IN DEVELOPMENT: DataMaker for Windows
SoftMaker is currently working on the database application DataMaker for Windows.
DataMaker is targeted at users, not programmers. We designed DataMaker with both beginners and experts in mind: Everybody can set up databases, enter data, and query them for results.
If DataMaker is your first foray into databases, you can stay in "safe territory": Just create a simple table, add an input form and maybe a report, and your first database is ready. A database expert, on the other hand, can create relations, make DataMaker ensure referential integrity, set up forms with selection lists and input validation, design reports with nested sub-reports, and, and, and ... all without programming, all by using easily understandable menus and dialogs!
Access any database from DataMaker
DataMaker works with any ODBC database. It will ship with a very fast database driver for the dBASE database format, but you are not limited to that: You can use DataMaker to access databases from MySQL, SQL Server, IBM DB/2, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Microsoft Access etc. all databases for which ODBC drivers exist.
Manage databases through the Control Center
The place from which you manage all parts of your database is the Control Center:
Here you can create new tables, forms, reports, queries, macros etc. and can also edit and otherwise manage them. A double click on a form or report opens it, a right mouse click shows all editing commands for the selected objects.
In contrast to Microsoft Access, you can even keep multiple databases open simultaneously not just multiple tables!
Sophisticated forms, reports, and labels
After you have set up a database, you want to enter data. This is done through forms. A default form is automatically created by DataMaker for each table.
You can modify this default form to your liking or even create new forms from scratch. This helps the users of your database by making data entry easier, safer, and better:
In addition, you may change more basic things such as font styles and sizes, colors and fill patterns, and you can add graphical elements such as pictures and drawings.
Just as capable as forms are reports and labels which DataMaker handles with ease.
Embedded forms and reports: You can insert sub-forms and sub-reports into forms and reports. DataMaker will then display all records from the sub-table that are related to the main table through a key field. This lets you quickly display, for example, all orders from a customer and DataMaker manages the relations for you:
Calculated fields are fields that access table fields and execute calculations on them, like TOTAL=NUMBER*PRICE. You define them in the Control Center, and DataMaker makes them available just like table fields to reports, forms, labels, and queries.
You can draw from a huge repository of functions in the creation of calculated fields: In addition to the usual array of numeric and character string functions, there is a full set of functions for date and time calculations. You can execute statistical functions such as SUM() and COUNT() and even run SQL queries that return aggregate results over a range of records.
Queries for beginners and pros
One of the most important tools of database programs is the ability to create queries. They can be used, for example, to find all customers in a certain city or combine customer/order details from multiple tables into a results table.
The query results can be viewed or printed by the user, but can also be used as the basis of reports or calculated fields (that in turn may be used in forms and reports).
Beginners will employ the query wizard (see above) to set up queries. Advanced users can fine-tune queries with the built-in query designer, and experts even have the option to enter SQL query commands directly.
Set up relations between tables
DataMaker is built as a relational database from ground up. You can set up relations between tables through key fields, and DataMaker will manage the relation for you automatically.
What's the purpose of relations? A simple example: One table contains names and addresses of your customers, another table contains all orders. Through a common field, such as the customer number, the two tables are joined. This lets you quickly and easily list all orders a certain customer has made for example, in a sub-form embedded in a form, or in a sub-report embedded in a report.
Automate tasks with macros
Macros let you automate many tasks in DataMaker. You can set up pushbuttons or hotkeys to launch a macro that executes actions such as opening a table, printing reports, changing the record filter etc.
Conclusion: DataMaker is a capable database program that not only gives you sophisticated database features, but was also designed with userfriendliness in mind. Databases do not have to be complicated anymore.