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ClarisWorks. Sigh. For the rest of us.

The high school where I worked used to put on a musical theatre production every year. We had a 1000-seat auditorium. Back in the 1990s I made a ClarisWorks spreadsheet with a list of every row and seat number. Then I designed a ticket in the database side of CW and married it with the seat numbers. Finally, I printed all 1000 unique tickets (20 to a page). With the students' help, I manually perforated the stub and manually cut the 1000 tickets and sold them. For a 5-night run, we'd change the date and print the 1000 tickets on a different colour card stock.

The school administration and the other teachers were amazed at how easily this could be done by a personal computer. They wanted to know what program I used so they could do the same on their PC's! We saved a few shekels by doing our own tickets and confounded my PC-centric colleagues to boot!
 


Yes, I remember it. I used it on a Mac Plus, can't remember what I used it for, though, but it would have been work related and it would have amazed people, as did Excel when that came out.
Yes indeed I do recall it, on my Mac 128. I thought MS File was a dog, to be honest.

But Excel 1.0 made up for that. My word, that code could work hard. Glad MS bought it off the three Florida lads who invented it. We would probably have never had that great tool if MS hadn't grabbed it. I do hope the lads were paid decently.
 


An indication of how powerful Double Helix was in capable hands occurred when Brisbane won the right to put on an Expo in 1988 (Expo 88), and formally kicked off back in 1983.

A ‘large company’ won the tender to supply the integrated IT (ticketing for 6 months, admin, organisation and materials flow to completion, then general support & supply, etc., etc., etc), but just 6 months before the scheduled opening day they threw their hands up and bailed out - it was just too hard.

A small local team, who ran a minor Mac store out Indoorapilly way, and who were the local agent for Helix, put their hand up to do the job. Talk about confidence in their product! The complete IT package was delivered to the Expo organisers in enough time to have everyone on site completely up to speed by opening day.

“The (Expo 88) fair attracted more than 18 million visitors, including staff and VIPs, more than double the predicted 7.8 million. . . 100,000 visitors a day, with highest day of attendance being 184,000 visitors on 29 October . . . 15,760,000 paying visitors total . . . tickets worth A$175 million” according to Wikipedia’s ‘World_Expo_88’.

Not bad for a bunch of little 1987 Macs (SEs with added external floppies, Mac IIs with huge 80MB HDs, & ADB with a 3rd-party network, if I recall correctly) plus that quirky database with funny icons, all lashed together in about five months or so. The show made a profit. First expo ever to do so.

Those wonderful function-icons are powerful little devils, and if you have a graphical-biased brain, they sing. It is so fast and easy to assemble what is a complex series of actions to perform desired tasks.

No way I could afford my own Helix, but was allowed to play with a copy to ‘help’ (to keep me out of their hair, I expect.)
 


The school administration and the other teachers were amazed at how easily this could be done by a personal computer. They wanted to know what program I used so they could do the same on their PC's! We saved a few shekels by doing our own tickets and confounded my PC-centric colleagues to boot!
Off topic, but I had the same experience in a class at MIT in 1990 when we were assigned the task of creating a hedonic equation to define optimum density for land profit using dataset for part of Boston. Using my SE 30 and a program with a graphic interface (I don't remember the name) I was able to test about 20 equations in an hour while my PC classmates were still working on their first!
 


Symphytum is a really, really simple database.
(snip)
Symphytum has obvious similarities to Apple's deceased and unlamented Bento personal database. Symphytum is not locked down as Bento was, and if considered as a way to store and review data using an attractive and adaptable entry form, you may find it of use. It is free.
Bento for Macintosh is, for me very lamented. I have not yet found anything offering its combination of simplicity, flexibility, and power. Specifically:
1 - Simultaneous, integrated "form" and "table" views.
2 - Flexible "checkbox" fields with logical values that can be used in calculations.
3 - Powerful "calc" fields.
4 - Form layout flexibility, especially when "form" has many fields.
I have many personal databases implemented using Bento, but I recognize the handwriting on the wall. I am trying to migrate all of them to alternatives.

