Alternative for MS Access database

Does someone know some good alternative of MS Access database? For personal use, relatively small records quantity, up to 10.000  For example, music collections catalog, etc
Free, compact size, high speed, does not install dll, ocx
 
SiroccoAsked:
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NavicertsCommented:
Hello,

Access is the best thing for that kind of application imho but you can check out MySQL it is actually for larger scale things than Access and larger than what i think you are looking for but it is free.


http://www.mysql.com/


-Navicerts
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HilaireCommented:
Since you don't need transaction handling, you could give a try to SQLite.
Even faster than mySQL, very optimized, and free ...

http://www.sqlite.org/
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LowfatspreadCommented:
Mysql,  the MSDE version of SQL server, DB2 UDB personal edition, ....
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Nick UpsonPrincipal Operations EngineerCommented:
firebird, the offshoot of interbase, free, open-source, small and powerful www.ibphoenix.com
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Arthur_WoodCommented:
however, it should be noted that most of those suggested database are just that - the DATABASE - and they DO NOT have any type of user interface (Forms, reports etc) which are part and parcel of a typical Access application.  You will need to re-create the User interface yourself.

AW
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
No, I need ready end-user solution, with convenient GUI, solution that does not need install plenty of files into user system.  As I said i need something for relatively small records quantity, much more simple then Access, more handy, withot the unnecessary features which Access have.
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tomvergoteCommented:
If you want the access forms/reports/macros/vba stuff, there is no alternative.

If  you code your frontend yourself
the ms endorsed free solution now would be msde and sql express in the future (btw sql express allows you to connect to an mdf file just as you would to an mdb)
sqlite is a nice, 1-dll oss database
mysql and postgresql are a bit more fullfledged but aren't very handy
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
No reports/macros/vba required, just way organize music collection, with search features, etc. Like online Perl based flat text databases .
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NavicertsCommented:
Why dont you just use excel?
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billmercerCommented:
If you really don't want any DLLs whatsoever, your choices are going to be very limited. Here's a DOS-based program that might fit your requirements.
http://www.simtel.net/product.php[id]42912[sekid]0[SiteID]simtel.net
It's definitely small and fast, and can be run from any location with no system changes.

DBFViewer can be used to browse, edit and search DBF files. It can't create new ones though.
http://www.coolutils.com/DBFViewer 

If you like Perl text files, you can always install Perl.

If you're looking for something just for your music collection, you'll probably have better luck finding a music catalog application that is designed to do that specifically, rather than looking for a general purpose database.

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tomvergoteCommented:
If you don't need the access frontend features but are coding your own stuff i'd go for sqlite, which is very lightweight and easy to use/distribute
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
I need mostly a general purpose dastabase, lightweight/small size, fast, very reliable, stable, more simple than Access, 1-dll will not a problem(though there are Delphi-based solutions without dll and ocx), Borland Delphi probably is most suitable for this purpose, though I am not sure.
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billmercerCommented:
Take a look at this...
http://plworx-software.com/index.html 
It's small, fast, simple, and free.  

Here's a blurb from the web site.
"dBworx is a compact, user-friendly relational database program for Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP whose features include:
Quick and easy database design
Up to 50 fields per database record
Numerous types of fields including calculated, lookup, relational and memo fields
Search, sort and filter database records
Import and export data to and from other applications
Print reports, labels, charts and documents
Run macro procedures
Turn dBworx tables into web pages
Comprehensive help file
Tutorial and example files
Small size (approx. 1100K)
No external DLLs, OCXs, or VBXs required
No registry entries"

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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Yes, this dBworx looks close to my needs.

About the sqlite: is there a some Visual database designer, which works with sqlite and allows easy create user interface (forms, reports etc)?
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billmercerCommented:
There are plenty, but the free ones are mostly web-based. Do a quick Google search for "open source SQL frontend"
options.

OpenOffice.org includes a powerful SQL database front-end that lets you do visual design of the database and create forms, integrate with  spreadsheets, make charts, etc, but it's not small by any definition, and definitely installs DLLs.
http://www.openoffice.org 

Open Source database design front-end for SQL engines. Not too big, but uses DLLs.
http://www.fabforce.net/dbdesigner4/

Ocelot has a package that includes a SQL-99 engine and GUI front-end that fits on a floppy disk. Does use 3 DLLs, but they're in the same folder as the application.
http://www.ocelot.ca/download.htm 

It seems you want a free program that is small, fast, stable, has GUI reporting and form-making capabilities similar to Access, is simple to learn and use, and doesn't install any DLLs. I really doubt such a thing exists. At the least you're probably going to have to accept some DLLs if you want anything sophisticated that isn't DOS-based.  
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
I do accept some DLLs, sure, after all its not a problem. I have Office XP with Access 2002, but I dont like Access - it just inconvenient.
Main reason it that it's complicated enough to create good database myself, without hiring the programmer. Then, it fact, there are very difficult to find the sophisticated Access programmer... I tried to hire the programmer in past to create a simple invoicing solution for me but they but they transformed this Access file into something extremely bulky which looked extremely inconveniently work with At once at opening a file i got a various forms each of them constantly suggested me to make some action, so to proceed to the following step I should execute previous... I have thrown this idea and just use a Excel create invoices..

