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Business Database

By dusthazard ยท 23 replies
Jul 8, 2003
  1. Howdy! I'm looking for a, hopefully free/open source, program that can handle storing business orders. In particular, this is for a surveryor that would like to keep his contracts/jobs in a searchable database so he can find things when people ask much down the road.

    For Windows 98SE (that's his work machine.)

  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Use mysql on Linux, compile apache so that it can talk to mysql and design a front end in html that uses php to talk to the mysql database presents results in html.

    You will have to figure out this yourself, however there are many projects out there to help you, such as



    If you are willing to do with a commercial, closed source solution from Microsoft, there are several things around in Frontpage and so forth that allow you to talk to an access database with an html front end.

    Also, create the web server with SSL and use https. Require authentication and use a mysql database for the authentication (think this is called mysql auth mod).

    You will get all of this stuff, I should imagine, in Windows form as well as for Linux. You certainly get apache, php and mysql for Windows.
  3. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    You can also use Microsoft Access, if he has the full version of MS Office. No licence fees.
  4. dusthazard

    dusthazard TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thank you for the reply. That sounds like a challenging solution he would have to pay me for if I took the time to create. :D

    He takes his orders over the phone, not the internet, and was planning to keep them for just reference for himself(to keep details and such, and maybe when a customer called like a year down the line and wanted to know something about the contract.) But, he was talking about how he wished he had access, but didn't want to lay down the money for it.

    So, I decided to try to find him a good opensource/free solutoin.

    Thank you, these are some things I will look into. Anybody else have any easy solutions for his problem?

  5. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Phantasm's solution works, only if the data is to be viewed by others. But I can see why, it sounded like you needed a shopping cart. I assume you meant a program for a computer that only stores info and such? If that is the case, tell him to take a little lesson on Access or Excel, preferably access.

    But, if you want to be able to have the information viewable by others or authorized people only, say from a remote computer, Phantasm's solution is the best.
  6. dusthazard

    dusthazard TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Yes, just a program that stores info. I guess I'll tell him that Excel would be appriopriate... he already has that.

    My appologies if I wasn't very clear on what I needed. I wasn't too sure what I needed myself. lol.

    And lookie here, I've got myself a 18 megebyte mySQL file... I guess I have no choice but to learn a bit about it now I have it. lol ;) Maybe if I get some spare time.

  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Not sure what you meant by that.
  8. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    I mean what's the point in having MySQL and PHP set up like a server only to store business information only accessable to that computer? This is the best way if it's to be accessed remotely. Microsoft Access gets the job done and has alot of neat ways of organizing asking for results, etc. (took a course on Access).
  9. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    MySQL (complex) = Enterprise Database + Many Remote Users.
    Access/Excel (simple) = Small Personal Database (mainly, as required here).
  10. dusthazard

    dusthazard TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thank you very much for the help. I'll read up some on Excel and help him use it for what he needs it to do.
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    These are two totally different technologies that do different things.

    And of course a web server can be only accessible to just one person - that's what a personal intranet is for.

    And to ensure that its only that intended person that can access the data, we could use mod_auth_mysql to keep the username and password as part of the database we are serving.

    This makes the database accessible over the internet on any machine that has a browser, but still keeps that private because we force the user to authenticate to access the data.

    Worried about the security of transmitting data over the net? Use https, which works just fine with apache, etc.

    So what do we have so far?

    Accessible anywhere (that has a browser and internet access).
    Can be through authentication only (i.e. no anonymous access)

    Admittedly, I may have read into the post that some element of remote access was required. If not, then yes perhaps some simple access database is the best solution. I admit I may have read the question that some remote access was involved when perhaps it was not.

    Is it?
  12. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    MySQL is an excellent open source database that is very popular. Its way more sophisticated than MS Access. I think the point that was being made is that its possibly more sophisticated than required and would be quite difficult for a novice user to design, install and configure (just a guess).

    I plan on learning MySQL at some time in the future, so I'm hoping it won't be as difficult as I imagine. Open source tends to mean poorly organised documentation and tons of configuration settings that you have to figure out and manually implement. Please feel free to enlighten us if this is not the case.