I just tried Symphytum, and I like it for simplicity and flexibility more than any other product I've seen. It is 64-bit, free and will work for many flat file applications. But I wasn't able to use it as my preferred alternative, because it does not have a "calc" field. Also you can't view the "form" and "table" views at the same time.

Apple's Numbers spreadsheet is useful, and the price is right. But the lack of a flexible "Forms" capability restricts it to only smaller and simpler datasets.

I used SuperCard to create database-like applications, and it was great! But it seems to be stuck in the 32-bit world, and I can't justify it for personal databases that I wish to have for years into the future.

FileMaker is just too expensive to justify for personal databases.

Microsoft's Excel has a lot of the capabilities that I need, but it has four downsides as far as I'm concerned.
1 - It is Microsoft.
2 - The "Form" capability provides very limited formatting capability.
3 - The "Checkbox" field requires a separate field and logical test before it can be used for decision logic.
4 - It doesn't seem to have a "logical" field or data type and the corresponding logical operations - every logical decision requires a new test.

LibreOffice Calc and Base are promising but are difficult to use and lack the flexible "checkbox" field - even less flexible than Excel.

I've also tried several other alternatives. No single alternative has all the capabilities I need yet. In the meantime, I do have Bento operational in a macOS "Sierra" virtual machine, which I view as an effective band-aid, but still a band-aid. But it is the only current option for my most complex personal databases.

But I value this discussion and Ric's forum. Long may it live!
 


(By the way, does anyone remember the first "database" for Macintosh: Microsoft File?)
I was heavily into Record Holder. Loved that program. What it did, it did well. Migrated customers to FileMaker when Record Holder was end of life. Did Microsoft File precede Record Holder? I don't recall MS File at all. I had clients on a Mac SE platform.
 


I toyed with Helix briefly in the 90s (possibly because of the demise of beloved HyperCard) and enjoyed it immensely. But then I got off onto FileMaker Pro. Perhaps in my retirement I can revisit Helix, just for fun.

Quick question. Can the current version of Helix generate a standalone solution (like FM Developer does), whose running does not require owning the program?
 


There is a rather primitive database module in NeoOffice (and OpenOffice and LibreOffice). It is a Java-based HSQLDB (relational hyper SQL database). I used it some time ago for a very simple time management and billing DB for several clients. It's not the Ferrari of DBs, not even the Honda Civic, but perhaps the go-cart that can handle your basic stuff. It even has some wizards for creating basic business and personal DBs. It can't be beat for the price and is part of the whole NeoOffice suite.
 


Bento for Macintosh is, for me very lamented. I have not yet found anything offering its combination of simplicity, flexibility, and power. Specifically:
1 - Simultaneous, integrated "form" and "table" views.
2 - Flexible "checkbox" fields with logical values that can be used in calculations.
3 - Powerful "calc" fields.
4 - Form layout flexibility, especially when "form" has many fields.
I have many personal databases implemented using Bento, but I recognize the handwriting on the wall. I am trying to migrate all of them to alternatives.

FileMaker is just too expensive to justify for personal databases...
...No single alternative has all the capabilities I need yet. In the meantime, I do have Bento operational in a macOS "Sierra" virtual machine, which I view as an effective band-aid, but still a band-aid. But it is the only current option for my most complex personal databases.
JEAvery decries the lack of an "alternative" while stepping over FileMaker as "too expensive." This is a subjective stance based on an arbitrary assignment of value: While I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "integrated form and table views," I suspect most if not all of the features you crave are built in to FileMaker, and have been for years. While the price of a full FileMaker app is, lamentably, rising, so has the capability set. As has been written elsewhere, in recent years the willingness of people to pay for software has plummeted: everybody wants free or 99¢ solutions. The problem with that, of course, is that developers still want to earn a living.

