Need a relational database for 200LX



#13

As part of the recent trend to mimic comp.sys.palmtops...

I'm looking for a relational database package to put on my 200LX, with a few specific needs:

1. Relational (obviously).

2. Able to work with tables that have a couple thousand records (at the most) without needing EMS or getting horribly bogged down.

3. Speedy, interactive data entry, without a lot of hoops to jump through. I don't want to have to write SQL queries every time I insert data, for example.

4. Relatively sophisticated table join capability.

I'm trying to analyze some data for possible cause-and-effect correlations. I've got two main categories of entries (let's just call them 'A', the causes, and 'B', the effects), with assorted subtypes in each. The 'A' and 'B' records will likely be stored in different tables, as they have different properties to be logged. What I will need to do is look at all the 'B' records, and find any 'A' record that falls within a certain time frame prior to any 'B' record (say 24 hours). These would be the candidate 'causes'.

I can get this far with just 1-2-3, though it isn't pretty. But then I need to go further, and look at all the subtypes of the 'A' records (causes) that were found, and determine the percent of times each subtype is then followed by each subtype of 'B' record (effect) within a 24-hour window. This would be to filter out the false positives and red herrings. If a possible cause is occurring almost constantly, but the effect in question occurs much less frequently, it's probably not a likely cause.

I do database administration and development for a living, so I could crank this out with SQL Server in about 10 minutes, but if I can do it entirely on the 200LX where I'm logging the data, that would save me the trouble of having to export/import the data, and do the analysis on a separate machine.

What are the best options? The obvious names I hear tossed around are dBase III Plus and Data Perfect, but having never used them, I have no idea what kind of table join capabilities they have. (I need to do fuzzy joins based on time stamps falling within ranges rather than exact matches, as well as outer/anti joins.) If I could dig up a copy of @Base, then I could do all the data entry via 1-2-3 (as I am now), and jump over to dBase occasionally to perform the analysis.


#14

I used dBase II and III extensively on PC's back in the day and I'm sure I have copies to try on the HP200LX, but they are are quite slow and not very capable as far as join conditions from what I remember. I'll give the latest version that I can find a shot and let you know if it's any good on the 200LX.

Although I have no experience with it, what about FoxPro?

Edited: 27 Aug 2012, 1:26 p.m.

#15

I was in contact with people who did incredible things using FoxPro for DOS in the '90s. FoxPro evolved into VisualFox; Microsoft bought Fox at some point in time, and kept it in their product catalog for years, even if they already have their own MS SQL Server and MS Access offerings. It may be what you are looking for.


#16

I may give FoxPro a try, though it looks like a fairly "heavy" package. Which version would be best suited for a 200LX? 2.0? 2.6? Then of course the challenge is finding it...


#17

FoxPro is/was a great package but it is not relational so your Access/SQL Server/RDBMS skills are not transferable.

I don't recall anyone ever producing a SQL DB for it. In fact, i don't recall anyone producing a DB for it. The built in one was good enough for most simple things and anyone doing anything 'serious' used a full sized PC so there was not much of a market for one.

Remember that the calculator (and hence the solver) can access spreadsheet cells in 123 and that can offer a lot of power. However, in the time you spend learning it, you might as well have transferred the data over to a PC. (Especially if you have a PCMCIA to SD Card adaptor to make the transfer relatively painless.)


#18

I did manage to discover R:Base 3.1, which does support ANSI SQL to some degree. It's not super fast, but it might be useful for some things. But yes, it's looking like the effort will end up outweighing loading batches of data into SQL Server via Integration Services and analyzing it all there. I already do that sort of thing pretty frequently at work anyway, so the R&D time is almost nil.

But a 20-year-old database book could still make good hammock reading regardless. (I already have a Lotus 1-2-3 book that goes out to the hammock with me occasionally, because that's what I like to do when I'm not busy fighting off throngs of women.)

#19

What about Borland Paradox for DOS, FoxPro would have been my other suggestion but that was already brought up. I seems there are some websites that have 200LX information and may list some other options.


#20

Paradox 3.5 is an amazing database program and would be an excellent choice if you could find a copy, though it does use QBE rather than SQL.

Another alternative would be FoxPro for DOS, which uses an xBase language.

I am not sure what their memory footprint/RAM usage is compared to what the 200LX has available, though.

All this DOS talk made me lookup some other old software - amazing what is still around: Framework for example (not good for you, way too esoteric) or Lotus Approach (though a DOS version is probably hard to find) or Lotus Symphony (not sure its database is powerful enough).

I think you might be better off with an Android (Nexus 7) or iOS tablet and a modern program if any are available. (And if not, another app idea to put on my list :) .)


Edited: 27 Aug 2012, 6:44 p.m.


#21

Well there's part of the trouble. I've got both an iPad and iPhone, but the range of general-purpose databases for them is honestly rather awful. You can either get a really nice program with a good user interface that's been designed with very limited room for customization, or you can get something that's just a basic SQL console for running commands against an SQLite engine (or some other remote DBMS). There's nothing that lets you design some tables and input forms, set constraints and default values, then run (and save) SQL queries against any number of tables, design reports, etc. Or at least not that I've been able to find - I'd love to be proven wrong here.


#22

Hello!

Quote:
Or at least not that I've been able to find - I'd love to be proven wrong here.

Have you looked at HanDBase yet? (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handbase-for-ipad-database/id368257427?mt=8) That would be my candidate if I am ever going to port my (few) data collections to the iPad. Presently I store them in an old FileMaker version on my Macintoshes and have no real need to port them to a mobile device.

Regards - max


#23

I've looked at HanDBase, but a few things have turned me off:

1. No arbitrary querying, so the type of report I want to generate would be impossible.

2. No custom reports. It seems to only do a few basic arithmetic operations on the data.

3. The interface is butt-ugly.

There's another app called SQLed that looks like it might be useful, but it doesn't have much in the way of data entry forms. It seems like it might have a decent enough data entry gird, though.

#24

I've seen what you mean. Access Mobile Databse Client looks interesting, but no forms support, and most forms based programs have poor query support.

Another future project on my list :)


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