I have a tape back-up somewhere.  ~Author Unknown

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I'd stay away of proprietary closed products. I remember having been hit by other Gupta products before. There isn't a structured team behind and their diffusion is microscopic to below average. The result is an endless series of bugs that get never fixed, or fixed while breaking something else.

I don't know if Crystal Reports can do the visible part (reports), but at any rate, rely on a proven DB. SQLite, PostGreSQL, MySQL, MS-SQL may all reveal good choices. Of course and as it seems that cost matters, free & open source are better, but that shrinks the list down to fewer.


This wonderful site allows debugging and testing regular expressions (many flavors available). An absolute must have in your bookmarks.
Another excellent RegExp tutorial. Don't forget downloading your copy of up-to-date pcretest.exe and pcregrep.exe here
RegExp tutorial: enough to get started
PCRE v8.33 regexp documentation latest available release and currently implemented in AutoIt beta.

SQLitespeed is another feature-rich premier SQLite manager (includes import/export). Well worth a try.
SQLite Expert (freeware Personal Edition or payware Pro version) is a very useful SQLite database manager.
An excellent eBook covering almost every aspect of SQLite3: a must-read for anyone doing serious work.
SQL tutorial (covers "generic" SQL, but most of it applies to SQLite as well)
A work-in-progress SQLite3 tutorial. Don't miss other LxyzTHW pages!
SQLite official website with full documentation (may be newer than the SQLite library that comes standard with AutoIt)

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Here's a very straightforward commentary, you might find it helpful.

http://www.codingthewheel.com/archives/are-commercial-databases-worth-it

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Hi,

Thank you for the replies.

@jchd:

Crystal Reports I am wary of as I was not impressed by it many moons ago when I was in business.

Your other suggestions are good but the main problem with this situation is that in the charity the user of this system (and others) are 'only just' computer literate and a straightforward, enter the data and click to produce reports and whatever, is what is needed, it would require a lot of training to get them onto creating and using other stuff.

I Know, I'm looking for a miracle... :P

@JRowe:

That was an informative link and confirmed what I already knew for some time now about the (over)complexity beyond what is generally required.

I have even toyed with the idea of writing something in AutoIt to suit... :mellow:

Might as well dream here as in bed!

Regards,

DeMo.


Quote of the week:"BASIC programmers never die, they GOSUB and don't RETURN." -- UnknownWisdom of the ages:

  

  • I'd be unstoppable... if not for law enforcement and physics.
  • Marriage, the number 1 cause of divorce.
  • Don't steal... the government hates competition.
  • Irish Government Motto: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.
  • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
  • Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product.-- Ferenc Mantfeld
  • If you learn from your mistakes, then why ain't I a genius?! -- Anonymous
  • Remember, live every day as if it was your last day! one day you will be right.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Sure my system is secure, it just locked up again.
  • I haven't lost my mind; I have a tape back-up somewhere.  ~Author Unknown

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One important question: how many people will be using the application simultaneously and will the users be all local or some/all remote over WAN?


This wonderful site allows debugging and testing regular expressions (many flavors available). An absolute must have in your bookmarks.
Another excellent RegExp tutorial. Don't forget downloading your copy of up-to-date pcretest.exe and pcregrep.exe here
RegExp tutorial: enough to get started
PCRE v8.33 regexp documentation latest available release and currently implemented in AutoIt beta.

SQLitespeed is another feature-rich premier SQLite manager (includes import/export). Well worth a try.
SQLite Expert (freeware Personal Edition or payware Pro version) is a very useful SQLite database manager.
An excellent eBook covering almost every aspect of SQLite3: a must-read for anyone doing serious work.
SQL tutorial (covers "generic" SQL, but most of it applies to SQLite as well)
A work-in-progress SQLite3 tutorial. Don't miss other LxyzTHW pages!
SQLite official website with full documentation (may be newer than the SQLite library that comes standard with AutoIt)

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It is now running in a DOS window on Win XP for a couple of years and has thrown disproportionately more of those errorrs during that time, my conclusion is that XP's DOS box supportis just slightly different enough to cause the errors, may be nothing to do with it but is just my suspicion.

Anyway my concern is that when they come to upgrade to Win 7 etc it may cause more errors and or whatever is causing the errors will cause a catastrophic failure of the data.

You can try running your old DOS application in DOSBox.

DOSBox is a perfect free DOS-emulator:

http://www.dosbox.com/information.php?page=0

It's mainly used for runnig of old DOS games on new Windows systems.

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#10 ·  Posted (edited)

Hi,

@jchd:

There will only be one person using it at a time.

Currently there is actually only one person in the whole place that can use the DataEase 4.5 package they are using and she is due for retirement soon.

@zedna:

DataEase is running in a DOS cmd shell under Win XP now.

The prog you ref will isolate it more and provide better emulation than shelling to DOS I presume?

But the DOS side of it is not going to continue to be a problem (if it really is anyway!) as they need a modern app that will do what DE does.

At the moment I am looking at the PostgreSQL app and am reading about xTuple ERP add-on for it, it seems to be a very comprehensive app including accounts, contacts, addresses, as well as incident management, project management and lead management. etc etc.

It will probably take me a month of Sundays to finish wading through it :mellow:

I may be wrong, but from what I've seen so far it maight just be what I'm looking for, but it's hard to tell and I could just be wishing it is the answer I want.

Best news is that both apps are FREE.

EDIT: Here is the link to xTuple ERP

Regards,

DeMo.

Edited by GerrOrneq

Quote of the week:"BASIC programmers never die, they GOSUB and don't RETURN." -- UnknownWisdom of the ages:

  

  • I'd be unstoppable... if not for law enforcement and physics.
  • Marriage, the number 1 cause of divorce.
  • Don't steal... the government hates competition.
  • Irish Government Motto: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.
  • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
  • Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product.-- Ferenc Mantfeld
  • If you learn from your mistakes, then why ain't I a genius?! -- Anonymous
  • Remember, live every day as if it was your last day! one day you will be right.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Sure my system is secure, it just locked up again.
  • I haven't lost my mind; I have a tape back-up somewhere.  ~Author Unknown

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