September 2010

iDatabase is a shareware database offered by Apimac Intuitive Software.  Versions are available both for your Mac and for your iPhone. The price is normally $29, but if you’re interested you may want to check current pricing on the Internet.

System Requirements of iDatabase for Mac:

Any MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, PowerMac, iBook and PowerBook, running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or newer.

This database offers an easy-to-comprehend organizational structure for your needs that doesn’t involve a great deal of customization or computing power.

When you open the application, you are presented with three buttons across the top left of the window. They are Open, Use, and Define.

Open gives you the opportunity to open a database you have previously created, or to create a new database.

The company has made creating a database an easy experience. There are sixteen database templates available for the user, The following templates are included: Accounts; Classes; Computers; Contacts; Customers; Events; Exercise Log; Expenses; Inventory; Movie Catalog; Membership List; Mobile Phones; Notes; Projects; Recipes; To Do; and Vehicle Maintenance and None (to create your own database).

Accessing these different databases is easy – once you know how to do so. Selecting File>New or Clicking on the Plus sign at the lower left of the Open column gives you access to the customized templates.

Use is just what it says. You may start entering data immediately once you have selected or created your own database. If you want to customize your database, move to the Define button on the right of the Use button. There you may refine your database, moving fields vertically, adding fields, deleting fields, naming fields and customizing your fields to meet your needs. A simple numeric field is also included – Quantity times Cost, for example.

One very nice touch is the addition of an image field. It’s great to have a default image field, but there are some minor problems. First, you cannot simply drag a photo from iPhoto – it must be exported from iPhoto and then imported into iDatabase. Secondly, if you add another image field, it cannot be moved around – say next to a prior image, it can only be placed under or over another field. Images in an image field may be opened (in Preview), changed or deleted just by clicking and holding on that field.

Another minor quibble is that the fields cannot be made smaller horizontally. However, once in use, a field will automatically expand as is needed.

Records you have created are shown alphabetically in a column to the left of the records window. The order of the records can only be changed by renaming them.

If you want delete a record, simply press the Delete key while you are viewing it.

Records may be protected from changes or deletions by requiring a password. A small check box in the lower right provides the opportunity to protect that record. (You simply enter a password – twice – to protect that record). To remove the password, click on the small box again, enter the password and the protection is removed.

iDatabase imports and exports CSV files, that is data files that have the pieces of information separated by commas.

iDatabase can synchronize between your iPhone and your Mac if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network that supports Bonjour.

Exporting a database as a csv file – i.e. as a comma delineated file was only partially successful. The file did open automatically into Excel, but the records only showed the name field and a date field (Dec. 31, 1969) – where did that come from?

iDatabase did crash on me once, but I was able to open it again with no loss of data. I did send a report as was requested.

To analyze the program more fully, I created a database for an embroidery business I am creating. I did find it easy to use, although it is limited by some of items noted above. Attempting to import the iDatabase into another database such as Bento, FileMaker Pro, Excel, or Numbers was not very successful. In particular, the photos did not successfully transfer. However, I do like the way iDatabase works. It is simple, without a lot of the complexity of the more expensive databases.

If you don’t need a complex database, iDatabase may be just what you need.

Jeannine Englehart