Do you use spreadsheets and are you willing to share them? - Page 5
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  1. #81
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Aberdeen, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    Thanks, Bob. That's all I've been trying to do.

    Ha-ha. I suspect most people's are like this! You get them to a point where they just work, and stop. There's no reason to make them look pretty when they are designed for only your use. I get it!

    I appreciate this and your previous replies. I'm going to at least try and give Access a go while I have some newly found spare time.
    I don't think you'll regret doing so. Once you wrap your head around relational databases, you'll find yourself using them for everything.

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Portland, OR
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    I don't normally spend much time on threads but, because the OP has posted a very valid question that I have a lot of experience in, I'm going to add one more factor. Before I get into details of that, I'll just state that my background has been a lot more about DB functionality (going back to R:BASE in the 1980's) than it has in the programming/codewriting. What I mean by this is that you have to be able to "design" the functionality (what and, to some extent "how" you want the DB to function). It's basically, "what do you need and want?" in this system.

    So, the flip side of that is that you may spend too much time learning to program/code write that you might only use for one thing. Think about it this way: say you're a machinist and you need a welded part. How "economical" will it be for you to learn to weld for just one part? Code writing is close to being "commodity", the only exception is that you need to find someone who can absolutely understand how to interpret what you need into a DB and the "front end" (interface) and also guide you properly into the best design (i.e. they may have to tell you there's a better way at times). Finding that link between you and them is like trying to find the perfect spouse, it ain't easy! But, it can save you a huge amount of time.

    I was almost always able to make minor mods on code (e.g. to format a report better), but it would take way to much learning for me to become a code-writer. Ideally, there's some cross-over of skills (no gaps) so learning Access can be a near necessity (to work with your code writer).

    Just to confirm, I still support a custom DB because, as stated in an earlier post, software is either too cheap and incapable or expensive and "overwhelming". The database I designed which took a PO, checked quoted pricing, send an order confirmation, printed work orders and many other functions took about 10 minutes to train someone. It was 99% perfectly functional and was so easy to modify minor changes. There wasn't anything else on the planet that could have dealt with our special needs. It was essentially like making a custom machine or just a fixture to make a specific part. Sometimes "off the shelf" just isn't there.

    The Dude

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  4. #83
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    One of the first things I bought when I started my shop was Quickbooks. And then spent a lot of time reading about it and figuring how to set it up right. Use Customers, and use jobs. Also I would set up a simple database that is searchable with columns for customer, job number, part number, part name, dates for everything, notes, etc. This has been the most used tool in the shop. I constantly had customers calling me up to ask " when did you work on that?" or "how much did I pay you for this tool last year", etc, etc.

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