TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apr 98 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 4
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Apr 97 - Viewpoint

by Ed Ringel

MacTech Magazine's Database Project

With the focus of this issue on database engines, I've asked Ed Ringel, MacTech's Contributing Editor for product reviews, to tell us a little bit about why he thinks database technologies are crucial to all Macintosh developers. Ed has been working for many months to bring us information about many of the database engines available for use in Macintosh programs. The results of some of his work appear in this issue; he also is responsible for bringing us several database articles over the past year and a half, and yet more will appear in future issues. I hope you enjoy his guest editorial. - Eric Gundrum, Editor Emeritus

If you riffle through the last year's or so issues of MacTech, you will note several database related articles, such as those about PowerBuilder for Macintosh and B-Tree Helper. This issue is a continuation of our attempt to address one of the basic issues of computer programming and software development, the management of large amounts of data.

Certainly, many off the shelf products do not deal with data that is managed in a database - graphics and word processing programs come to mind almost immediately. However, such diverse functions as investing our mutual funds and querying our bank accounts, managing our health care, the management of corporate America, and our right to vote depend on the ability to manipulate formatted information in a predictable, easy, and useful manner. Those of you who do contract programming almost certainly have undertaken a database or information management product at some time or another. Sadly, the Mac OS often has not been chosen as the platform for management of this kind of information. This is partially because of the artificial ascendancy of the Wintel platform, but it also is partially because of the perception of many IS professionals that the Mac has inadequate tools for the task. We want to put the latter misperception, at least, to rest.

In this issue we present articles on two high end products dtF and NeoAccess, for your evaluation, and an additional article on a rather interesting find, Jovis. dtF and NeoAccess are powerful databases with inherent cross platform capabilities. Jovis, although inherently not as versatile as the other two because of its confinement to the XCMD (and thus the Mac OS) world, nonetheless does what it does very well. All three of these products can do a fine job of managing complex information for many users.

All three of these products also support the developer in the development of static knowledge bases with the capability to handle large, arbitrary blocks of binary data. Although a departure from "traditional" information management, this is a growth area for the use of database engines. This should be an area of particular interest to the Mac developer. The Mac's beautiful graphics, excellent printing, and ease of programming multimedia make the platform a natural for static knowledge bases.

What am I talking about? As I browse the catalogues and particularly browse the store shelves, much of the software sold at the retail level simply is not a new way of manipulating data. Rather, the purchaser is buying the information on the CD, not the program that presents it. Sadly, it is very hard to come up with a new program that genuinely is a better mousetrap, and many talented developers spend much time and treasure trying to write the next PageMaker or Excel. Face it guys, for most of us, that ain't in the cards. Additionally, the reality is that the programs out there that do most computational tasks are pretty good; the competition is pretty stiff. Reflecting this fact, and reflecting the public's hunger for consumable stuff, concentrating on information rather than software, may be a better tack for many developers. Many interactive games (short of arcade games) use a relatively simple shell that really is a multimedia display with decision points and programmed responses. Teaching CD's, information CD's, and my movies CD from my local video store don't sell the information player, they sell the information.

Arguably then, content development is pretty darn important. Good quality, easy to use tools such as those we've reviewed here give the developer breathing room to think about content, structure, and esthetic appeal of the presentation. Certainly, we will continue to want high-quality code programmers to flower and prosper, but many of us can create significant works with our good understanding of communication and esthetics and by collaborating with our colleagues who are content experts. This may be more important to professional success than shaving another microsecond from a rendering routine. Think about it.

Our reviews of this important area are not complete. We invite vendors and readers to let us know about their favorite engines, and we'll try to evaluate them. Be careful, though, you might get tapped to be the author of the review!


Ed Ringel is Contributing Editor for product reviews for MacTech Magazine. When he's not working at the computer or enjoying the Maine lakes and woods, he's a respiratory and critical care physician in Waterville, Maine. He can be reached at eringel@mint.net

