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Database options for Delphi hobbyist ?

Years ago, I  used to develop freeware programs using Delphi 5 for hobby / gaming use - little assorted database programs that stored assorted information about whatever hobby I had going at the time.

I'd write the program using Delphi 5 Professional and stored the data in Paradox tables.  When someone else wanted the program, they could install the BDE and download the program and data files and be away.

I bought a copy of Delphi XE3 a little while back and have thought about delving into this again - updating some of my old programs just for the sake of learning with the updated tools.

I want to be able to use standard SQL to query the database.

From the point of view of ease of redistribution (I know a few people who would use updated versions of the programs if I ever got around to updating them), what's the easiest DB software to deal with  ?  If someone wanted to play with the updated program, what's the easiest solution for someone else to install so they could use the program ?

The version of XE3 I have supports ODBC (and I think it even has support for some other databases, I think the version of XE3 I have is Enterprise or Ultimate, I'd have to check what it was I bought).

Have not toyed with Dephi much in years (still have Delphi 5 installed and when I need a quick programmatic solution for a problem I still use it) but figured I should use the newer version I went to all the trouble of buying rather than sticking with the old one :)

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.
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Steve Wales
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Steve Wales
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5 Solutions
 
Geert GruwezOracle dbaCommented:
easy depends on what you want to do with it
but if you just need the odd table without wanting to bother about "a database engine" go with sqlite, it uses files for the data and the driver can be embedded in the exe.
http://sqlite4delphi.sourceforge.net/
http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/XE5/en/Tutorial:_Connecting_to_a_SQLite_Database_%28Delphi%29

and if you want ease of use as having unlimited query power (besides the limit of data size of 10gb) go with oracle express edition
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-technologies/express-edition/overview/index.html
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aikimarkCommented:
It's hard to go wrong with Firebird or Interbase.  I spoke with a client running a Delphi app that uses Firebird and there haven't been any problems with either the software or the database for over four years.  These databases remind me of the Ronco Rotisserie -- Set it and forget it.

If you are going to put this data onto a client's machine, the low maintenance and administration requirements make Firebird and Interbase quite attractive for small software developers.
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Steve WalesSenior Database AdministratorAuthor Commented:
Definitely no commercial usage - and as an Oracle professional, Oracle XE is certainly appealing personally, but installation and configuration of Oracle for someone else to use and maintain is probably more trouble than it's worth.

I will definitely look into the other three options presented though.  Thanks!
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Steve WalesSenior Database AdministratorAuthor Commented:
Actually, I will throw one other question out related to this.

Do any of the above offer the equivalent to a formatted memo that Paradox had ?  One of the columns in the application I plan on trying to upgrade contained bolded or italicized text at times.
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aikimarkCommented:
You can store large strings in a Text or nText column in Firebird.  If you limit the length below that, you have a few more variable length character fields from which to choose.  You can store HTML in the field and render the formatted text in a tHTMLviewer component (or equivalent).
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Sinisa VukCommented:
Delphi + MS Access database + Ado components for me is easiest solution and very "native", works out of box as is, no bde, no odbc. you don't need ms access installed - there are few freeware tools to create/manage database.
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Geert GruwezOracle dbaCommented:
formatted memo ?

i use synedit to display formatted text, the database in this case doesn't matter
http://sourceforge.net/projects/synedit/
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MvanderKooijCommented:
I've been using embedded Firebird in my hobby project www.PictoSelector.eu and that works great. The nice thing of firebird embedded is that it can also connect to a server, which makes it very flexible. Most of my users are parents and not aware that they are using a database except for a few system administrators which have installed it in schools and other institutions.
I'm using Unified InterBase to talk to firebird: http://sourceforge.net/projects/uib/
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jimyXCommented:
I suggest AbsoluteDB. It's the perfect replacement for BDE.

You may read these articles for additional information.
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ThommyCommented:
I also recommend using SQLite.

Delphi XE3 Architect, Ultimate and Enterprise even provide direct support for SQLite databases.  Just place a TSQLConnection on your form and set property driver to Sqlite
...

Please have a look a below video tutorial...
Using a SQLite database in VCL and FMX apps
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Steve WalesSenior Database AdministratorAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all for the input.  Started playing with SQLite.  We'll see how that goes.
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