Sunday, August 24, 2008

A simple database on the iPhone / iPod touch

I have been looking for a simple application to have a few databases that I can carry around on my iPod. There are quite a few on the other mobile platforms, mainly Windows Mobile and Palm. I was surprised at first that I couldn't find anything... but now I have.

First, the ones I didn't go for, and my reasons why. Remember that essentially what I am looking for a simple app to carry information that I have on my computer.

  • FMTouch. This is essentially FileMaker Pro in your Pocket. It looks really good, and it seems that data replication is quite simple. This is what I was looking for, but the price is a bit steep. Specially since I don't have my data in FM, so I would have to get a licence for that as well. It sells for €54.99 on the Irish iTunes store! This is really a commercial offering and not for me. Worth a look!

  • iDB Datamaster. It comes in 2 flavours, Lite and Pro. Interestingly, the two versions use a different backend strategy for their databases. The lite version, which sells for €3.99, has a limited number of records that it can hold, and they have to be distributed evenly across multiple database (odd!). Pro goes for €10.49. The big issue for me here is that you don't have control over the structure of your database, you have to use their templates, and importing external data seems like a real chore. I gave this a miss as well.

So I went for CSV Touch. A very simple application that lets you load CSV (comma separated values) files directly from a web server or via ftp, and then you can display them in a list and do searches and sorts. It is very lightweight and it does exactly what I need. Brilliant.

There are a couple of neat features, like the fact that you can have links within the fields of your list and can move the columns around or sort using different columns or choose different code sets.

And the best part, it is only €1.59!

What I have now, is a number of exports from my Derby databases, that I can publish through the built in Apache server on my Mac that I can load on my iPod to carry around for reference.

The only thing I need now is a front end to run SQL queries against the sqlite database engine that comes with th OS.

1 comment:

C. said...

I have just posted a new entry with a couple more views on this topic