Database software

Associate
Joined
8 Oct 2008
Posts
1,221
A friend has a shared database running in excel currently, which is a total mess, too big, crashes often and cumbersome to use. It's a job entry, time sheet, invoicing setup.

He's asked me to help, and I really am unsure of what would be the best way to proceed. I'm very clued up on sql, and have assisted with the development of larger projects using .net / asp front ends etc, however the coding for the user interface was a mammoth task. I dont think this is the way to go for such a small project.

I've looked at alternatives such as access (how is access these days ?), alpha5 and filemaker, I'm at a bit of a loss on which would be the better option. I really want to avoid manual coding as it will no doubt up with me spending weeks researching ways todo things, bug fixing etc. :)

So can anyone recommend a solution that's has nice wizards for creating reports, creating easy to develop and use front ends etc, enables network access to the data. Thanks.
 
Soldato
Joined
24 Sep 2007
Posts
3,726
Don't use Access, it's not designed for use as a web database.

My preferred platform is PHP/MySQL so I would look at what scripts are available on this platform, I'm sure there will be a lot of choices in this area.

Rgds
 
Soldato
Joined
15 Nov 2008
Posts
5,060
Location
In the ether
A friend has a shared database running in excel currently, which is a total mess, too big, crashes often and cumbersome to use. It's a job entry, time sheet, invoicing setup.

He's asked me to help, and I really am unsure of what would be the best way to proceed. I'm very clued up on sql, and have assisted with the development of larger projects using .net / asp front ends etc, however the coding for the user interface was a mammoth task. I dont think this is the way to go for such a small project.

I've looked at alternatives such as access (how is access these days ?), alpha5 and filemaker, I'm at a bit of a loss on which would be the better option. I really want to avoid manual coding as it will no doubt up with me spending weeks researching ways todo things, bug fixing etc. :)

So can anyone recommend a solution that's has nice wizards for creating reports, creating easy to develop and use front ends etc, enables network access to the data. Thanks.
Budget?
 
Associate
OP
Joined
8 Oct 2008
Posts
1,221

Haaa not much, he really is a friend, so although I and he understands time is money, I imagine something around 1-2k but as it's early stages we haven't got that far. He's a bricky/maintenance man. so you can guess what kind of data goes in/out.

I really don't want to go down the php route as powerful as it is. I have no knowledge of the language, nor do I want too (my coding days are over).
 
Soldato
Joined
15 Nov 2008
Posts
5,060
Location
In the ether
Haaa not much, he really is a friend, so although I and he understands time is money, I imagine something around 1-2k but as it's early stages we haven't got that far. He's a bricky/maintenance man. so you can guess what kind of data goes in/out.

I really don't want to go down the php route as powerful as it is. I have no knowledge of the language, nor do I want too (my coding days are over).

Well I guess it's easier to start with what you have experience of, are you a professional developer?

I wouldn't use Access as has been stated already.

I'd say using MySQL as your backend database is probably a good bet. From there I guess you could use whatever language you like to write a front end, PhP would be nice as you don't need to develop any kind of application to act as a front end. But there's nothing to stop you writing a Java application (or whatever) to access the MySQL database and distribute that to everyone that needs to edit the data. Seems a bit OTT though.

To be totally honest I'd probably recommend (if he does have 1k-2k to spend) to get a PhP / MySQL solution developed by someone who knows how to develop with those technologies (to be honest you could replace the PhP element with JSP's or even use Ruby on Rails) but a web based solution would probably work best IMO.
 
Soldato
Joined
24 Sep 2007
Posts
3,726
Haaa not much, he really is a friend, so although I and he understands time is money, I imagine something around 1-2k but as it's early stages we haven't got that far. He's a bricky/maintenance man. so you can guess what kind of data goes in/out.

I really don't want to go down the php route as powerful as it is. I have no knowledge of the language, nor do I want too (my coding days are over).

OK, but one reason to look at PHP is that something "off the shelf" is likely to be available, it's just a case of finding the app. Finding people to code PHP is generally cheaper, if you don't want to code it yourself, find a local web company offering PHP, this project is bound to be quite a lot of work for you otherwise.

Another route would be Sage. I don't use this myself, but they are UK leaders in small business software, and do time sheet packages as well as accounting stuff:

http://www.sagetimesheet.com/

Rgds
 
Soldato
Joined
24 Sep 2007
Posts
3,726
Just to add:

- Don't know how much Sage TimeSheet is, but it's probably expensive.

- I would also agree that you don't want to be coding anything from scratch, that would take way too long and be reinventing the wheel.

Rgds
 
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
9,637
Location
Xbox Live
TBH despite what is said above, Access seems to fit your requirements,

Its basic, cheap, it allows you to build custom reports and forms relatively easily, it allows for network access and its something that is well documented and easy to train people up on.

You could build the database, document it and then leave it in your friends hand to maintain and support from here on in.
 
Last edited:
Associate
Joined
5 Feb 2009
Posts
424
Job Entry/Time Sheet/Invoicing... have you just tried going to sourceforge and finding an OpenSource solution? Just charge an implementation fee, do some customisation where necessary and be done with it.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
19 Oct 2002
Posts
28,161
Location
Surrey
From the description above I'd say Access. I really hate Access but in this case it seems to make sense.
 
Top Bottom