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Is LibreOffice Base the right tool for my situation?

asked 2020-07-22 01:49:52 +0200

Amy de l'ABC gravatar image

updated 2020-07-22 02:00:56 +0200

Hi! I freely admit to being a newb, and will be as succinct as I can and try and edit this down/organize as much as possible. Feel free to ask for more detail. However, FYI, I'm really terrible at conciseness and knowing which details are important/which aren't. If anyone has tips on this, especially quantitative/specific ones, I'd love to hear them.

Now, down to business. :)

Objective:

  • Trying to create a database to keep track of mods and custom content that I've downloaded for a game
  • Hoping to be able to share the project--not the data itself, since everyone who plays the game will have a different set of downloaded mods/CC, but the structure of the database and such, so that anyone who wants to (hopefully including non-coders) can have their own database of their content (to make it easier for them to know what they have, what might need updating/be broken as of the latest official game patch, etc.)
  • Basically, I'd love to have this function a bit like Calibre, except for mods/CC instead of ebooks, and without all the other fancy features Calibre has like ebook conversion, etc. (And also Calibre is, as far as I understand, its own entirely separate program, where mine would preferably be more like...like sharing a template for a database, kind of? Like, I'm envisioning sharing a basic "template"-type file, with things like forms/queries mostly built in but blank or sample data, and then also sharing a download link to LO or whatever program(s) necessary.)

Examples of data I might include:

  • Name/title/whatever of mod or CC

  • Creator(s)

  • Description

  • (Preferably) thumbnail/photo of item or what it does, if applicable

  • Date you last updated it

  • Download URL

  • Creator URL(s)

  • File location

  • Compressed file location (if applicable)

  • Game pack(s) necessary for use (if applicable)

  • Maybe custom tags, if possible and not too terribly difficult to implement

  • etc.

Criteria for choosing a database tool:

Absolutely necessary:

  • No money spent (I just don't have any RN, and I don't think other players would generally want to spend on something like this either)
  • Pretty darn sure that what I want is a relational database, since I'll probably need/want to include many-to-many relationships that will need to be resolved and stuff

Necessary if at all possible:

  • Would like to be able to use both GUI and SQL methods to create the database (this is what led me to LO in the first place--was looking for Microsoft Access alternatives because I have Access but wouldn't be able to easily share my finished product because the software costs)
  • Would like to be able to mostly do the creation and putting-together of the database myself (I've seen a couple of tool options that seem to be more for completely non-coders, and I'd rather not use that kind of thing)
  • Basically, I'm just trying to ...
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What exactly is a Mod/CC, specifically the CC part?

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-24 04:16:58 +0200 )edit

There is nothing wrong with your questions. Overall it is a lot to take in, considering the number of questions you have, but all are valid questions.

By the sound of your problem I get the feeling that you are a man with a purpose and a vision but lack a clue.

If you need to support more than one OS then you increase the number of support issues that will arise. If you use an office suite to implement your solution then each user must become competent at handling the office suite. If there are a lot of mods to enter, scanning them in is far less tedious. If scanning is to be done then code must be written to perform the scan.

You will need to understand the problem before you decide on a solution. From the sound of it you need some programming and database skills. Your ...(more)

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-24 04:40:42 +0200 )edit
1

From the content of the OQ it seems a mod is a modification and CC is custom content

robleyd gravatar imagerobleyd ( 2020-07-24 05:52:58 +0200 )edit

Hey, sorry I've not been around much. My mental health has taken a dive the past few days, and I haven't been up to much.

Yes, sorry about the jargon; forgot it even was jargon! @robleyd is right--modifications and custom content. (If it helps you understand, we're dealing with Sims 4. Changes to the game can range from clothing/objects created entirely by players, to things that are just recolored/retextured, to changes in code to make Sims do/not do a specific thing, to massive projects that overhaul huge amounts of game functioning. Any of these (some more than others, esp. any with code/XML) have a chance of breaking themselves, other game parts, or both next time an official patch is released, & some people have thousands of CC items/mods, so it's a lot of work to maintain your "library" but still have ...(more)

Amy de l'ABC gravatar imageAmy de l'ABC ( 2020-07-24 08:48:28 +0200 )edit

@Amy de l'ABC, anyone taking on this sort of project is bound to run into mental issues, at some stage... Thank you for explaining what CC stands for. I still stand by my previous statement that each developer will need to become proficient at using Base, if they are to use it as a tool to solve this problem of tracking mods and CC. If you believe Base offers a shortcut to developing such a software then be warned, it is not a shortcut, it is just another tool that can get the job done. The question to ask yourself is "is it the right tool for the job?". I would argue that it is not. I would also strongly suggest you get a dialog going on IRC as this post is getting very lengthy.