    PS: I don't believe anyone was having a go at your suggestions phant, as they are good suggestions. We are all just expressing alternative opinions, that's all.
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    I agree with your assessment, more or less.

    What I was saying was that I read the question in such a way that I believed that some sort of remote access was needed.

    By this, I mean that the database itself resides on a server somewhere, its its accessed for queries and transactions from a remote location, over the internet perhaps.

    Considering the (no doubt obvious) requirements for security and so forth (and the fact that he mentions open source) I recommended what I thought was best.

    Of course, for the novice computer user Microsoft Access probably is the best way to setup a quick and easy database. But I did not read the question as:

    What's the best relational database software management system?

    Rather, I read it:

    What's the best solution for my problem?

    Now, if all he wants is to be able to whack some data in a database on an occasional basis, maybe have a view made up as a nice GUI for the database - fair enough, go with access. However, you will pay for it (questions mentions free or open source software) and if remote access is required, no one has yet mentioned how that remote access will happen, or how security should be taken in account.

    But if the question is...

    "What's the best database program for me to use?"

    If you are even asking that question then most likely Access is your answer.

    It depends on the question. And the question was a little too open to interpretation.
  14. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    More like I was going to say right now. Yeah, MySQL works... sure... but then again, they've got to learn it, it will be tough. And if one learns MySQL, one has to learn PHP.

    For remote access on internet or intranet (with whatever security and access options you want): MySQL.

    For access with a single computer that has all the programs stored locally: MS Access.

    It's more of how much time you want to spend.

    Option 1:
    - Learn HTML, then PHP, then MySQL, then Apache web server, and get some experience over a long period of time. Ideal for remote access. Then use MySQL databases.

    Option 2:
    - Learn the easy GUI interface of a program for local use only and faster to learn. Then use MS Access.

    I've finished learning PHP without the use of MySQL and I'm getting into MySQL, it isn't that hard though, but I'm just a fast learner who loves on-hands learning/training. After that, I'm jumping into Apache. (I have a HUGE book on PHP, MySQL, and Apache).

    Give him a MySQL lesson while you're at it. :grinthumb
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Who? Me?
  16. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Yes. Is that not who I quoted?
  17. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592


    xtr-x can take my place!!!!!......hehe :giddy:
  18. cromrell

    cromrell TS Rookie Posts: 41

    easy database mySQL vs. msAccess

    looks like there has been a ton of traffic on this already...

    but put another tic mark next to msAccess for me.

    I'm currently using msAccess 2000 to run all our database systems (thats 30-40 users reading/writing, etc in real-time).

    Yes: I know I playing with fire here (stretching Access to it's limits) and upgrading our systems to msSQL Server 2000 is a likely upgrade path for next year.

    Access is included in the Professional versions of Office suites 97,2000,XP, etc. If you own a copy of Developer version of Office 2000 or XP, then you could make a run-time application which works w/o the end-user needing Access software.
    I think the run-time creation is included in msAccess 97 w/o requiring developer tools or edition.

    It is really pretty easy to even wizard together a quick order entry table & associated form (should only take an hour or so).
    Access also makes it pretty easy to export data into Excel, or merge into msWord for mail merge, etc...

    If he is on a tight/zero budget, a semi-proficient high school student with a book could probablly get him functional.
    Don't bother looking for a professional msAccess developer... its just too easy to poke around and get it done yourself.

  19. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    What exactly are you trying to say? Are you trying to say I don't know what I am talking about? If you have something to say, I would appreciate it if you would spit it out right now.

    (apologies if I have misunderstood, or your english is letting you down, but that's what it sounds like.....)
  20. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Uh oh, you pissed off the big dog. I think it would be wise of everyone to make friends on the boards and not enemies, as they get you nowhere.
  21. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    You missunderstood. You were talking about mod_auth_mysql and I said you might as well give him a lesson in MySQL. :D
  22. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    in that case, i take it back. I am sorry. You didn't initially explain that very well, and I took it the wrong way. I hope we can have a truce.
  23. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Yeah. No problem.
  24. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    You are all daft!

    Tab-delimited textual databases... There is no competition.
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