LO Base Enhancements

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Nigel Verity Nigel Verity
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LO Base Enhancements

Hi
 
I was an MS Access developer for about 10 years until I was able to escape to Linux. I used OOO/LibreOffice even when I was tied to Windows but it always fell down when it came to database access.
 
Base is great as a means of accessing a wide variety of database back-ends, but its form designer falls well of short of MS Access, both in features and ease of use. When a new user opens the Base designer the first sight is of a fairly familiar-looking interface. This encouraging start is undermined once it becomes apparent how difficult macro programming can be, and how little flexibility there is over the form's visual design and behaviour.
 
HSQLDB seems to be powerful in terms of its support for complex SQL execution, but it is relatively slow and inefficient when there is a large number of records.
 
For the vast majority of users, LO Writer, Calc and Impress already provide everything they would ever want from an office suite. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Base.
 
When I am developing standalone database applications for Linux I use Gambas3, talking to a Sqlite backend. The connection can be defined in the form designer or 4 lines of code. There is no dependency on Java, and bound controls and subforms are fully supported. In short, this combination of FLOSS components pretty much provides a complete Linux replacement for MS Access.
 
Sqlite has a large and well-organised development team. It performs really well even with very large datasets. I feel that making Sqlite the default database for LO Base in place of HSQLDB would free resources for more development of the front-end.
 
I would urge you to take a look at Gambas3 to see how easy it is to develop a database application with it. Perhaps taking it as inspiration for an enhanced Base will finally make LibreOffice a one-stop solution for a great many businesses.
 
I'm a big LO fan, so I hope this can be viewed as constructive comment rather than harsh criticism.
 
Regards
 
Nige Verity
     
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Jochen Schiffers Jochen Schiffers
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

Hi Nigel,

thx für your thoughts/proposal.

I can´tjudge whether your idea is good or not. But I know that there are
around the worldonly two or three developers for base. It is "inhuman"
to demand major changes of these few people. We must be grateful that
these eliminate the bugs.

Regards

Jochen



Am 28.07.2014 21:58, schrieb Nigel Verity:

> Hi
>  
> I was an MS Access developer for about 10 years until I was able to escape to Linux. I used OOO/LibreOffice even when I was tied to Windows but it always fell down when it came to database access.
>  
> Base is great as a means of accessing a wide variety of database back-ends, but its form designer falls well of short of MS Access, both in features and ease of use. When a new user opens the Base designer the first sight is of a fairly familiar-looking interface. This encouraging start is undermined once it becomes apparent how difficult macro programming can be, and how little flexibility there is over the form's visual design and behaviour.
>  
> HSQLDB seems to be powerful in terms of its support for complex SQL execution, but it is relatively slow and inefficient when there is a large number of records.
>  
> For the vast majority of users, LO Writer, Calc and Impress already provide everything they would ever want from an office suite. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Base.
>  
> When I am developing standalone database applications for Linux I use Gambas3, talking to a Sqlite backend. The connection can be defined in the form designer or 4 lines of code. There is no dependency on Java, and bound controls and subforms are fully supported. In short, this combination of FLOSS components pretty much provides a complete Linux replacement for MS Access.
>  
> Sqlite has a large and well-organised development team. It performs really well even with very large datasets. I feel that making Sqlite the default database for LO Base in place of HSQLDB would free resources for more development of the front-end.
>  
> I would urge you to take a look at Gambas3 to see how easy it is to develop a database application with it. Perhaps taking it as inspiration for an enhanced Base will finally make LibreOffice a one-stop solution for a great many businesses.
>  
> I'm a big LO fan, so I hope this can be viewed as constructive comment rather than harsh criticism.
>  
> Regards
>  
> Nige Verity
>    


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Cor Nouws Cor Nouws
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Nigel Verity
Hi Nigel,

Nigel Verity wrote on 28-07-14 21:58:
> [...]
> HSQLDB seems to be powerful in terms of its support for complex SQL
> execution, but it is relatively slow and inefficient when there is a
> large number of records.

