Base Vs MS Access ?

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Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Robert11 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:32 pm

Hello,

First time frankly I've looked at Open Office.
Wow !

Question:

How "similar" is Base to the MS ACCESS offering ?

Do they do pretty much the same things ?
Differences ?

Anything closer to ACCESS than Base ?

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Villeroy » Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:12 am

Use this forum's search facility. This has been discussed to exhaustion. No, it's not what you might expect.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby dpilot83 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:20 am

I found this thread through a google search trying to learn about the differences between Access and Base. After reading about the recommendation to use the search function I did so. I have been unable to find the threads where this has been hashed over and over. I would sure appreciate a link if that were possible. Maybe I'm using the wrong key words. I have used "microsoft access", "access vs base" and similar searches.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Villeroy » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:48 am

There is one big difference. It amounts to 15 years of development and a multi-million dollar budget.
Both are database frontends, which can be used to read, display and possibly write several types of tabular data sources from CSV to highe end database servers. Access can create single-file databases from scratch by using the MS JET engine, Base pretends to do the same thing when it wraps http://hsqldb.org/ into a zip-archive.
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Trying to explain what Base is

This office suite is strictly focussed (and limited) to document creation (text, spreadsheet, presentations, vector graphics with charts and mathematical formulas). Thus Base is hardly more than a bridge to import data sources regardless of file formats into office documents. Reporting is based on the Writer component. All input forms are attached to office documents. Currently, the main focus of development seems to be the integration of a third-party, open source report engine to allow professional reports, close to what you can do in Access. Again, these reports dump grouped and sorted content plus charts and pictures out of existing databases into Writer's layout capabilities. The Sun Report Builder extension does not help you developing new databases nor input forms.

Access has a strong focus on ease-of-use for the database developer. This is almost non-existent in Base. When it comes to developing a new database or input forms for existing databases, Base is best used by some SQL-literable developer able to avoid all of it's graphical tools: [Tutorial] Structured Query Language in Base. SQL is something that can be learned easily and helps to operate any database, including Base and Access.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby TheGurkha » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:56 pm

That's the best 'in a nut shell' description of the differences between Base and Access I've read so far. Perhaps something like this should be in the beginner's section?
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby dpilot83 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:05 pm

Yes, that was great. Thanks so much.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby dpilot83 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:49 pm

Villeroy, as I reseach software solutions to the obstacle that I see forming on the horizon for my business, I am learning that there are many many directions that I can take. I could go with straight Access, OOo Base, FileMaker Pro, or I could probably get into some more serious stuff like a PostgreSQL backend with maybe OOo Base as a frontend? I'm getting overwhelmed at all the things I need to research before I can even pick a correct direction. Therefore, this post is me seeing someone who obviously knows what they're talking about and asking you to take a quick look at what I'm doing. I am hoping that you can point me in the right direction. I am very willing to research and learn, but I just don't know what the right direction is right now.

I have a farm with multiple fields (all of which are rented from land owners). I perform an operation on each field multiple times per year with various pieces of equipment. Each piece of equipment uses fuel. Some pieces of equipment may apply fertilizer or seed or chemicals...you get the idea.

I currently have a several spreadsheets that I access every time I log an operation that I perform on a field.

1. I access the Equipment spreadsheet to determine how much fuel the piece of equipment uses, how much it costs to rent it per hour or per acre, how many acres per hour it can do, etc.

2. I access the Field spreadsheet for the field and list the date, the operation, and the various products that were used per acre. The spreadsheet calculates what was used for the total field based off of the total number of acres in the field.

3. I access the Inventory spreadsheet and decrease my inventory for each product by the amount that the Field spreadsheet said I used.

4. I access a billing spreadsheet and use the information from some combination of the Field and Inventory spreadsheets to bill the land owner for his or her portion of the expenses.

I end up spending a lot of time entering data into one spreadsheet that was calculated by a previous spreadsheet. I could get some more complicated spreadsheets that have equations from one spreadsheet pointing to cells in another spreadsheet but I'm worried about keeping track of these links being broken when I re-organize the folder structure on my hard drive or move backups to another computer or something like that. It seems like that method could get comlicated quickly.

I lean towards free which pushed me in the direction of OpenOffice.org Base (I just made an assumption that it would do what I want). However, you've posted some fairly negative things about Base so I'm not sure I want to spend a significant amount of time learning it. I'm now thinking about learning something like PostgreSQL and then using Base as a front end but that maybe seems like overkill for what I'm doing. However, I can imagine this getting much more complicated in the future with many many additional things that I could keep track of.

I would be in your debt if you could make a recommendation for me as to whether or not OOo Base will do what I want it to do. I don't care about security. This will (as far as I can tell for the forseeable future) remain on my laptop or may be shared with people that I hire and the information is not sensitive, it's just useful). It will be incredibly important to me that data will not become corrupt on a regular basis though. I will do backups, but I don't want a lot of hassle.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby wienerschnitzel » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:34 pm

Villeroy wrote:Access has a strong focus on ease-of-use for the database developer. This is almost non-existent in Base. When it comes to developing a new database or input forms for existing databases, Base is best used by some SQL-literable developer able to avoid all of it's graphical tools: [Tutorial] Structured Query Language in Base. SQL is something that can be learned easily and helps to operate any database, including Base and Access.


I have been looking to find an alternative to M$ Access and after migrating an Access DB to mysql, I was faced with finding a suitable GUI frontend. I'm not talking about a GUI for the user as in developer, but the user as in somebody totally unfamiliar with databases.

