Author Topic: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)  (Read 9273 times)

Offline idelphic

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Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« on: October 08, 2009, 12:42:26 PM »
Sitting here looking over the forums, and also looking at the 'Vial of Life' form I have, I wonder about compiling all of the data into something similar to an access Database.

MS Access would be a great place to start,.. but not everyone has Access, or even the knowledge to put the db together (raises own hand).  I wonder about the use of an Open Source solution...  The 'reports' can be the documents put in the binders and EDK kits.

Thoughts?

Offline donaldj

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 01:00:45 PM »
I would consider making a Google Document spreadsheet, and you can make all the tabs you want. People you invite would be free to view, or modify, as you see fit.

I think it's a great idea.

D

Offline donaldj

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 01:02:24 PM »
I am making one with a friend, which is how I figured it might help.

We have all our lists on there, then added a "comments" cell to discuss each item if needed, or we just email.

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Offline shadowalker_returns

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 07:30:33 PM »
OpenOffice includes a database app.

www.openoffice.org

I've replaced MS Office with this product as part of my program to wean myself off of MS products.

There are versions of OpenOffice available for Windows, Linux, Solaris and some versions of Unix. Its true freeware not shareware. You can do as I do and donate $20.00 per copy of the Suite that you use like I do... or not. That's ok to.

I've learned my lesson. I will no longer depend on an OS that requires Internet access or phones lines to complete its reinstall on a repaired computer. Folks do realize that post TSHTF, if you need to piece together a working computer from scavenged parts, it may not be possible to get a validation code to activate the MS Windows OS or any other software that requires you to log on somewhere for permission to use the software.

Regards,
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Offline bubtech

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2009, 09:21:22 PM »
Also Access will probably not be included in the next version of office, it is terribly insecure and MS doesn't even like it.
B

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 09:30:46 AM »
I already use OO..  I havn't had any luck with using it's db app...

Of course I haven't had much luck with MS Access either,.. I don't like it,.. and as much as I try to figure it out,.. but oh well..

Interesting Bub,..  wonder how people are going to 'get by' without it.  While I can't get my head wrapped around it,.. I feel that it does have it's place.

Offline shadowalker_returns

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2009, 08:40:19 PM »
I already use OO..  I havn't had any luck with using it's db app...

Of course I haven't had much luck with MS Access either,.. I don't like it,.. and as much as I try to figure it out,.. but oh well..

Interesting Bub,..  wonder how people are going to 'get by' without it.  While I can't get my head wrapped around it,.. I feel that it does have it's place.

After re-reading your opening post and this one...Maybe relational databases are not your cup of tea. If your not going to use spreadsheets (which can be quite sofisticated in their own right). Might I suggest a type of flat file DB for your purpose Like these:

http://www.azzcardfile.com/ I have used this software and still use it for organizing certain data that I need on my PDA.

http://www.treepad.com/ Another program I use extensively.

There is no real equivalent of Paradox or Foxbase/FoxPro which were two of my all time favorites for databases of less than 50,000 records. I started using MS Access just because I had to be 'industry compliant'. Another possibility is the 'My Database' Software from the My Software Company. Its simple and quick to use. The also have a bit more powerful 'Pro' version.

Relational Databases do require you to fully think through your database design before you attempt to implement it. FlatFile databases and spreadsheets are a little more forgiving. Try the two programs I recommended they are quite an asset to me and you may find them helpful.

Regards,
Shadowalker

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2009, 11:13:43 AM »
A relational db could be a good idea.  Take how you can create a table for a certain item, such as Emergency Contacts,..  a single person could have several, and two people (spouses) could have several of the same contacts.  Or medical history - details about what you have taken, surgeries, etc...

Then again,.. is all that detail really needed or is it over kill.  I could see both sides, to much information - even in digital form could weigh you down, but if the system collapses, it would be nice to have my own copy / history of what has been done or medications taken.


Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2009, 01:29:31 PM »
Of course, right now I am leaning towards a simple spread sheet.... then maybe a mail merge to print.

Offline breamer999

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2009, 04:25:09 AM »
I just purchased Treepad Business Edition after reading this thread.  Excellent program.  I've been looking for something of this nature (outlined structure) for some time now and it is great for putting on a USB key and taking with you.  And from the looks of it, they will be adding new features and providing free updates..

Thanks to the person who posted it.

Offline NightOwl

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2009, 09:23:24 AM »
OpenOffice is also available for Mac.  I use it on mine.  Similar reasons here, I didn't want to mess around with upgrade fees and validation codes and other proprietary nonsense.  Also, MS Office for Mac lost the Access part many years ago.  If it ever had it.  At least OO has a working database feature.

For the original post, I'd suggest starting with a spreadsheet.  Use that to work out what data is needed and how it should be presented.  When it gets too cumbersome, make up an actual database and import your spreadsheet data.  (Advanced topic but not as bad as it sounds.)  85%+ chance that a spreadsheet will turn out to be good enough.

Spreadsheets also have the advantage of being portable (to some extent) from one platform or program to another.  I've had good results using spreadsheets from OO - saved as XLS - into Google, MS Excel, and the spreadsheet program that comes with a Palm TX.