Sure, there should be much more convenient programs for small databases than Access.

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billmercerCommented:
Sounds like your developer may have been TOO sophisticated for your needs.

If using Excel is the solution you've decided on, you should award the points for this question to Navicerts, as that was his suggestion.
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
In fact, there are very limited quantity of good developers, only 5-7% from developers are capable to create something creative and really convenient.(though, its true for all spheres)
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billmercerCommented:
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think owning a copy of Access makes you an Access developer.
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Finally, could someone recommend convenient GUI creator(easy create databases, forms, reports) for use with SQLite (not for MySQL), for Windows platform.
I did some Google search, but could not find some special. Probably someone has good experience and can advise me. Further I plan use SQLite (on Windows), so i will need some handy user interface creator to work with.


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billmercerCommented:
I've given you a couple of suggestions for this already.
Have you taken a look at OpenOffice.org and FabForce DBDesigner4?
There a wide variety of free web-based database interfaces, have you tried any of them?
If you want something that is specific to SQLite only, you're really limiting your options for no good reason. Lots of front-end products are designed to work with various different back-ends.


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tomvergoteCommented:
you could use access or any other odbc supporting front end i think, though i just use sql in the cli client
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Just small mistake: Assisted Answer should be for Hilaire comment.
Moderator, please credit Assisted Answer to Hilaire.

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billmercerCommented:
You'll need to post your request for a correction to the Support area, the moderators may not notice it here.
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clutenCommented:
Try MSDE.  Its Microsoft Server Desktop Edition.  If you have Access, chances are you have MSDE as well. It is not installed by default.  Like Access, it is designed for data amounts up to 1 Gig, however, unlike access, it is designed for multi-users at once. It follows the SQL Server data format, so any queries, tables, etc. designed in it, can be easily loaded into SQL Server.  To install MSDE, simply put in your Office CD, then browse it for a directory named "MSDE" then you'll need to open that and click setup.  Presto! An alternative to Access.

***
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Well, but I need some end-user solutuion, ready for work, with handy front-end, or some front-end layout that can be very easy customized for specific database, without programming.
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vmccuneCommented:
After reading all the posts, I think your problem is more your perception of Access as a result of your developer choice.  Your requirements are not only what Access was designed for but you can create a simpe one via the wizard.
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Could you show me even one example of lightweight and convenient, carefully crafted Access invoicing solution?  I did not see any convenient yet.. It extremelly difficult find even one clever programmer today..
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Arthur_WoodCommented:
"It extremelly difficult find even one clever programmer today" then you have not been looking very hard, or at least not in the right places.

I have been a proferssional Access developer for almost 10 years, and have been recognized by my company and a valuable Access resource, and as such, have been 'loaned' by my department to other departments within our division on several occassions.

'Well crafted' depends completely on the spcifics of the requiremtns of the application.  There is no such thing as a 'generic' invoicing application.  I worked on one such project, for the US Air Force in the Pentagon, in Washingto DC, which grew into a major accounting application, used extensively by the Office of Air Force Operations in the Pentagon, but I woul hardly call it 'generic'.  And what do you mean by 'light-weight'?

AW
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vmccuneCommented:
A few more thoughts regarding "Clever Programmer".  How much did you intend or did you pay for what you got and how complete were your specifications ?  If you had poor specs and just asked someone to write you an invoicing program you would get a different version from every programmer that you asked.   I have written Point of Sale for antique malls and also service write up for dental handpiece repair.  Both of these create invoices but you would never think of them as the same product.  

The next question is what did you pay your programmer ?  Most knowledgeable Access/VB guys would be in the $75 to $125/Hr range for your application.  A good estimate for a "simple" invoicing with receivable product would be around 30 hours or $2250.00 to $3750.00.  If that seems like a lot for what you wanted or you paid considerably less than that, you most likely found someone who does this as a hobby and got what you paid for.

As I reread your posts and your objectives it seems that an off the shelf customizable product like Quickbooks or myInvoices will be more than sufficient and you won't have any need for a programmer "clever" or otherwise.
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billmercerCommented:
Experts, if you go back and review some of Sirocco's previous questions on various topics,
http://www.experts-exchange.com/QH_924866.html
you'll get a better understanding of his approach to using Experts-Exchange. I don't think there's much point in trying to change his opinion, as he generally seems to have a very firm idea in his head what will constitute an acceptable answer.

...

That said, I also think ths thread brings up an important point. It's amazing how hard it is to find a free or inexpensive single-user desktop database for Windows that is both simple and flexible.

The fact is, there's a serious gap in the low-end database software available for Windows. MySQL/PHP, MSDE/ASP, etc, are fine solutions, but they are NOT desktop applications. There used to be a number of database applications that filled this lower-end niche. Programs such as Q&A, Reflex, PCFile, and even Microsoft Works offered  simple, affordable data management that non-technical people could use to get useful work done without having any programming or database management experience. Today it seems like most people use Excel for this purpose.

