Databases are incredibly handy tools to have. Not only do they enable you to keep track of a multitude of data, they make searching and using that data simple. Working with databases on a desktop is quite easy. You could make use of a full-blown office suite such as LibreOffice that includes a powerful database with a vast array of features. But what if your primary device is of the Android variety? Are you out of luck? Actually, you have options. These options may not be as powerful as their desktop counterparts, but they do make it easy for you to keep a local database on your mobile Android device.
One such database tool is PortoDB. This particular take on the mobile database is free and very easy to learn and use. PortoDB won't overwhelm you with bells and whistles. It offers a simplistic interface that doesn't attempt to be anything more than it is—a user-friendly means of storing data. You create a database, add tables, and then start adding data to the tables. All data is stored in a folder on your device's internal storage (named PortoDB). There's no cloud involved, nor an account necessary. You can export your databases as a CSV list for use outside of your mobile device.
Let's install PortoDB and see how easy it is to create a database.
Installing PortoDB is simple. Follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for portodb.
- Locate and tap the entry by PortoFarina.
- Tap Install.
- Allow the installation to complete.
Once the installation completes, you'll find the launcher on your homescreen or your App Drawer. Tap the icon to open the software.
Creating a database
With PortoDB installed, it's time to create your first database. Open the app and you should see the main window (Figure A). PortoDB doesn't install sample data, so you're looking at a blank canvas from which to work.
To create a database, tap the + button in the upper right corner. In the overlay window, give the database a name and tap OK. The new database will be listed in the main window. Tap it to enter the tables window (Figure B).
Tap the + button (upper right corner) to create a new table. Give this table a name and, if desired, include an optional password, and tap OK. Continue adding tables until you're satisfied. Once you've created your tables, tap on one of the entries, so you can add data. In the table window, tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner) and tap New column. Give the column a name, select the column type (Figure C), and tap OK.
Once you've created the necessary columns, it's time to start adding data. From within the table window, tap the menu button and select Form view. From within this view (Figure D), you can start entering data.
Once you've filled in all of those data fields, tap the + button to start adding more entries. Continue with this, until you've filled in your tables with data. Once you've filled in your data, you can change to Table View to see your data (Figure E).
If you want to export your table data, all you have to do is tap on the database from the main window, tap the menu button, tap Export all rows, and tap OK when prompted. The new .CSV file will be found in /Local/PortoDB/Export/DB_NAME.csv (Where DB_NAME is in the form of DATABASE-TABLE). You can then copy that file to your Google Drive account and make use of the information contained within.
With PortoDB you can create as many databases as you need, each containing as many tables and data as necessary. Although this doesn't include the same features as you might find on a database server (such as MySQL), if you're looking for a very easy way to keep track of data on the go, PortoDB is an outstanding solution. Give it a go and see if it doesn't become your go-to mobile database app.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.