I do understand about personal pricing thresholds. Professional photo editors and document producers have been paying huge prices for Adobe products for years, even while a flock of lesser programs for a tenth of the price mostly languish, except among folks like you and me who don't want to pay. For example, I produce maybe one or two posters a year, so I'm not going to license Illustrator for that. But I'm not complaining that a program with that feature set "doesn't exist." It does - I just don't want to pay for it.
 



I was heavily into Record Holder. Loved that program. What it did, it did well. Migrated customers to FileMaker when Record Holder was end of life. Did Microsoft File precede Record Holder? I don't recall MS File at all. I had clients on a Mac SE platform.
Not sure about Record Holder, but Microsoft File 1.0 was released in 1984. I ran it on an original 128K Macintosh.

I found my Microsoft File database last night. At some point I had copied it from the 400K floppy disk to a CD. I remember that was a real struggle; it was past the point when Mac OS could read 400K floppies.
 


I found my Microsoft File database last night. At some point I had copied it from the 400K floppy disk to a CD. I remember that was a real struggle; it was past the point when Mac OS could read 400K floppies.
What can you do with it, Michael? Is there anything that can read it at this point? I have no recollection about File at all.

I seem to recall—it's hazy, as would be expected with my aging mind—that Record Holder's file format was some odd, tagged text thing, and that was one of their selling points. But File seemed to have passed me by.
 


What can you do with it, Michael? Is there anything that can read it at this point? I have no recollection about File at all.

I seem to recall—it's hazy, as would be expected with my aging mind—that Record Holder's file format was some odd, tagged text thing, and that was one of their selling points. But File seemed to have passed me by.
Back when I still had the 128K Mac, I exported the Microsoft File database as a text file. I was able to import that into an Excel spreadsheet last night; it's simply records with tab delimited fields.

Microsoft File just maintained a table of records, with an entry form. And it could produce reports. There wasn't much to it. But in 1984 there wasn't a lot of other Macintosh software, so it was better than nothing.

I seem to remember it was dog slow. It probably couldn't hold the entire database in memory, so it had to swap out the data to floppy disk.

(People who never used a 128K Mac with a single floppy drive have absolutely no clue how aggravating it was. You had to plan your steps very carefully, else launching a program would result in having to keep switching the floppy disk, 30 to 50 times.)
 


I've been using Filemaker Pro 10 for some years, having migrating from AppleWorks. I have several important databases with quite complex automation using the internal scripting, AppleScript and QuicKeys: I don't use online publishing. I'm still on Mavericks. So if I upgrade my system, or when I buy a new computer, I will be forced to buy the Advanced version which has a lot of facilities I don't want and don't understand. It's somewhat over £500. There is no other database program which will do what I want, and I certainly don't want to have to migrate and recreate all the programming all over again.
I have been using FMP9 in El Capitan successfully. The only difficulty I have encountered is exporting reports to Excel. My work around is to run exports in Snow Leopard Server that I run in Parallels. I haven't bothered to upgrade as I am only a casual user now, and V9 works fine for my use.
 


There is a rather primitive database module in NeoOffice (and OpenOffice and LibreOffice). It is a Java-based HSQLDB (relational hyper SQL database). I used it some time ago for a very simple time management and billing DB for several clients. It's not the Ferrari of DBs, not even the Honda Civic, but perhaps the go-cart that can handle your basic stuff. It even has some wizards for creating basic business and personal DBs. It can't be beat for the price and is part of the whole NeoOffice suite.
Jumping in here with a related database question:

I've been searching for a couple of years now for a way to have an address book, similar to Contacts, that I could use in Linux. I searched for a template for LibreOffice or OpenOffice and did not find anything. Thunderbird is just not robust enough and most address book apps don't have a useful notes section, if they have one at all. (I'm not at all interested in what Microsoft or Google offer.)

I primarily use Contacts in El Cap (which I will say is much more error-prone/klugy than Address Book in 10.6.8) as a "life" database. About 95% of my use with it is in the Notes section. The search function is instantaneous and it allows me to keep notes about software, companies, hardware, people, appliances, misc. products, heath issues, etc. I use it every day, all through out the day.

