Suugestions for a simple web-based database program (like Microsoft Access)?
April 15, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

I am part of a committee whose members are spread across the country. We are looking for an open source or inexpensive database application that can be accessed on the web. We need for it to allow a few users to edit the data (membership information for our association) and for many users to be able to view the database without editing it. Basically we want Mircosoft Access but available on the web.

I read through past questions regarding databases and it seemed that MySQL is a popular suggestion. But is it something that can be learned quickly? No one on the committee has time to learn a new programming language. The database does not need to be very powerful, we just need to run a few simple reports. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by losdestinos to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
too much for google spreadsheets?
posted by andifsohow at 6:50 PM on April 15, 2007

Response by poster: Google spreadsheets will not cut it, but I was hoping that there would be something along those lines like "Google Database." We need to be able to have different users enter data and run different reports.
posted by losdestinos at 6:56 PM on April 15, 2007

I highly recommend DabbleDB: it's very easy-to-use and powerful. They have nonprofit pricing, but this may still be too expensive for you.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 6:59 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Other options:

Num Sum
Zoho Sheet
posted by scottreynen at 7:00 PM on April 15, 2007

If you could do it in Excel, I'm guessing Google Spreadsheets is perfect for this application. If you used a lot of the more advanced functionality of Access, though, this will be pretty limiting. Google does have built-in support for allowing people to collaborate on a spreadsheet with you and simply allowing people to view it, which is pretty nice.

If you need something more advanced, though, you will need to go with running a DBMS on a server and using an app like Access, Kexi, Oracle Forms, etc. to interface with it. Access can actually use JET to get at data from any SQL DB on the back-end, so you could throw MySQL on a server and do everything with that and it wouldn't look different to the end users, just the admin.
posted by atomly at 7:01 PM on April 15, 2007

oracle apex formerly html db is very straightforward to use and set up.
posted by alkupe at 8:06 PM on April 15, 2007

Definitely DabbleDB
posted by fredoliveira at 8:13 PM on April 15, 2007

FWIW, I helped set up a regional professional association using yahoo groups. It was really simple, bundled lots of extra functionality, and had a "tables" feature that let you set up a simple datatable structure that we used to track accreditation and insurance info.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:18 PM on April 15, 2007

jenkinsEar, You beat me to it. I was going to suggest the same thing. It seems like that would have everything one needs to maintain a simple membership db .
posted by Gerard Sorme at 9:06 PM on April 15, 2007

Old computer -> LAMP server, then run some sort of content management software on it.

Does Zope handle stuff like this at all? Or Drupal?

I'm willing to bet that there's some kind of open source project that covers this - have you tried searching Sourceforge and Freshmeat?
posted by chrisamiller at 9:08 PM on April 15, 2007

Oh wait, what about 37 signal's Basecamp?
posted by Gerard Sorme at 9:14 PM on April 15, 2007

MySQL is great, but the more I play with sqlite, the more I find MySQL to be overkill for many database needs. Especially if you only have a few people updating the database at a time.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:00 AM on April 16, 2007

Nthing DabbleDB. Great stuff.
posted by dmd at 6:01 AM on April 16, 2007

I've used flattext to maintain a membership database. Not at all like access in terms of whipping out ad hoc queries and reports, though. Perfectly fine for directory-type maintenance and searching.
posted by cairnish at 1:42 PM on April 16, 2007

CiviCRM is an open source constituent relationship management package that is made expressly for this task. I think it started with the Dean campaign, but I've been using it with a very small non-profit and it works quite well.
posted by advicepig at 7:42 PM on April 16, 2007

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