Indeed that has been noticed.
As from LibreOffice 4.2.0 in the experimental features there is the
option to use Firebird, that will bring improvements as you describe.
 See
https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.2#Experimental_Features
 (To turn on: Tools > Options > Advanced)


> I'm a big LO fan, so I hope this can be viewed as constructive
> comment rather than harsh criticism.

No problem at all! Thanks for your supportive words and the time you you
took to explain your ideas. Maybe a pity that you just missed this
Firebird feature. On the other hand: it's not yet from Experimental to
'regular', so that might have contributed to that.

Kind regards,
Cor

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Terrence Enger Terrence Enger
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Nigel Verity
On Mon, 2014-07-28 at 20:58 +0100, Nigel Verity wrote:
> Hi

Thank you for your interest in Base.

>  
> Sqlite has a large and well-organised development team. It performs
> really well even with very large datasets. I feel that making Sqlite
> the default database for LO Base in place of HSQLDB would free
> resources for more development of the front-end.

A big downside of Sqlite is its dynamic typing, a.k.a. advisory
typing.  IMO, this is simply broken.

Terry.



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Andrew Douglas Pitonyak Andrew Douglas Pitonyak
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Re: LO Base Enhancements


On 07/28/2014 07:32 PM, Terrence Enger wrote:
> A big downside of Sqlite is its dynamic typing, a.k.a. advisory
> typing. IMO, this is simply broken. Terry.

I think that this is intentional, so, I don't think it is actually
broken. I never bothered to investigate the motivation for it.

I find it personally annoying, but not broken. I think that what you
really mean is that you find it not usable for a certain application
that you have in mind.

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My Macro Document: http://www.pitonyak.org/AndrewMacro.odt
Info:  http://www.pitonyak.org/oo.php


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Terrence Enger Terrence Enger
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

With respect to dynamic column typing in SQLite,
On Mon, 2014-07-28 at 20:34 -0400, Andrew Douglas Pitonyak wrote:
> I think that this is intentional, so, I don't think it is actually
> broken. I never bothered to investigate the motivation for it.

Certainly intentional.  Indeed, the web site for SQLite describes it
as a positive virtue.

I should have written "broken by design".

>
> I find it personally annoying, but not broken. I think that what you
> really mean is that you find it not usable for a certain application
> that you have in mind.

The cost is in thinking about what a query may return:  comparisons do
not mean what we are used to.  For that matter, what does a value mean
when it is not in the domain in which it is supposedly defined?

Terry.



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Andrew Douglas Pitonyak Andrew Douglas Pitonyak
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Re: LO Base Enhancements


On 07/29/2014 12:06 AM, Terrence Enger wrote:

> With respect to dynamic column typing in SQLite,
> On Mon, 2014-07-28 at 20:34 -0400, Andrew Douglas Pitonyak wrote:
>> I think that this is intentional, so, I don't think it is actually
>> broken. I never bothered to investigate the motivation for it.
> Certainly intentional.  Indeed, the web site for SQLite describes it
> as a positive virtue.
>
> I should have written "broken by design".
>
>> I find it personally annoying, but not broken. I think that what you
>> really mean is that you find it not usable for a certain application
>> that you have in mind.
> The cost is in thinking about what a query may return:  comparisons do
> not mean what we are used to.  For that matter, what does a value mean
> when it is not in the domain in which it is supposedly defined?
>
> Terry.
>
>
>

Well said Terry, well said.

Your last paragraph is, I think, an excellent summary of one of the
greatest disadvantages to SQLite. I t annoys me when I use specific DDL
to create a DB, I then retrieve the types and such that were created,
and the types are different than what I requested. I suppose that I
should be happy that it is able to map to what they support.

