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Old May 8th, 2005, 01:55 PM   #1
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Suggestions for contact manager or database

Before I start looking around the internet, I thought I would ask the good and knowledgeable citizens of ehMac for their favourite ideas on this subject.

I've got a group of about 100 to 120 contacts mostly now entered into Address Book, for a fledgling association that a group of us are starting. I want to be able to sort through them for various fields, which is something Address Book does not do. I had to create some custom fields just to enter some of the data I wanted to include and I couldn't sort the contacts based on them.

I experimented with exporting the data and opening it in an old version of Excel, that runs under Classic, which gave me an uninspiring spreadsheet. I also did the same with Appleworks, and then tried creating a database with it. Appleworks is not very good in my opinion, I couldn't figure out how to take the spreadsheet data and enter it automatically into the different fields I had set up, other than manually. After it crashed a couple of times, I gave up. I understand Appleworks is a carbon app and it sure seemed more like using Classic than OSX.

I remember using Claris Works to set up a database of customers about 7 years ago and remember it being painful and ultimately not very useful.

So my question is, does anyone out there have any recommendations for their favourite apps that do this sort of thing? I'm looking for freeware or shareware at this point. Maybe there is a better contact manager that can sort the info more flexibly than Address Book or possibly a simple and easy to set up database program that someone knows of or has used successfully.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:30 AM   #2
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I don't think you'll find anything in the "shareware-freeware" category that's better than Addressbook or another commercial app.

Filemaker is the ideal solution for a customized contact manager, but you need to shell out some coinage. The great thing about FM, is that it can grow along with you, is fully cross-platform, and you can make it web based if need be later on.

The standard version comes with some pretty good templates which can be customized, so a lot of the work is already done for you.

Downside is...there is a learning curve, but it's worth it.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #3
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My vote is for FileMaker. It's like a big box of LEGO, you can build exactly what you need and it's not terribly difficult to learn the basics.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 12:08 PM   #4
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We are an authorized reseller for a product called DayLite. It is a contact/business manager that was designed from the ground up to handle the types of functionality that you are looking for. I'd be happy to discuss it further with you off-list if you are interested. The cost is resasonable, $189.95 Cdn and it is multi-user ready right out of the box.

Hope this helps,
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Old May 9th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #5
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My dad used to use ACT all the time when he was a Windoze user, since I switched him to Mac he's been using a product called Chronos. He is quite pleased with it, uses it daily. He's got several hundred contacts in there and does all his time management with it.

I believe he paid around $50 US for it, and that it was a shareware or similar arrangement, in that he had a trial use period before purchase.

-Stephanie
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:38 PM   #6
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Thanks to all who replied with helpful suggestions. Unfortunately I have no budget for this, so spending more than a few bucks on this is out of the question. All I really wanted to be able to do was be able to sort the info in Address Book by the various fields and have the ability to customize the fields a bit more than Address Book currently allows.

For instance, I wanted to be able to sort the group by who has email addresses and who does not. And by who had their own web sites and who did not. Also I set up a custom field in the "Names" section called "group" where I classified the contacts by a few sub-groups. It would be nice to be able to sort the contacts based on that as well.

I looked around the web for share/freeware yesterday, but I didn't find anything satisfactory, so it looks like kps is right. At this point my sorting will have to be manual, which is doable with a group of 100 contacts, just time consuming.

I did find one program that allowed for better customizing of how Address Book prints out its lists, which was handy. My own solution till then, was to print to PDF, copy the info after opening it in Acrobat Reader, then save to a word processor for further re-formatting.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:43 PM   #7
 
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You could set up a mySQL database for free. But you have to learn how to do that. Which may or may not be worth your time with 100 contacts.

Cheers,

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Old May 9th, 2005, 07:28 PM   #8
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I just took a quick look on Google for mySQL and realized that it would be just a teensy wee bit over my non-techie head. But thanks for the suggestion.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #9
 
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Hmuff... there just HAS to be some freebie web utility that would be able to do what you want. If there isn't... um... there should be...

I will google around a bit more.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 10:13 PM   #10
 
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OK, there's a cool site here: http://baseportal.com/

They let you build a customized web database, which you can also share with others (password protected)...

This is SQLish, but you don't need to actually know SQL to set it up.
It's fairly intuitive. Took me 5 minutes to set up a simple contact database which sorts all fields. Maybe not exactly what you need, but hey... it's free.

Pix show data entry page (bp1) & result of a query requesting display of all members of the "extremists" Group (bp2)...

From what I can see, a fairly sophisticated db can be built here.

Maybe someone among the 100 is DB savvy & can help?

iG/<
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