The Notes functionality and easy integration with the calendar and mail is the one major thing that keeps me from moving to Linux for day-to-day work. I would still need to boot up to a Mac for Final Cut Pro X and Logic X, but aside from that, I could survive fine in Mint or similar on a Dell laptop for virtually everything else.

Any thoughts?

Thanks, Dave
 


Tap Forms, $50, is a relational database with no scripting language and no support for AppleScript or Automator. On the plus side, it is a native Cocoa app.

https://www.tapforms.com

Ninox, $35 for up to 5 Macs, mentioned above by John M, does have a scripting language. I infer from their website that their main business is a $100/user/year cloud service with web interface.

https://ninoxdb.de/en/

(I have no experience with either Tap Forms or Ninox, just mentioning them as possibilities.)
Scripting is in the works for Tap Forms. The developer has done some incredible work on this product and it has iOS versions with cloud-based syncing. He is also responsive to suggestions and addresses issues/bugs quickly. I bought it to replace a Bento project and it does way more than Bento ever did. Filemaker blew it when they gave up on Bento.
 


I've been quite liking the web-based Airtable, which combines strong capabilities with a fast, highly usable interface. Databases can have relational features.

I'm using a database for tracking events, and Airtable presents the data in tabular form, in a calendar view, and as an .ics file suitable for linking from desktop applications. You can export data, and there are free plans.
 


I've never used Hypercard, but I know many people loved it. I guess it just passed me by while I was doing other things. Supercard (at least from its web site) has a very old, 1990's aqua look to it. If the final apps look like that, they would be, um, aesthetically challenged.

Their store is currently down and there's no pricing available. The demo video link is broken and the trial version is not the latest (but they are saying it will be available soon). None of that fills me with confidence but the optimist in me hopes it's just getting ready for a bold new version.

I guess my biggest concern about starting in any new development environment is its longevity. I'm afraid I've become a bit cynical over the years and I have this feeling that any application I adopt gets discontinued shortly thereafter. Apple themselves are the worst offenders...
Totally understand! It's been some time (year?) since I last accessed the SuperCard website, but it (and its support) were working then.

After reading your post, I again tried accessing various areas on the SuperCard site and had no problems -- including leaving a message with "Support.” I was able to access the "Purchase" area, up to -- but short of -- inputting payment information. Is it possible that you're experiencing a browser incompatibility? I'm using the most recent version of Firefox.
 


Bento for Macintosh is, for me very lamented. I have not yet found anything offering its combination of simplicity, flexibility, and power. Specifically:
1 - Simultaneous, integrated "form" and "table" views.
2 - Flexible "checkbox" fields with logical values that can be used in calculations.
3 - Powerful "calc" fields.
4 - Form layout flexibility, especially when "form" has many fields.
I have many personal databases implemented using Bento, but I recognize the handwriting on the wall. I am trying to migrate all of them to alternatives.

I just tried Symphytum, and I like it for simplicity and flexibility more than any other product I've seen. It is 64-bit, free and will work for many flat file applications. But I wasn't able to use it as my preferred alternative, because it does not have a "calc" field. Also you can't view the "form" and "table" views at the same time.

Apple's Numbers spreadsheet is useful, and the price is right. But the lack of a flexible "Forms" capability restricts it to only smaller and simpler datasets.

I used SuperCard to create database-like applications, and it was great! But it seems to be stuck in the 32-bit world, and I can't justify it for personal databases that I wish to have for years into the future.

FileMaker is just too expensive to justify for personal databases.

Microsoft's Excel has a lot of the capabilities that I need, but it has four downsides as far as I'm concerned.
1 - It is Microsoft.
2 - The "Form" capability provides very limited formatting capability.
3 - The "Checkbox" field requires a separate field and logical test before it can be used for decision logic.
4 - It doesn't seem to have a "logical" field or data type and the corresponding logical operations - every logical decision requires a new test.

