Page 1 of 1

Better Database

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22 am
by grahamhobbs
Can anyone here point me in the right direction, I would like to develop an attractive Database, basically for storing information about Projects and People, discussions with them and things to do. I have developed something with Microsoft Access but the presentation is not great, it's a bit clumsy. Is there anything better I should use or am I missing a trick within Access?

Also I would like to see, say when I open a Contact within the dateabase, all recent emails to/from that person - is this feasible?

Re: Better Database

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:36 am
by wulf
What skills to you bring to it and what software do you have available?

I'm just turning to spend an hour or two banging my head against MS Access for a minor project at work. I don't like it because it is so graphically driven that it makes bugs very hard to track down. My preferred solution in most cases is to use a MySQL database with a web-based, PHP driven front end... but I do have a decade or so of experience as a professional web developer behind me.

There are all sorts of ways you can go but it depends on what you can or want to use. If you are working on Access, do you use Outlook for email? You might even find that Outlook can do the project management stuff you want without having to directly work on Access.

Wulf

Re: Better Database

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:41 am
by grahamhobbs
Wulf, thanks, no great skills, my programming skills are 30 years out of date (Fortran, Basic and CAD), but I can slowly get my head around things. The difficult bit sorting out what to study from all the various software/language options.
Don't use Outlook at the moment but if it does the job, we could do. Can you link email from Outlook to Access?

Re: Better Database

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:47 pm
by wulf
You can probably link Outlook emails and Access but that would almost certainly demand quite advanced development skills. The reason I mentioned Outlook is because I think it has some fairly powerful things you can do to link objects like emails, tasks and contacts. However, don't count that as a recommendation! ;-)

What do you use for email? I think the idea of linking emails with a list of contacts held in a different program is the point at which your requirements go from relatively simple to very complex. If you have a particular email program you favour, that might be a starting point to allow working backwards.

Wulf

Re: Better Database

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:00 pm
by grahamhobbs
Wulf, most helpful, I will start by looking at Outlook but otherwise it looks like I'm going to have to find a course.

Re: Better Database

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:37 am
by wulf
If you are not already using Outlook, there might be better options. An email client is essentially a database of emails and contacts. Some are quite limited but if you use something like Thunderbird, there are probably extensions that will give most or all of the functionality you want (and, if you WANT to spend time programming, you could develop your own to take things further).

Even with Googlemail (my preferred email program from the last few years) you could probably hack the kind of system you are talking about together using labels to associate contacts with people, tasks and emails you send yourself with updates.

Wulf

Re: Better Database

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:04 pm
by grahamhobbs
Wulf, thanks, I did check out free alternatives like Thunderbird, but Outlook with the business contact manager actually looks the part because of being able to work both with contacts and projects. Tried to download a trial version but it kept saying I needed Windows Vista, which I have, so now I have to go off on another tangent and big loop to sort that out.
But thanks, this looks like it could be the thing without any long database development that I was expecting, you've probably saved me a lot of time.