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Web based database system?
2

Web based database system?

Web based database system?

(OP)
I am looking for a database system that can be configured and used entirely through a web server.  I am hoping there is a term for the type of product I am looking for, please let me know if there is.

One way I can describe this is that I would like the functionality of Microsoft Access but all programming should be performed through a web page.  This sounds ridiculous to me so let me explain my situation:

My department is currently using a half-working database for work-orders.  The system is used by others to submit orders as well as by us to view, edit, and sort orders.  Our IT department is unable to develop this program further and has offered to purchase and install a web server-based application for use in its place.

We would like the ability to add/remove fields, change the appearance of the data entry and review pages, export data, and perform queries on the data.  

Please let me know if any products come to your mind.

I would prefer to write an app myself, with Visual Studio, Access, or PHP/MySQL but our IT department is against allowing my department to write code (fair enough).  I am hoping to find something that my department can at least configure since we have been left hanging for two years and our work has suffered because of it.  

If there are no solutions that fit our needs exactly please advise of the best solution you can recommend.  I have been looking into content management systems and booking systems but have not found one that looks promising for our uses yet.  I think a customizable booking system would be great if it supported queries across all of its fields...

Thanks,

David

RE: Web based database system?

(OP)
I forgot to mention that my budget here is $15-$20k.

RE: Web based database system?

Hi, David

You could take a look at Oracle Application Expressat this link:

http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/application_express/index.html

You can try it out for free at the Oracle hosted site to see if it meets your needs:

http://apex.oracle.com/pls/otn/f?p=29659:1:868787725272291

IF your database size is not too big you could always attach it to the free version of Oracle called Oracle Database 10g Express Edition:

http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/xe/index.html

Regards,


William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

(OP)
Hi oradba101,

This looks like it will defintely fit the bill!  A few minutes of working with the online demo has me impressed.  

Thank you,

David

RE: Web based database system?

I would spec out your needs in full, then pass it onto your IT Department and ask what they would recommend for the system.

Bear in mind that they almost certainly will have rules in place regarding servers, platforms supported and that things like disaster recovery, backup/restore need to be able to be run on whatever is chosen.

John

RE: Web based database system?

Hi, John

Based upon the initial thread I would say that the IT department in question does not have any idea on how to make this happen.  Remember this has been going on for two years which should have been enough time to come up with a solution.

Oracle Application Express allows users to create web-based solutions that are both fast and scalable.  I think for the budget and needs that David has this is the most cost-effective solution.

Regards,

William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

MySQL can be managed through a program called PHPMyAdmin, it needs a bit of configuring at the initial setup, but apart from that its all web based.

I'd seriously question your IT dept's competence if they weren't able to advise on an appropriate platform for an application given a specification.

John

RE: Web based database system?

Oracle Application Express (APEX) offers several advantages as well:

Security - users log into APEX not the database.  So there is no unauthorized logins into the database.  It even keeps logs as to which user logs in and the activity they did in the database.
Ease of Use - It is easy for most users to pick up without having to specifically learn a programming language.
Migration - It has a utility to migrate Access databases to APEX.

It is a free product that can and does meet the need of most users.

Regards,


William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

Oradba101 - can you comment on data security, backup/restore, disaster recovery etc with reference to APEX?

Think of this becoming a critical application for David and his colleagues, then work out how easy it would be to do data backup/restores, moving it to a separate server if the original were to crash etc.

John

RE: Web based database system?

Data security - Handled by APEX.  Fairly easy to set up but does require some planning.

The rest is handled by the Oracle database itself and there are plenty of resources available for that.

By the nature of your thread, it seems that you have something against Oracle.  If you can get the best for less and it meets your needs, why not give it a try.

Regards,

William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

Nothing against Oracle, I primarily work with SQL Server and Access, and I wondered about the competition.

At my workplace we have quite strict requirements for core computer systems, and disaster recovery, db security management and easy backup/restore are three of the core criteria for it.
We won't even consider an application or server that doesn't have some sort of facility for this available.

John

RE: Web based database system?

This is something that David is going to have to research for himself.  His initial impression is favourable although it would be beneficial for him to cover all aspects.

I would suggest you check out APEX for yourself.  It is a very impressive product.  Try the hosted site and see what you think.

The advantage to it is you don't have to install anything on the client PC everything is done with a browser.  The last time I checked Access was $99 per PC and that can add up quickly.  Not only that but any changes made to the Access front-end has to be made to all the other PCs as well.  This, I am sure, can be very time-consuming.

Regards,

William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

(OP)
William,

You mentioned the price fitting my budget.  It looks like 10g and Apex can be installed and used free of charge leaving the only cost to be support- that certainly fits!

I am still fumbling around Oracle's website, coming up to speed with the terminology, and it will be some time before I understand the difference in 10g Express and the other products.  If this is enough information, I would appreciate your opinion on if 10g will handle it:

 Db will store 1,000 records a year with 40 fields in each record.  5 fields will be text descriptions (255 or more characters) while most will be part numbers, dates, or names.