LibreOffice Calc and Base are promising but are difficult to use and lack the flexible "checkbox" field - even less flexible than Excel.

I've also tried several other alternatives. No single alternative has all the capabilities I need yet. In the meantime, I do have Bento operational in a macOS "Sierra" virtual machine, which I view as an effective band-aid, but still a band-aid. But it is the only current option for my most complex personal databases.

But I value this discussion and Ric's forum. Long may it live!
Give Tap Forms a try as it is Bento plus a lot more and it imports Bento databases, giving you a quick jump start. You also can view the table as a spreadsheet and the form at the same time.
 


I didn't know it was still around! I made a small attempt to migrate some important old HyperCard stacks to LiveCode, but it didn't go very well.
As much as I like LiveCode (having used it for various small projects over the last 10+ years), it has a few problems its developers ignore.

1. Lack of a native report generator. You are expected to create your own "report card" (screen) which you then populate programmatically...and you must write that script. There is one 3rd party report generator but it's moribund.

2. The Dictionary (of commands, functions, keywords, etc.) is a hodge-podge of sometimes poorly-dited, confusing verbiage (sentence fragments, contradictions, lacking examples in many cases). It's apparently built as a LiveCode stack; I can argue that a PDF would have been better.

3. In spite of being at version 9, LiveCode is still annoyingly unstable. I've reverted to v7.1.4, as v9 simply crashes if you look at the screen wrong. I feel the developers are more interested in provided whiz-bang new features and let the app leave "beta" too quickly. Even then, by the time that major version has reached the end of its cycle, instability remains.

However, if you can put up with its pecadillos, LiveCode has many advantages. Although it's not a database, it may be used as such even without connecting it to a real DB back-end (SQL, Valentina, etc.). As it may be thought of as HyperCard on steroids (certainly its speed on modern Intel hardware is extraordinary), one may craft a "stack of background cards" (in HC's vernacular) and programmatically populate them.

One lovely feature about LiveCode is that it is available as a free version with all the bells and whistles except the ability to encrypt stacks and the scripts they contain. If you have such a need, you're probably making money from LiveCode so you should buy the commercial license. Fair enough.
 


Anyone using 4D these days? I seem to remember it started life as Silver Surfer in the 1980s. I was a (not very good) 4D developer for a few years. I enjoyed its power but was frustrated by certain aspects. Does the fact that 4D has had only one previous mention in this forum mean that it is now not highly-regarded by the DB fraternity?
 



As much as I like LiveCode (having used it for various small projects over the last 10+ years), it has a few problems its developers ignore.
This is my exact feeling with Xojo (formerly RealBasic/RealStudio). For the past 10 or so years we've developed dozens of projects in Xojo but ended up dumping it last year because of their inability - or lack of desire - to fix bugs, most notably in the reporting engine. Whilst I appreciate that reporting isn't important to everyone, if you're enabling people to use databases, it's almost inevitable they'll need to print reports at some stage.

What was more frustrating was their refusal to accept that some bugs existed, even when given clear demonstrations of the problem. Even their CEO, who I occasionally communicated with, conceded their reporting was inadequate, but even this was not enough to get it fixed.

I had a true love/hate relationship with the product - I was always impressed with what was achievable but equally unimpressed with some of the deficiencies.
 


Give Tap Forms a try as it is Bento plus a lot more and it imports Bento databases, giving you a quick jump start. You also can view the table as a spreadsheet and the form at the same time.
I tried Tap Forms and found it really weird. I looked up tutorial videos, but there wasn't a 'getting started' video, which it very much needs. I'm an experienced developer in Xojo and FileMaker, but the Tap Forms paradigm left me flummoxed.
 



Ah! I loved Record Holder! So easy to use! Used it through all versions right until the end! Between WriteNow, Record Holder, and Canvas, I thought I had the sweetest Mac app setup!
Record Holder was the only data base I ever used, as part of a jury-rigged bookkeeping system in the early days. I liked it, but I recall it getting a killer thumbs-down review from somebody because it wasn't a standard data base, and it faded away soon afterwards.
 