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-24 16:01:58 +0200 )edit

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answered 2020-07-22 17:25:26 +0200

lazarus477 gravatar image

updated 2020-07-24 04:14:44 +0200

I shall try to summon up your questions, fill in the gaps and be as concise and clear as possible.

You are about to open up a new can of worms so be prepared...

Short answer: No, LO Base is not the right tool to solve your problem. Having said that, it might be of some use to you for analyzing and or presenting your data, think queries and spread sheets combined. Used in such a way you would be tying it into your actual solution which then is most likely based off of an external remote database solution.

You should aim for a Web based application or solution, should you need to share data among each other. I would argue that office suites are intended for use inside of a tightly controlled environment. By control I mean that each user is on the same OS, locale and version of the office suite. Also the applications of an office suite are intended to be used or operated by people who are competent in how to interact with each application. Managing a document in any office suite is like handling a sharp tool, do something wrong and an accident can occur. For the user an accident typically means data loss, or loss of content. A LO Base application can be streamlined and locked down for end users to interact with in a safe way but doing so is not very intuitively achievable simply because this is not how an office suite is intended to be used. This is what separates an office suite from a free standing application designed to solve a specific task and that task only. In contrast to office documents in general, a specialized application typically locks the end user out from modifying the function in a way which would render the application unusable or cause data loss. Office applications allow modification to the document by default.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is supposed to be the universal language that all databases make use of for interaction. Each database solutions typically has it's own dialect of this language but they are all roughly alike but not 100% compatible. Truth be told, transitioning from one dialect to another when switching systems is not fun.

Before we get to Technical I shall first point out some practical issues which you will be facing. In order to share data among your co-workers you will need a centralized database. This requires a remote database management solution such as FirebirdDB, MariaDB, MySQL, Postgres, or similar. LO Base, like most software, can run into version compatibility issues. If you and your co-workers are on different versions or releases of LO Base, use different locale settings and or use different operating systems, you will sooner or later run into issues. You could create a data entry GUI that works one day only to find that for some users it is no longer functioning after they updated. This is not an uncommon problem ... (more)

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Wow! I give a standing ovation! Excellent text, in simple words and about the most important. Add at the end a few links to popular literature (for example, Casanova) and this text can be placed unchanged in the Wiki, and referenced in subsequent replies. Please accept my thanks, @lazarus477

JohnSUN gravatar imageJohnSUN ( 2020-07-22 20:52:44 +0200 )edit
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I am glad it hit home. I shall try to add some references. For anyone with such questions in their mind a few referrals to good docs is very helpful. The problem with the documentation is that no one piece of documentation will tie the pieces together in the way that I have in this text, there is no good overview. My text is based on years of studying each technologies and software's docs and after years of hands on experience. This is why I can present this larger picture. What is really needed is some new documentation that explains these things as a whole. I am considering putting up such a work, we shall see.

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-22 23:00:58 +0200 )edit
2

Wow! Thanks for that reply; definitely helps clear some things up (and brings up at least one problem I hadn't thought of, haha). Am I supposed to reply to what you said/ask follow-up questions in a comment on your answer, or is there some other way I'm meant to do that?

Amy de l'ABC gravatar imageAmy de l'ABC ( 2020-07-22 23:47:37 +0200 )edit

I see updates made to this page and I also have chosen to follow your posts. So if you have questions which go off in a different direction then I will see them, head there and if possible offer insight. As an alternative you might prefer live chat on IRC, irc.freenode.net, the channel is #libreoffice. I go by the same user name there.

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-23 00:13:25 +0200 )edit
2

@lazarus477,

Just a note. HSQLDB as a server (backend) is well supported. Was one of the first servers I installed when first starting with LibreOffice Base a few years back. See -> HyperSQL Database Engine (HSQLDB)

Ratslinger gravatar imageRatslinger ( 2020-07-23 06:49:26 +0200 )edit

@Ratslinger. I stand corrected. As he points out, HyperSQL apparently does support being run as a stand alone remote database.

Deployment options

  • Embedded (into Java applications) and Client-Server operating modes Three client server protocols: HSQL, HTTP and HSQL-BER - can run as an HTTP web server - all with SSL option Can be used in applets, read-only media (CD), inside jars, webstart and embedded applications Multiple databases per JVM ODBC support

Reference: Features at hsqldb.org

I removed my previous statement from the answer so as not to slander HSQL.

lazarus477 gravatar imagelazarus477 ( 2020-07-23 16:34:15 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2020-07-22 01:49:52 +0200

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Last updated: Jul 24