I think that Base's form design is not something to be ashamed off, although I only have worked with Access' form designer and handcoded a lot of quirky behaviour using VBA. I'm not sure why you think it should be avoided. I remember when I was trying to design a mainform with two subforms in Access and had a hell of a time. Perhaps because I was still learning about setting up proper table relationships - can't remember now. In Base, it literally takes less than a minute to set it up.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Villeroy » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:33 am

Just have a look at Microsoft's example database "Northwind.mdb" for Access. Many years ago I studied the version of 1997. You could really run your little shop with this one. It is complete, self-documenting, easy to use (fool-proof), has everything included and very, very few macros since it is built on top of a well-thought relational JET-database and it demonstrates almost every aspect of queries, forms and report (what the developers had in mind). And the best thing of all: It should be little work to transfer exactly the same database schema to any member of the zoo MySQL, HSQLDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server, ...

Now have a look at this request for paid support: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=14582
I promise you that this guy will never run his "VBA application" under anything else than the "Excel Operating System" and with good changes that bigger changes to that "Operating System" requires to rewrite large parts of his app. This is exactly the same experience I made in 1999 when my first VBA-client switched from Office'95 to '97 and I worked one night long to adapt my tiny application to a new environment I was not familiar with.
Here we are talking of "database applications" that serve a single user of an almost unknown database tool set. How many users use Base world wide?

Same problem with heavily scripted web-sites compared to professional web-sites with a lot of css, very few scripting and high grade portability and compatibility.

After a few years of support on the Calc forum at oooforum.org I know that it is completely hopeless trying to help normal users with certain types of macro programs. You never really get finished and the user ends up with copy&paste programming he does not understand producing good-looking but possibly wrong results.

And right now on this forum viewtopic.php?f=13&t=14905&p=69819#p69819:
fabersum wrote:Now I need to set up a user-friendly way to search for the data stored in the table, and the best thing would be to be able to use a form similar to the data entry one, with some text box and some listbox to fill, the checkboxes to check/uncheck and a search button...

I am sure it's something possible to do with queries, forms and reports, but the stuff to learn is so much!

What can we do? Voo is going to write a macro for this particular database. Let's follow this thread.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby spiritus-nox » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:52 am

>> to dpilot83 <<
Hi,
I know this is an older thread, but just as well there might be others that are looking for hints on database topics, specially the cuestion wether to use OOo-Base, Filemaker or Access. My personal opinion (having used all three of them) is this:
The project you describe would be easiest to implement in Filemaker. It has just the right things in order to do that and is less complex than Access. OOo-Base cannot do what you need. You could do it in Access, or course, but Access itself is rather more complex than FM (at times it seemed that there were just too many properties, etc...).
OOo-Base does not have the funcionality that you require, such as interlinking tables and forms as per your description and particularly calculating fields with automatic updating of the corresponding table cell. Even calculating between form fields is not as easy as in FM (if it can be done at all); I guess you'd need to write a macro for that.
I know, maybe these functions are there, but even after looking around, I did not find them. (if they are indeed there, and before bashing me about it, maybe someone can point me to a simple solution of perfoming a simple function between form fields (for example: item.price * number.of.items = item.subtotal). In FM, getting that, as well as creating "one-to-many"-relations between tables and selecting records based on whatever other common data, as well as updating tables with calculated results, is fairly easy.

I came to this thread looking for information on the possibility of importing/converting FileMaker databases into/to OOo-Base... so far I've found nothing directly useable and have come to the conclusion better to stay with FM.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Villeroy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:06 am

spiritus-nox wrote:I came to this thread looking for information on the possibility of importing/converting FileMaker databases into/to OOo-Base... so far I've found nothing directly useable and have come to the conclusion better to stay with FM.

Until you want to use your data in this office suite. Then you can easily connect a Base document to your database, add some query definitions and create serial letters, labels, bibliographies in this suite using the same data from your database application. You can easily feed your spreadsheet models with database data and build pivot tables very quickly without building a new database application. This is the beauty of databases when they are separated from the frontend tools. Many users can use the same database with multiple applications.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby JamesJo » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:35 am

Base is a quality solution for small applications and database development. Access is more of a Swiss Army Knife than Base. And ofcourse, price.. with OpenOffice being still free of charge.
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby linarms » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:18 am

Just thought I'd weigh on this one..

Obviously Base is a lightweight tool compared with Access and others, but for my purposes it's perfect.

I need a temporary front-end to a MySQL database that will eventually have a web-based front-end.

Base is perfect.. it connects to MySQL (which itself looks after the multi-user aspect) and provides simple tools to get data population underway. Perfect :)
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Re: Base Vs MS Access ?

Postby Villeroy » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:36 pm

linarms wrote:Just thought I'd weigh on this one..

Obviously Base is a lightweight tool compared with Access and others, but for my purposes it's perfect.

I need a temporary front-end to a MySQL database that will eventually have a web-based front-end.

Base is perfect.. it connects to MySQL (which itself looks after the multi-user aspect) and provides simple tools to get data population underway. Perfect :)

+1
Nevertheless, the developers did not add too many useful features since version 2.0. Too much development time has been wasted for wizards that can not help anybody, a ridiculous document format which compromizes its embedded database and a report builder extension that perpetuates a never ending alpha state while needing compatibility upgrades with each new office version.
The most important improvements in Base since 2.0 would have improved the database connectivity of version 1.x as well. The first major version of OOo had exactly the same type of database connectivity in the configuration tree rather than config files called "database document". The forms, subforms and form controls were exactly the same. How much better could all this really work without the counterproductive "database document" which nobody really understands.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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