Anyone using 4D these days? I seem to remember it started life as Silver Surfer in the 1980s. I was a (not very good) 4D developer for a few years. I enjoyed its power but was frustrated by certain aspects. Does the fact that 4D has had only one previous mention in this forum mean that it is now not highly-regarded by the DB fraternity?
I still enjoy using 4D for database development, been using it since version 2. But I do less DB development work.

I have not brought up 4D, since it is a development system and not an end-user database. It used to have features that allowed a non-technic to use it without programming. Those features have been dropped, and its price has increased, plus any serious user needs to pay the annual maintenance fee.

I never got used to using FileMaker as a developer system but always considered it great for setting up a database with no or minimal programming.

There is a need for a simple relational database system that has a simple form developer and reporting system. I've seen some come and go; perhaps the best was Reflex which ended up being bought by Borland and eventually killed for reasons unrelated to its quality.
 


Bento for Macintosh is, for me very lamented. I have not yet found anything offering its combination of simplicity, flexibility, and power. Specifically:
1 - Simultaneous, integrated "form" and "table" views.
2 - Flexible "checkbox" fields with logical values that can be used in calculations.
3 - Powerful "calc" fields.
4 - Form layout flexibility, especially when "form" has many fields.
I have many personal databases implemented using Bento, but I recognize the handwriting on the wall. I am trying to migrate all of them to alternatives.
(snip)
I've also tried several other alternatives. No single alternative has all the capabilities I need yet. In the meantime, I do have Bento operational in a macOS "Sierra" virtual machine, which I view as an effective band-aid, but still a band-aid. But it is the only current option for my most complex personal databases.
(snip)
Eureka! I found it!

Thanks to Jim Hayes and Bob Stern, I tried Tap Forms again. What an amazing difference between now (Version 5 for Mac) and when I first evaluated it. Tap Forms Version 5 seems to have all of the features I need. I've already converted one moderately complex Bento database over within a couple of hours. My most complex database will undoubtedly take longer because it will require extensive testing. But it looks really promising.

And thanks to Tap Zapp software for doing such a good job filling a Mac need.
 


As much as I like LiveCode (having used it for various small projects over the last 10+ years), it has a few problems its developers ignore.

1. Lack of a native report generator. You are expected to create your own "report card" (screen) which you then populate programmatically...and you must write that script. There is one 3rd party report generator but it's moribund.
You mean other than Valentina Reports for LiveCode, which is alive and well?

Valentina Reports for LiveCode is an implementation of our reporting tool and available on macOS, Windows and Linux. You create reports in Valentina Studio Pro which are stored in a project file, and then that project file can be used with Valentina Reports for LiveCode.

A number of the RAD tools out there have third party vendors that create add-ons within the RAD tool itself. There are positives to doing that, but the negative is that you cannot sell it to users of other tools. That often leads to third party eco-systems perishing for lack of continuous revenue. Our reports do not work like that. If you have created reports to use with Valentina Reports for LiveCode, you can use the same reports with Valentina Reports for .net, Valentina Reports for Ruby, Valentina Reports for Xojo and the like.

You can also 'play back' reports (if set up correctly) in the free Valentina Studio Reports Viewer.
 


This is my exact feeling with Xojo (formerly RealBasic/RealStudio). For the past 10 or so years we've developed dozens of projects in Xojo but ended up dumping it last year because of their inability - or lack of desire - to fix bugs, most notably in the reporting engine.
A major problem with small developers of general development tools is that the tools literally have to be able to do everything.

There are certain vertical markets that are targeted by third party developers, and reporting is one of them. Crystal Reports caused an explosion in the numbers of users of Visual BASIC back in the day.

Database tools are one of those vertical markets. So are reports. Developing either is as complex as anything else.

Many of the general development tool vendors see these vertical markets, and think they could capture additional revenues by providing some sort of solution. What they don't actually grasp is that the third party developers assign full time developers to those solutions, and don't simply stretch their existing resources that are already working full time on something else. In addition, if you then try to roll those half baked solutions into your main product, it doesn't really increase your sales.
 