 Db will be accessed by one individual most of the time, possibly 2-5 during peak use.

  Query time is not a significant factor unless we’re talking about minutes.  Queries will usually involve sorts by one field.

I'm not sure what other specs are important when specing out a database system but the fact that the system can be upgraded leaves me with little concern over this.  My main concern is convincing my IT department to take the time to learn and install Oracle.

I was investigating Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) before this point but many of them offer features we do not need, do not offer the customization options we would like, and are far outside our budget.  Apex is still looking good.  I almost have it up and running on my home PC and am hoping to begin developing sample applications this weekend.

Thanks again for the recommendation.

RE: Web based database system?

(OP)


John,

William pointed out the problem with our IT department accurately.  The solution they have offered is to install a software package that my department suggests.  This is less than ideal but I am working with the resources I have.

I know nothing about their data recovery procedures.  I appreciate your advice and will keep it in mind but this more of a “suggest and hope they approve,” rather than a “work together to find a solution” type of situation (sigh).

I have managed MySQL through phpMyAdmin before and I assure you Application Express is a different animal.  It actually provides the functionality that I first labeled as "ridiculous" and it does so in an elegant way.  I suggest you take a look at it.  If you do, follow William’s links to avoid getting bogged down in navigating Oracle’s site.

Thanks,

David

RE: Web based database system?

Hi, David

I am still fumbling around Oracle's website, coming up to speed with the terminology, and it will be some time before I understand the difference in 10g Express and the other products.  If this is enough information, I would appreciate your opinion on if 10g will handle it:

The limitations of Oracle express are

1. Memory limit of 1GB.
2. Database size of 4GB.
3. Cannot run Java

Db will store 1,000 records a year with 40 fields in each record.  5 fields will be text descriptions (255 or more characters) while most will be part numbers, dates, or names.

Oracle had VARCHAR2 data types that allow for 4000 characters.

Db will be accessed by one individual most of the time, possibly 2-5 during peak use.

Oracle APEX apps and database are capable of supporting thousands of silmultaneous users.







William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

Hi, David

Just out of curiosity, which state or country are you located.  The reason I ask is because I am in Maine and there are a few science research facilities here.

Regards,

William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

David,

I am an oracle DBA at a company which produces LIMS in the UK.  The recommendation to use APEX is what I would come up with for any new work on Oracle, unless a full-blown application is being devised/written.

I just wanted to point out to you the need for extraordinary care, especially if you intend to write a Blood Transfusion module.  It should comply with the EU directives, and be a model of excellence in data integrity, for the obvious reason that administering the wrong type of blood can literally kill someone.  Failure to report analyser results is embarrassing, killing a patient is a tad worse!

Regards

T

Grinding away at things Oracular

RE: Web based database system?

(OP)
oradba101:
I am located in Michigan, near Detroit.  Our lab tests automotive components.

thargtheslayer:
Thank you for the warnings; luckily our lab does not deal with materials as sensitive as this!


I have been asked the question a few times though, "What's the catch?"

I am preparing to request that my IT department install 10g express and Application Express.  Is there some hidden cost or "catch" that I haven't heard about yet?  From what I see so far it looks like there will be no cost in acquiring and using this system.  

Apex looks too good to be true in the first place, the price tag looks the same!

Regards,

David

RE: Web based database system?

Hi, David

There is no cost for either express product.

I think this is Oracle's way of competing with the open-source databases. So far, I think they have hit a home run and Oracle seems to be very committed to both products.

I would also suggest you join the Oracle Technology Network (OTN).  It is a valuable resource for any Oracle related questions you may have.

Regards,

William Chadbourne
Oracle DBA

RE: Web based database system?

The "catch":
Well, you start employing an complete set of Oracle Applications including Oracle AS and when starting to grow then there is hope for Oracle to be part of it. And then it won't be that cheap anymore: Oracle Database and Oracle Application Server do not come for free. When needing more application interfaces and scalability that is what the road leads to.

I fooled around with it when it came up with 9i and it turned out to be rather useful. I am positively surprised that it is still free.

Juliane

RE: Web based database system?

>"What's the catch?"

Oracle salespeople.  They will pester you for the rest of your life, possibly beyond.

RE: Web based database system?

Quote (harebrain):

Oracle salespeople.  They will pester you for the rest of your life, possibly beyond.

Afterlife Receptionist:"Hello, Eternity, Inc.; how may I direct your call?"
Oracle Rep: "Yes, hello!  I'm calling for davidd31415; is he available?"
DR:  "I'm sorry, he's troubleshooting a permissions problem on the Oracle system right now. Would you like to leave a message?"
Oracle Rep: "Please have him call me at his earliest convenience about upgrading his database and application suites."

/REPEAT

Phil H.
-----------
A virtual machine ate my accounting data.  I transferred it to a physical box, then I beat it to smithereens with a sledgehammer.  I feel better.

RE: Web based database system?

Very entertaining, Phil.  smile

You know, some people do think Larry Ellison is the devil.

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