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Andrew Pitonyak
My Macro Document: http://www.pitonyak.org/AndrewMacro.odt
Info:  http://www.pitonyak.org/oo.php


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Wolfgang Keller Wolfgang Keller
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Jochen Schiffers
> I can´tjudge whether your idea is good or not. But I know that there
> are around the worldonly two or three developers for base.

Pity because Base is (could be?) imho actually *the* "killer" component
of LO. For everything else there are other free solutions.

In fact I see the rest of LO (Calc and Writer) just as a reporting
framework for Base.

> It is "inhuman" to demand major changes of these few people. We must
> be grateful that these eliminate the bugs.

That would be an argument in favour of not re-inventing wheels and
instead just ship drivers for client-server RDBMSs while concentrating
on the client implementation.

Sincerely,

Wolfgang

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Fernand Vanrie Fernand Vanrie
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

Wolfgang Keller schreef op 05/08/2014 12:05:

+1
we use the native mysql connector and  macro's + dialogs + writer+ calc  
for having a complet CRM and SRM platform with  +100 users working in
the office and at home (VPN connections) only using LO and a MySQL server.

greetz

Fernand

>> I can´tjudge whether your idea is good or not. But I know that there
>> are around the worldonly two or three developers for base.
> Pity because Base is (could be?) imho actually *the* "killer" component
> of LO. For everything else there are other free solutions.
>
> In fact I see the rest of LO (Calc and Writer) just as a reporting
> framework for Base.
>
>> It is "inhuman" to demand major changes of these few people. We must
>> be grateful that these eliminate the bugs.
> That would be an argument in favour of not re-inventing wheels and
> instead just ship drivers for client-server RDBMSs while concentrating
> on the client implementation.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Wolfgang
>


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Manfred Usselmann-2 Manfred Usselmann-2
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Cor Nouws
Am 28.07.2014 22:47, schrieb Cor Nouws:

> Hi Nigel,
>
> Nigel Verity wrote on 28-07-14 21:58:
>> [...]
>> HSQLDB seems to be powerful in terms of its support for complex SQL
>> execution, but it is relatively slow and inefficient when there is a
>> large number of records.
>
> Indeed that has been noticed.
> As from LibreOffice 4.2.0 in the experimental features there is the
> option to use Firebird, that will bring improvements as you describe.
>  See
> https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.2#Experimental_Features
>  (To turn on: Tools > Options > Advanced)

Mmh. I'm using Version: 4.2.4.2 Build-ID: 420m0(Build:2) under Ubuntu,
but don't have the option to use firebird embedded. I did install the
libreoffice-sdbc-firebird and depending packages and I've also switched
on the expermimental features.



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Owen Genat Owen Genat
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Nigel Verity
Nigel Verity wrote
I feel that making Sqlite the default database for LO Base in place of HSQLDB would free resources for more development of the front-end.
This is just FYI. SQLite was considered as a HSQLDB replacement and rejected, mainly for the reason indicated up thread by Terrence Enger i.e., dynamic (advisory) data typing. The details can be found in the related bug reports:

https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=38811
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=50575

Nigel Verity wrote
I would urge you to take a look at Gambas3 to see how easy it is to develop a database application with it.
I thought I read recently (in a forum post?) a suggestion to use Gambas as a replacement for LO Basic, but cannot find it now. I notice that there is some recent activity about porting Gambas to MacOS:

http://sourceforge.net/p/gambas/mailman/message/32413651/

It would need to be ported to both MacOS and Windows (currently runs under Cygwin) to be an effective cross-platform Base application development tool.
TheCheezys TheCheezys
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Re: LO Base Enhancements

In reply to this post by Nigel Verity
Hi Nigel,

thx für your thoughts/proposal.

I cant judge whether or not your plan is sweet or not.
however i do know that there are around the world only 2 or 3 developers for base.
it's "inhuman" to demand major changes of those few folks.
we have a tendency to should be grateful these eliminate of bugs.

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