I really liked Helix (Double Helix, Helix Express) and would love to play with it again...but their pricing seems disconnected from the real world.
 



Why Bento is unlamented for me:

Bento was my first experience with Apple's iOS-centric view of the Mac. It "hid" the Bento file (package, as I recall) in the Library because the iOS worldview is that files don't matter.

Bento wouldn't let me separate my personal data from my work data, though I seem to remember that I could accomplish that by creating different log-ins on my Macs, one for personal, one for business, and Bento would be different in different log-ins.

I found no useful way (I bought a 5 pack of licenses the day Bento released) to share Bento files (remember, we're not supposed to think about files) with my co-workers. Stopped using it long before Apple deprecated the application.

A quick review of the Tap Forms website does suggest that application might be Bento, as it should have been - though without installing, I don't know if it would permit separate files for personal, work, and to share with coworkers.
 


You mean other than Valentina Reports for LiveCode, which is alive and well?

Valentina Reports for LiveCode is an implementation of our reporting tool and available on macOS, Windows and Linux. You create reports in Valentina Studio Pro which are stored in a project file, and then that project file can be used with Valentina Reports for LiveCode.

A number of the RAD tools out there have third party vendors that create add-ons within the RAD tool itself. There are positives to doing that, but the negative is that you cannot sell it to users of other tools. That often leads to third party eco-systems perishing for lack of continuous revenue. Our reports do not work like that. If you have created reports to use with Valentina Reports for LiveCode, you can use the same reports with Valentina Reports for .net, Valentina Reports for Ruby, Valentina Reports for Xojo and the like.

You can also 'play back' reports (if set up correctly) in the free Valentina Studio Reports Viewer.
I stand corrected regarding Valentina; my apologies as I should have remembered it. I was originally referring to Quartam, whose website is dated from 2013, and apparently is designed for LiveCode 6. (LiveCode 9 is current).

I should also note that there was an unsupported "Report Builder" in LiveCode 7, but it has been abandoned. And that was my point: HyperCard had a fantastic report editor; it's a shame it's not part of LC by default.
 


Jumping in here with a related database question: I've been searching for a couple of years now for a way to have an address book, similar to Contacts, that I could use in Linux. I searched for a template for LibreOffice or OpenOffice and did not find anything. Thunderbird is just not robust enough and most address book apps don't have a useful notes section, if they have one at all. (I'm not at all interested in what Microsoft or Google offer.)

I primarily use Contacts in El Cap (which I will say is much more error-prone/klugy than Address Book in 10.6.8) as a "life" database. About 95% of my use with it is in the Notes section. The search function is instantaneous and it allows me to keep notes about software, companies, hardware, people, appliances, misc. products, heath issues, etc. I use it every day, all through out the day.

The Notes functionality and easy integration with the calendar and mail is the one major thing that keeps me from moving to Linux for day-to-day work. I would still need to boot up to a Mac for Final Cut Pro X and Logic X, but aside from that, I could survive fine in Mint or similar on a Dell laptop for virtually everything else. Any thoughts?
Sounds like you're a candidate for KDE Kontakt.
Kontact
The Kontact suite is the powerful PIM solution of KDE that handles your email, agenda, contacts and other 'personal' data together in one place. Kontact delivers innovations to help you manage your communications more easily, organize your work faster and work together more closely, resulting in more productivity and efficiency in digital collaboration.
These programs together form Kontact:
  • Akregator - Read your favorite feeds
  • KAddressBook - Manage your contacts
  • KMail - Mail client
  • KNotes - Sticky notes for your Desktop
  • KOrganizer - Calendar and scheduling, Journal
  • Summary - Summary screen in Kontact
  • KJots - Your ideas organized in a Notebook
 



Sounds like you're a candidate for KDE Kontakt.
For "klarity", I add here that to use KDE's Kontact "Suite", you would probably want to be running a KDE distribution. Kubuntu may be the most widely used, but many "distributions" release KDE versions. The KDE community directly supports KDE Neon, a stripped-down version based on Ubuntu, intended to "show off" KDE's Plasma desktop.

