Open Source

Performing common Access tasks in OpenOffice.org 2.0's Base

Base's Database Wizard will allow you to access a host of database types

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic article.

While OpenOffice.org has always provided database front end tools it never really contained its own database application. With 2.0, OpenOffice.org now comes with Base, which still provides an easy-to-use database manager but also provides fully integrated HSQL database engine, which stores data in XML files. Now you can create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports using Wizards, Design Views, or SQL Views. In addition to allowing you to create databases, BASE supports many popular databases natively, including Adabas D, ADO, Microsoft Access, MySQL, as well as almost any other database through industry-standard ODBC and JDBC drivers. Base can also access dBASE files natively for simple database work. With this in mind, let's take a look at performing some common Access tasks in OpenOffice.org 2.0's Base.

Working with an existing database

If you make the move to OpenOffice.org 2.0 and Base, chances are good that you'll want to bring your existing databases with you. Fortunately, Base's Database Wizard, which you access by selecting New | Database from the File menu, will allow you to attach any database for which a current ODBC, OLE DB, or JDBC driver is available. The Database Wizard lets you choose from a host of data sources, as shown above.

However, it's important to keep in mind that converting a database from one application to another is a tricky business no matter what application you're using. When converting a database into Base, the transition won't be without its trials and tribulations and you can expect a lot of finagling in order to get things working--especially for more complex databases.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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