Does there exist a lightweight and attractive forms based database?
July 21, 2008 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a forms based database like Filemaker, MS Access, or OoO Base, but lightweight?

I'm using Base right now and it works well, but it's a huge mammoth of a thing and takes up a lot of memory and CPU that I'd rather use for other things. (I use it on a laptop when I DJ so taking over the CPU mid show is a problem.) I'm looking for something that is, in order of importance:

- Windows (XP)
- Not a resource hog
- Not web based.
- Has highly customizable forms.
- Has decent data export (csv, excel, etc)

It doesn't need to deal with millions of records so a SQLite based DB would be enough. Price is less of a consideration that the rest.

It's been forever since I've used FileMaker (Version 5 I think), but I remember it being a similar beast. Is that still true?
posted by Ookseer to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think so. I started developing with Filemaker 8.5 and it's pretty decent. Never really have a problem w/ cpu usage. Compiled versions are also pretty snappy and cpu friendly.

If you're happy with a flat-file (no relational features) db, MyDatabase is forms based, easy to use, and cheap.
posted by jdfan at 3:37 PM on July 21, 2008

I'm a FileMaker developer, so factor that into account, but I think FileMaker 9 is a pretty great tool for what you're describing. Not sure just how lightweight you need it to be, but FMP 9's Windows XP system requirements seem pretty nominal:

* Windows XP Professional or Home Edition (Service Pack 2) *
* Pentium III 500MHz or higher
* 256MB of RAM
* CD-ROM drive
* SVGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution video adapter and display*

You could probably cook up something smaller, but I doubt it would be as easy to use. And FileMaker is dead simple for cranking out forms, building internal scripts, exporting, etc. If you haven't look at FMP since version 5, you're in for a number of pleasant surprises -- it's a much MUCH more mature and capable product these days.
posted by mosk at 3:50 PM on July 21, 2008

Ack. It's too bad XP is a requirement, because FileMaker now has a lightweight personal DB app called Bento, but it's OS X only.
posted by pmbuko at 3:53 PM on July 21, 2008

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