Mint is dropping its KDE version in the Mint 19 series, due next month.

The KDE community has worked hard to develop applications and integrate them with its Plasma desktop. The applications will run on the more common distributions derived from Gnome (which include Mate and and Cinnamon and Ubuntu's deprecated Unity), but there are a lot of KDE-specific dependencies required, and no Plasma desktop for that "integrated" Mac-esque experience.

I've tried several versions of Plasma 5 through the latest stable 5.12 and always returned to Mint and Cinnamon.

After reading that the Plasma team has simplified its interface, so changing something in one panel doesn't disrupt a setting made in another, I have downloaded the KDE Neon "daily" beta to try the new 5.13 pre-release version, and it really does seem improved.
 


I should also note that there was an unsupported "Report Builder" in LiveCode 7, but it has been abandoned. And that was my point: HyperCard had a fantastic report editor; it's a shame it's not part of LC by default.
The problem with 'native' (and that was an issue with Quartam) is also its strength - it can leverage the tools it was built with. At the same time, you are stuck deploying only with the tools it was built with.

The cards products seemingly have a solution that each card itself becomes a form of record, with various fields inherited from the stack. I have seen several who have deployed solutions that way. But then you end up with performance issues and old hard maximums for numbers of cards you can have in a stack.

Probably like many here, I also used HyperCard quite a bit. I loved it. Its true living successor is LiveCode. But back in the day, I used HyperCard quite a bit for making useful utilities that worked with data (my earliest projects of that sort were managing translation strings and files for console games back in the early '90s, ie SNES, TurboGraphix, Sega, Jaguar), and also a bit of AppleScript, too, when that came along.

But here's the thing now - while I used to handle relatively small amounts of data, those small amounts would grow massively if I wanted to access it on an ongoing basis after a few years.

It really isn't doing your customers any good if you select a system which won't handle hundreds of thousands of records efficiently (or more) from the get go. A critical issue arrives if a vendor selects a system because it is easier or more fun to develop with, but ultimately leaves your customer wanting, if they use your app for many years and it becomes sluggish and hard to use and support.
 


The thing I like about Panorama (warning: the developer, Jim Rea, is a friend of mine) is that you can use as much or as little of its massive power as you like.

Here's my original TidBITS review: https://tidbits.com/2001/11/19/seeing-the-light-with-panorama/

And here's Joe Kissell's recent review: https://tidbits.com/2017/11/03/panorama-x-brings-the-legendary-mac-database-back-to-the-future/

What is a database, really? A "flat-file" database is just a grid of rows (records) and columns (fields). A "relational" database is just a collection of those grids, linked by the ability for one record to find records in another grid via a matching key. Panorama lets you work with grids that way, through the "data sheet" representation of your data, where you can do many powerful things, including sorting, searching, filtering, grouping, etc. Thus, this alone might be all you need.

But if you want to put a visual form in front of that as a custom designed interface, you can do that too. You can build an interface just like Xcode lets any Mac developer build an app interface. Thus you can easily see your data, e.g. one record at a time, with the fields laid out in some nice way.

Finally, if you want to go all the way, there's a programming language that lets you add power under the hood, so that you can e.g. click a button and run code on demand that does any kind of powerful stuff with your data and/or its representation in the interface. In effect, you are now writing and running a full-fledged Mac app, with the special feature that the underlying model data is a database that will scale way up as needed.

It only takes a moment to watch the wonderful demo movie at https://vimeo.com/225452340 and see what I'm talking about.
 


EFB

Give Tap Forms a try as it is Bento plus a lot more and it imports Bento databases, giving you a quick jump start. You also can view the table as a spreadsheet and the form at the same time.
I bought Tap Forms only to find that it requires 10.12. Asking for a refund!
 


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