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BBEdit 11.6.6 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Brackets 1.9.0 - Open Source Web design...
Brackets is an Open-Source editor for Web design and development built on top of Web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The project was created and is maintained by Adobe, and is... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.3.4 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.7.1a - GUI for OpenVPN.
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.3.5721 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
Posterino 3.3.7 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Airmail 3.2.9 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Arq 5.8.4 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for Mac and Windows computers. Back up to your own cloud account (Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Cloud Storage, any S3-compatible server... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.39 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
Arq 5.8.4 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for Mac and Windows computers. Back up to your own cloud account (Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Cloud Storage, any S3-compatible server... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Thimbleweed Park officially headed to iO...
Welp, it's official. Thimbleweed Park will be getting a mobile version. After lots of wondering and speculation, the developers confirmed it today. Thimbleweed Park will be available on both iOS and Android sometime in the near future. There's no... | Read more »
Pokémon GO might be getting legendaries...
The long-awaited legendary Pokémon may soon be coming to Pokémon GO at long last. Data miners have already discovered that the legendary birds, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos are already in the game, it’s just a matter of time. [Read more] | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
If you’ve got the Monday blues we have just the thing to cheer you up. The week is shaping up to be a spectacular one for sales. We’ve got a bunch of well-loved indie games at discounted prices this week along with a few that are a little more... | Read more »
Honor 8 Pro, a great choice for gamers
Honor is making strides to bring its brand to the forefront of mobile gaming with its latest phone, the Honor 8 Pro. The Pro sets itself apart from its predecessor, the Honor 8, with a host of premium updates that boost the device’s graphical and... | Read more »
The 4 best outdoor adventure apps
Now that we're well into the pleasant, warmer months, it's time to start making the most of the great outdoors. Spring and summer are ideal times for a bit of trekking or exploration. You don't have to go it alone, though. There are plenty of... | Read more »
Things 3 (Productivity)
Things 3 3.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $7.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Meet the all-new Things! A complete rethinking of the original, award-winning task manager – with a perfect balance between... | Read more »
Oddball mash-up Arkanoid vs Space Invade...
In a move no one was really expecting, Square Enix has put forth an Arkanoid/Space Invaders mash-up aptly titled Arkanoid vs Space Invaders. The game launched today on both iOS and Android and the reviews are actually quite good. [Read more] | Read more »
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders (Games)
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LAUNCH SALE: GET THE GAME AT 20% OFF! Two of the most iconic classic games ever made meet in Arkanoid vs Space... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
Things got off to a bit of a slow start this week, but as we steadily creep towards Friday a bunch of great games have started cropping up. If you're looking for a quality new release to play this weekend, we've got you covered. Here's a handy... | Read more »
No Stick Shooter (Games)
No Stick Shooter 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Happy Robot presents a fresh take on the classic retro-arcade shooters we all know and love. Featuring 30 levels of non-stop... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

touchbyte Releases PhotoSync 3.2 for iOS With...
Hamburg, Germany based touchbyte has announced the release of PhotoSync 3.2 for iOS, a major upgrade to the versatile and powerful app to transfer, backup and share photos and videos over the air.... Read more
Emerson Adds Touchscreen Display and Apple Ho...
Emerson has announced the next evolution of its nationally recognized smart thermostat. The new Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat combines proven smarthome technology with a color touchscreen display and... Read more
SurfPro VPN for Mac Protects Data While Offer...
XwaveSoft has announced announce the release and immediate availability of SurfPro VPN 1.0, their secure VPN client for macOS. SurfPro VPN allows Mac users to protect their internet traffic from... Read more
13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (... Read more
Tuesday deal: $200 off 27-inch Apple iMacs
Amazon has select 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP, each including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799 $200 off MSRP Keep an eye on our... Read more
Five To Six Million 10.5-inch iPad Pro Tablet...
Digitimes’ Siu Han and Joseph Tsai report that upstream supply chain shipments for Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro have been increasing, with monthly shipment volume expected to hit 600,000 units by... Read more
Georgia Tech Students Win Toyota and Net Impa...
Earlier this year, a team of students at Georgia Tech realized that there was a critical gap in transportation services for people who use wheelchairs, and wondered if the solution could be in the... Read more
13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale...
Amazon has the 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLL42LL/A) on sale for $1299.99 including free shipping. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s currently the lowest price available... Read more
Roundup of 15-inch MacBook Pro sale prices, m...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro (MJLQ2LL/A) on sale for $1849 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Technical Support - Atrilogy (United...
Our direct client is looking for an Apple Technical Support / Apple Help Desk Specialist for a Full Time Direct Hire role in West Los Angeles by Playa Vista, CA Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Director *Apple* Platform, IS Data Manageme...
…a real difference. Come, shine with us! Astellas is announcing a Director Apple Platform, IS Data Management Lead opportunity in Northbrook, IL. Purpose & Scope: Read more
Director *Apple* ERP Integration Lead - Ast...
…make a real difference. Come, shine with us! Astellas is announcing a Director Apple ERP Integration Lead opportunity in Northbrook, IL. Purpose & Scope: This role Read more
Associate Director *Apple* Platform -- SAP...
…real difference. Come, shine with us! Astellas is announcing a Associate Director Apple Platform -- SAP Security, Risks and Controls Lead opportunity in Northbrook, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.