…use a spreadsheet for a database.
As I recall, that was a pretty popular opinion among the digerati a while back (maybe a LONG while back), regarding those who built databases with spreadsheets with the same derision you’d use for someone who uses word processing software to do calculations.
I keep track of Cites & Insights general themes–how recently they’ve appeared–and current segments (how long, status, etc.) with a one-page Word table, which includes a bottom-of-page running total of current wordcount. Why Word, not Excel? Because it’s convenient and it works. And, y’know, I don’t have to leave the program to update an item; just open the document.
Are there still people who believe this–that any proper database is built and maintained using a database program, that only amateurs and other idiots use Excel for databases?
I wonder. If so, they can just call me another technophobic idiot.
I’ve used a number of different databases over the years at home (and, of course, at work–SPIRES was/is one damn powerful database management system, easy to build new databases and with nearly unlimited power for old ones: I was sorry when we made the, I suppose, inevitable switch to a Proper Relational Database.). Hell, I’ve written database management systems using high-level programming tools…
And, well, today I just shut down the last database I was using at home, converting it to an Excel spreadsheet. Partly because I couldn’t seem to do the data validation in the LibreOffice version of the Access database that I wanted (and it was truly trivial to recreate the same validation in Excel–two minutes work at most), partly because, after fighting with LibreOffice’s report writer long enough to get a semi-workable report, I realized that the equivalent report would take, oh, 30 seconds to create in Excel (it’s just a pivot table with a heading).
And, now that it’s in Excel, I don’t have the field length limitations I had in Access (once you’ve defined a field length, that’s pretty much it). Or other limitations.
Oh, sure, at some point I could exceed the limitations of a single spreadsheet. But after my experiences with the massively complex spreadsheets for my liblog projects, I don’t see that point happening any time soon.
This is just a musing, I suppose, having to do with how times change. Yes, there are almost certainly home databases that Excel just can’t handle–but for lots of databases, it now strikes me as the preferable tool. I’m guessing the same is true for LibreOffice Spreadsheet.
This is another random musing of no lasting significance…