Thanks for putting the idea into my head.  I need to organize our pantry so it can be expanded as Jack suggests.  Sounds like a job for a spreadsheet!

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2009, 10:54:56 AM »
MS Excel or OO Calc are great places to start.  I don't know why though I think it needs to be a relationship database.  I suppose I think that because of family relationships.  I have created many simple spread sheets, but I am not sure I know it would be possible to link husband and wife or father son together in a spreadsheet form.


Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2009, 11:56:49 AM »
The other item I would consider important is the ability to add / link / store a photo in the database / spread sheet.

Offline NightOwl

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2009, 12:43:58 PM »
Well...  If you're technically inclined enough, you could do all of this as a fairly simple web app using a combination of sqlite and PHP, and run the web server on your own workstation.  (Locally hosting a PHP/sqlite web app is trivial on Linux or Mac.  Windows might be different.)

Just tossing an idea out there.  It's almost tempting.  ;D

For contact information with multiple street addresses and phone numbers, a photo, and so forth, the built-in address book in Mac OS does that without even trying.  Even better when linking into Apple's photo and video editor programs.  (It actually goes through your all photos and tags others with the same person's face.)  But that doesn't help if you use Windows, and it's still proprietary with the occasional (fairly modest) upgrade fee.

I'm sure there's a contact manager kit for other platforms that can do similar.  Probably bundled with the computer.  People who work in sales would have needed it already.

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2009, 01:16:46 AM »
I actually work for Microsoft on the SQL Server product line (the 'big' database solution). If you need help putting this together, I would be more than willing to lend a hand.

Cheers!

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2009, 11:21:41 AM »
Well...  If you're technically inclined enough, you could do all of this as a fairly simple web app using a combination of sqlite and PHP, and run the web server on your own workstation.  (Locally hosting a PHP/sqlite web app is trivial on Linux or Mac.  Windows might be different.)

Just tossing an idea out there.  It's almost tempting.  ;D

For contact information with multiple street addresses and phone numbers, a photo, and so forth, the built-in address book in Mac OS does that without even trying.  Even better when linking into Apple's photo and video editor programs.  (It actually goes through your all photos and tags others with the same person's face.)  But that doesn't help if you use Windows, and it's still proprietary with the occasional (fairly modest) upgrade fee.

I'm sure there's a contact manager kit for other platforms that can do similar.  Probably bundled with the computer.  People who work in sales would have needed it already.

I use a CMS application for several web sites.  Joomla! is an Open Source, CMS - Content Managed Software - with several hundred sub applications.  It is database driven and will also run on a thumb drive.  It will run on Linux and Windows, and should be able to be setup so that you can run from the same database from either OS. 

This was my thought on compiling all of the information in.
Fechin - I appreciate it, and it's personal opinion, but I would prefer open source, and free standing.  If I am in a disconnected area (no wifi, no net interface, then a hosted db isn't going to do me any good.  By having it portable makes it easier to work with.  Now, if it can be done, then that is a different story.  If it isn't hard to deal with the db of Joomla! then cool..   


I actually work for Microsoft on the SQL Server product line (the 'big' database solution). If you need help putting this together, I would be more than willing to lend a hand.

Cheers!

Offline NightOwl

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2009, 12:18:50 PM »
Quote from: idelphic
I use a CMS application for several web sites.

I've tried CMS kits a few times too.  From what I've seen, they tend to be very complicated for any particular task.  Often not worth the hassle if you're not doing something that resembles a news site.  Similar for most shopping cart systems.  It's almost like they don't know what "simple" means.

Started an OpenOffice database as a food storage record-keeper.  Quickly figured out that it was a lot of work for not much gain.  I'm thinking a spreadsheet is the way to go in this case.

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2009, 12:51:03 PM »
I was a database administrator for a local university's physics department for a while.

Hit me up in a PM if you want to chit chat and design a decent database over the holidays. I could likely put together a platform-independent version taht would run on a PDA or PC, maybe even a WiMo cell phone.

I'm big on the PDA thing, since it's so portable and useful for electronic intervention - GPS, WiFi communications, SD card based data drops, and even a rather secure co-location beacon WTSHTF for your bugout party/family/etc.

Anyhow, if I design it, I'll want to make a version that will at least work on all my hardware (PC, PDA, Cell phone), and then publish it as open source - that means anyone that modifies the database would have to send/post back an update to the "software" for everyone else to use if they intend to redistribute it. Keeps things honest, and keeps things useful - if you find a solution to a bug, then everyone benefits from the fix, and best of all, it keeps it free!

OnionBlade, Tearfully Salivating Slayer of Source Code Semantics


Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2009, 08:45:40 PM »
If you want to work on the db, have at it..  Open source is preferred as anyone would have access to it, and something that is stand alone as well...


Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2009, 11:48:43 AM »
If you need it to be a database, how about MySQL?  Open Source, but supported by Sun.  Works well and can be used on just about any platform.

