Need to create a small database

Posted on 2014-08-28
Last Modified: 2014-09-05
Hi, a client works as a bartender and wants me to write him a small application for keeping track of his tips and hourly wages.  It's simple but with a few variables I would like to add as options:

1. He can get paid one of two hourly wages, depending what job class he's assigned
2. Works in multiple outlets and multiple shifts.
3. Can work overtime fairly frequently.

Basically what I would like to give him is an application he can put his hours worked, tips earned, job class, and any notes, and from there it would calculate his earnings per hour, quarter, and annual salary.

My question is what program should I use and if you can point me to resources to getting started with it (online tutorials, videos, etc).  Also, can I do this with OpenOffice?

Question by:epichero22
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    I would recommend MS Access its a decent database you can write custom code and have screens\forms for prompting and showing information and you can also create reports.

    There are a ton of sites that have good Access examples and support.
    LVL 84
    An off-the-shelf program like Quickbooks can do this, and it can also take care of tax time needs and such.
    LVL 29

    Expert Comment

    I agree with Scott, as a contractor I started with QuickBooks (cumbersome) and migrated to Quicken Home and Business (easier to manage and setup).
    And you can charge your client for the setting it up.
    Good luck!
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    You are posting the question in an Access forum which you paid to join so I assume that you use Access.  So, unless your friend wants to buy software such as Quicken or QuickBooks, Access will do just fine.  I'm assuming you asked about Open Office because your friend doesn't own a copy of Access.  That isn't a problem.  Just have him download the FREE runtime edition of Access from the MS website.  That will allow him to run an application that you create but will not allow him to create or modify database objects.  Since the runtime engine does not permit access to the navigation pane or design view of any objects, you need to create a real application and that means forms and reports.  The app will need to open to a form and the form will need buttons to open other forms or reports.

    To test the app in runtime view, rename the extension from .accdb to .accdr.  This tells Access to pretend to be the runtime engine.  If you are working with an older version of Access, you may need to upgrade since the earlier versions of the runtime engine were not free and I'm pretty sure they cost more than a new copy of Access assuming you can even find a copy for sale.  You can try running an .mdb with the runtime engine for A2013 but I don't know if it will work.  DO NOT install the runtime on your development PC.  It will interfere with the full version.
    LVL 84
    I'm not saying you can't do this in Access - you certainly could, and you could do a pretty good job of it. If all that's needed is the requirements listed in the original question, then a handful of tables, and a couple of Forms and Reports would be all that's needed. However, it's rare that a wage tracking application would ONLY need to do those things, and as everyone knows feature creep can be a project killer ...

    I'm just saying that there are already products out there that do this, and do it very well.
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    Scott, I would agree with you but I read the question as a friend helping his friend calculate the friends personal wages.  If this were going to be used to calculate all the wages of a group of employees for a business then I'm with you 100% - no way would I reinvent the wheel.  It sounds like this person just wants a way to verify his paycheck(s) at the end of the week.  Given that, I would choose Access over Excel or spending a few hundred dollars (which he may not have) on something more sophisticated.

    My nephew has been bussing tables during winter and summer breaks for the past 2 years and he has the same problem.  His hours are erratic as are the waitress/waiters he works for (who share their tips with him) and he's been keeping a spreadsheet.  With bartenders, when you're the lead you get x dollars per hour but if you're the back, you get y and y is more than x because as the back, you do more of the behind the scenes work like stocking and washing and so end up with less in tips.

    So - epi - if you can make it simple enough to use and distribute it with the Access Runtime, you might even be able to sell it for a few bucks to poor college students.
    LVL 29

    Expert Comment

    How about the free "Desktop time and billing" from Micro$oft?

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