Need: easy to use, cheap (free) database for home

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
So I am getting married... thank you, thank you...



While my fiance is dealing with the big picture of where, when, what its going to look like, she has left the organization duties to me. I naturally turned to my computer to try and keep track of all this stuff, but have found my current inventory of apps not up to the task. Here is what I need (hopefully out of one app):



1. Guest list management:
  • Names

  • Addresses

  • Phone number

  • Have they RSVP'd? To the wedding, reception or both?

  • How many people are coming in their party?

  • What gift did they give?

  • All this with the ability to do a mail merge for labels and/or envelopes

2. Vendor Information
  • Who is our caterer, decorater, etc?

  • Contact info for each

  • Task lists for each

3. "Global" Tasks for my fiance and I
  • Save the date

  • invites

  • Thank you notes

  • etc.

I know that I probably need some kind of database program for this, but currently I have no such software.



The relevant app list on my iBook G4:
  1. Word

  2. Excel

  3. Pages

  4. Address Book and iCal

I have never used a database software before and wanted to know what the insiderdom thinks might be a good solution for me. Thanks.



PS: My fiance is a WIndows user (for now). Cross compatibility would be a plus.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    http://www.filemaker.com



    Probably a bit overkill, but in my experience the best (and easiest to use) database program that is cross-platform compatible. Lots of example files are included that you can easily change to fit your needs. 30-day trial version is available, too.



    Cons: not free (actually, quite expensive...)
  • Reply 2 of 13
    kishankishan Posts: 732member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwoodpecker


    http://www.filemaker.com



    Probably a bit overkill, but in my experience the best (and easiest to use) database program that is cross-platform compatible. Lots of example files are included that you can easily change to fit your needs. 30-day trial version is available, too.



    Cons: not free (actually, quite expensive...)



    Well, in the grand scheme of things, the money for filemaker is incidental in the overall cost of the wedding. Filemaker was one option I was looking at, just wanted to see if there were other choices. Filemaker seems to be a "pro" level app. For a guy like me, without any database experience, how steep is the learning curve in setting up a database?



    Thanks, by the way. I am downloading the free trial now.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Last week I was at the Buffalo Apple Store, and I know I saw a box called something like 'Wedding Planner' on one of the software shelves.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    jbljbl Posts: 555member
    If you hand write the envelopes (and my wife wouldn't let me print them... of course I made her do most of the addressing), you aren't going to need the mail merge. Other than that, everything you mention can be done in Excel or, better yet, OmniOutliner. Put the money you would have spent on Filemaker toward a decent digital camera.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Apart from telling you out of personal experience that doing all these tasks by hand is much faster (even with lots of experience in creating and maintaining databases) I actually found another database program. It's part of the OpenOffice suite for Windows and Mac OS X (requires the installation of X11 from the system installer CDs/DVDs).



    The best thing, though, is that it's free! You might have a look at the specs for "Base":



    http://www.openoffice.org/product/base.html
  • Reply 6 of 13
    objra10objra10 Posts: 679member
    Looking at your list, I would think that Excel would do everything you need very easily. It's actually a much more powerful program than most people think. It will even do the mail merge.



    FileMaker is an incredible program, (I use it all the time), but it will take you much longer to set up than it would be to do the whole thing by hand, or in Excel.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    this is probably not what you had in mind but you could make an application in rails.



    www.rubyonrails.org



    cross compatible too, you could install locally on both windows and os x or host it on the web and edit stuff there.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    You should try Dabbledb. It is a hybrid spreadsheet/database program that enables you to build applications with little to know database knowledge. It is incredibly powerful and has export functions that would enable you to share it with the public by clicking a button. I have used filemaker for a while and have been building all my new projects for work with dabble. It takes a little poking around to figure it out (the two guys that developed it haven't gotten around to complete documentation) but once you do it is amazing.



    Since it is a hosted app it is cross platform as well. They have a free 30 day trial and if you need a little more time they'll probably give it to you. I wish I could buy stock in their company before google buys them. Watch their video tutorials and you'll get an idea of what you can do.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Look, I use Filemaker and Excel just like everybody else, but why go through the trouble of reinventing the wheel?



    Why not get something built precisely for the task?
  • Reply 10 of 13
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Note: It's cross platform as well.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    kishankishan Posts: 732member
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. As fun as it would be to try and come up with a solution using excel or filemaker, I think I am going to "punt" and just use premade software. That one from summitsoft has absymal Mac reviews, so I have to dust off my old Windows laptop... too bad.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    I seriously think that Excel would do this incredibly well.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    perhaps iData? ( http://www.idata2.com/ )



    i use the appleworks DB for some stuff, too
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