There are lots of products that fill this niche in the handheld market, including some decent freeware, so the demand clearly exists. And there are plenty of free or inexpensive database programs that are targeted for a specific purpose, such as music library programs, video catalogs, contact managers, recipe collections, budget programs, and so on. But a simple generic database is extremely hard to find.
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Nick UpsonPrincipal Operations EngineerCommented:
The simple, generic database could be firebird, it normally requires zero administration yet is powerful
see www.ibphoenix.com for details
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tomvergoteCommented:
@billmercer

I'm not sure I would call a desktop easy to use database a niche
I have countless family members or friends (any of them using a pc almost) that wants to store something in a db and uses access for lack of a better option.
Come to think of it, there is indeed a real gap there.
The best alternative I know if (if it even is) is filemaker pro, but that doens't come with office and costs extra money
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
I just meant that it is difficult to find talented programmers today, only 5-7 percent of programmers are capable to think creatively, unfortunately..
And  it does not depend on how many you pay him - $75, $125 or $200 per hour..  If its not capable to think creatively, it will never make a good product.
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billmercerCommented:
NickUpson, I agree Firebird is great. But again, it's an engine, not a desktop application.

tomvergote, by niche in this case I was simply referring to a specific area of demand for a product. Basically, a gap. Filemaker pro would be a good option if it were cheap, but it's not. I'd like to see something like "FileMaker Lite." Leave out the networking, web publishing, terabyte file sizes, etc, streamline the interface, and sell it for $40 bucks or so. It would be a very effective low-end desktop database.

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tomvergoteCommented:
going way offtopic here, but:
maybe I always misinterpreted "niche" (not a native english speaker) as being a "smaller" market
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billmercerCommented:
The term "niche market" is often used to mean a smaller, less important market, but the meaning I intended was that of a gap or opening that could be filled. A niche can also be a role, or a place you put a statue, or any of half a dozen other things. Personally I'm impressed by anyone who learns to speak English as a second language. It often confuses me as my one and only language.

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TalloulaCommented:
If you just want a program that will allow you to organize your music collection, or movie collection, you can use an existing free opensource applications such as MediaPortal from http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net,
or DVDdb from http://globalmegacorp.org/dvddb/
or top music module for phpnuke from http://sourceforge.net/projects/nuketopmusic/

some of these will require you to install mysql and php on your computer, since you can run them through your web browser, but you won't have to do any programming, and they don't have to be online (e.g. you can run them through your http://localhost/mymusic)

I also have made a phpwebsite module from an older open source standalone script and placed it on my personal site, it is called phpmovielib to store my movie collection using php and mysql for backend, and it is web-based and open source: http://www.talloula.com
to see it in action, and u can get it from http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpmovielibrary/

Hope this helps!
Talloula
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Music database is good thing. But I want avoid using mysql and php. If this online web application (database) is must be in Perl.
If this desktop database for Win32 platform I'd prefer pure C.
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TalloulaCommented:
If you want a perl based solution, you can try gmmusic http://www.christophlorenz.de/prog/gmmusic.php

or go to http://www.linuxlinks.com/Software/Multimedia/MP3/Players/Jukebox/index.shtml

it has a list of many perl based music collection scripts, but they might depend on mysql to store the data. I'm sure you can find flat file style scripts, try Andromeda, it's a php script, very easy to setup and allows for streaming mp3 of your songs and playlists as well.

I don't know of any c applications for this, besides, this application is data-driven, requires a good User Interface, and is not math-intensive, so pure c should be one of your last resorts.

Regards,
Talloula
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billmercerCommented:
The PAQ that would not die...
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vmccuneCommented:
I agree Billmercer, also, Sirocco, as I read your post's I cant believe you started this as an Access question.  While you speak like you have no idea about a simple database like Access, your next post is that you want the "desktop" app to be web and suddenly, by the way, if it must be Win32 you prefer "pure C".  For a guy who can't build an Access application and thinks only 5-7% of the world's programmers know anything, you seem to have quite a bit of knowledge of higher level platforms.  What really was the point of this fishing expedition ?  
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SiroccoAuthor Commented:
Some amplification: i was start with an Access question. There are really very small choice of good database programs for small business.
Plus, the most existing offers I have seein is clumsy, buggy and inconvenient things.. I can confirm, that there is problem to find talented programmers.
Then i have seen some note about the program that will allow to organize the music collection. And I am really interesting in good collectors(cd, dvd, etc) database, as well. What i need here is online database(web application) coded in Perl. Sure, its not the desktop apps.

If we discuss desktop apps(database) to manage some home collectors database, yes, I'd always prefer pure C coded applications(not C/C++), carefully coded, small, fast, reliable..

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billmercerCommented:
Sirocco, I understand your desire for small, compact and reliable programs. But you seem to be saying that this is only possible with pure C.  What's wrong with C++?

If you want to see some truly compact and efficient programming, take a look at this:
http://colorforth.com/cf.html


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