I’m a fan of Open Office, the free open source office suite. Well, it’s just got better, with the addition of Base, a small database application. Base is, basically, an application for accessing databases such as dBase, Access, MySQL etc, but it also has (as far as I can make out) it’s own methods for creating XML-based database files.
The great thing about this is that finally, after so many years of hoping and waiting, we might have an alternative to Microsoft Access. The problem has been that for small websites wanting some database-driven features, such as a mailing list or simple searchable news section, it’s often not been worth going the whole hog and using MySQL or (shudder) SQL Server. Of course for larger web applications a serious database solution such as these is a prerequisite.
So we as developers have been forced to use Access, which is a file-based simple database application. But it’s not secure, doesn’t handle many users, falls over regularly (and often spectacularly), and is wholly unsuitable for storing anything but the simplest of information. That’s why this new addition to the Open Office suite could be so important.