I'm also a big fan of Open Office.  OO was my first real introduction to a world outside of MS.  It was my first steps to becoming completely Windows free.

Offline NightOwl

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2009, 08:02:09 AM »
Only problem with MySQL is that it works like a dedicated database server.  Yes, you can run it on your own personal computer, but it still involves some amount of database administration and a server process taking up memory in the background.  Same goes for MS SQL Server.

That's why for a task like this I'd rather use something like sqlite as the database back-end.  No server to manage.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2009, 08:24:39 AM »
I'm surprised I missed this thread before.

I have a start to an Access DB for preps, inventory types of stuff only right now. It is relational, for example I link my master FAK to a separate component table that lists all of the individual components in the FAK (bandages, scissors, etc.), and  includes codes for whether an item is consumable, and if so, what the expiration date is. I added that little item when I went through my FAK last year and noticed ALL of the consumables were a minimum of 3 years out of date! Now I can run a query or report and see immediately what needs to be replaced now or in the near future.

I also use this feature (master table item and components) for my BoBs (3-day, car, pickup, etc.) so I know what's where.

The setup is definitely a free-time endeavor, so it is rough around the edges. Probably in the middle too!  ;D

I have not mastered Access forms so this is just tables, queries and reports.

PM me if you want the schema.

Offline NightOwl

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2009, 08:40:39 AM »
+1 to pathfinder for remembering the expiration dates.  That might be useful for food storage too, though in practice a good rotation system should automatically bring the older stuff to the front.

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2009, 08:49:27 AM »
Only problem with MySQL is that it works like a dedicated database server.  Yes, you can run it on your own personal computer, but it still involves some amount of database administration and a server process taking up memory in the background.  Same goes for MS SQL Server.

That's why for a task like this I'd rather use something like sqlite as the database back-end.  No server to manage.

Using a CMS application similar to Joomla! and using a stand alone server, emulates a server, but without the hardware and admin headaches. 

But al will admit that it may not be the right way to go.

I'm surprised I missed this thread before.

I have a start to an Access DB for preps, inventory types of stuff only right now. It is relational, for example I link my master FAK to a separate component table that lists all of the individual components in the FAK (bandages, scissors, etc.), and  includes codes for whether an item is consumable, and if so, what the expiration date is. I added that little item when I went through my FAK last year and noticed ALL of the consumables were a minimum of 3 years out of date! Now I can run a query or report and see immediately what needs to be replaced now or in the near future.

I also use this feature (master table item and components) for my BoBs (3-day, car, pickup, etc.) so I know what's where.

The setup is definitely a free-time endeavor, so it is rough around the edges. Probably in the middle too!  ;D

I have not mastered Access forms so this is just tables, queries and reports.

PM me if you want the schema.

Cool,..  Look for a PM,..  I'd like to get a copy of the db (blank is fine) - I *MIGHT* be able to do something with a form or two..

Offline grog

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2009, 09:29:07 AM »
MS access is ok for somethings, but if you are using a server type environment, access needs windows to do so.

The database itself sounds like a really good deal. For those who are not able to get ms access, open office.org has a database app that I am told works well. Joomla uses php and while I have seen some good stuff made out the source code, be careful, PHP can be exploited. I would be interested in such a database. Currently I am using excel, and while workable, Those spreadsheets add up. :)

Thanks for sharing the information.

Offline idelphic

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2009, 11:40:33 AM »
MS access is ok for somethings, but if you are using a server type environment, access needs windows to do so.

The database itself sounds like a really good deal. For those who are not able to get ms access, open office.org has a database app that I am told works well. Joomla uses php and while I have seen some good stuff made out the source code, be careful, PHP can be exploited. I would be interested in such a database. Currently I am using excel, and while workable, Those spreadsheets add up. :)

Thanks for sharing the information.
Joomla! can be ran as a stand alone - If you are really concerned about exploitation, run in this mode requires only your thumb drive... You can turn off your wireless, or disconnect your wired connection, and not be connected to a network of any kind and it will work.  It's cross platform, so Linux or Windows won't matter,... Not sure about MAC...

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2009, 08:11:28 PM »
Sorry to bail on an interesting project like this, but I just became overextended.

I have to help a buddy out with some minor flood damage, have family coming in this weekend unexpectedly *prays to God for patience*

I also have yet to get my d**ned car back from the shop, just for some freaking spark plugs.

Exams are coming up in about three weeks too, so that pretty much fills my danged plate all of a sudden.

OMFG.

I will be checking out Joomla!, however.

I'll check back in when I'm not feelin like beating someone's forehead in with a rusty shovel.



Offline outoforder2day

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Re: Preparedness documentation: Open source Database (MS Acess)
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2009, 02:24:46 PM »
I would look at building a Ruby on Rails app. Take a look at how simple it is to build a usable app in a short time in one of these videos. I've used it before for rapid prototyping of a few ideas and it's worked well.
I'd use MySQL with the phpmyadmin frontend.
The first step is to define what data you want to capture. Then you break it out into a table or two. Then normalize it by breaking it out into other related tables.

If this is too complicated, you could always try a wiki.