Wednesday, February 15, 2012

REVIEW: iDatabase 2.3

Price: $9.99
Rating: • • • •
Url: http://www.apimac.com/mac/idatabase/

As a technologist, I love having my information efficiently organized.  I rely heavily on Address Book and iCal as well as iTunes and iPhoto.  I use Google products to keep my data appropriately synced across all of my devices.  However, sometimes there's isn't a native app that fits my data just right.  Maybe there's an third-party app for that, but more times than not it offers way too many features and costs more than I'd care to spend.  This is why I really enjoyed using iDatabase from Apimac.  iDatabase can be purchased for $9.99 and is a great app if you want straight-forward, no nonsense database management.

When you first open iDatabase, you're presented with three options, Open, Use and Define.  This falls in line with the ease of use that iDatabase was designed around.  Additionally, you can import a CSV file into iDatabase so you can incorporate exports from other database applications.  This is a really great feature on such an inexpensive app because it allows you to export complex data structures and import them into an app that allows anyone to use that data.  If you choose to create a new database, you are presented with a number of pre-built templates.  This is great for those users who need that helping hand when it comes to getting started.  For those users who like to jump right in, you can avoid the templates and just start fresh.  I chose to use the Customers template.  I would have preferred to see a keyboard shortcut to create a new database but this is a small issue.

When you have a database file created, it's now time to enter some data.  I love how iDatabase includes some introductory text when there are no entries available.  This is a perfect feature for those users who find themselves wondering, "What do I do now?"  Thankfully, I can use COMMAND-N to create a new entry and start typing in data.  You can enter data in a list-like view or in a detailed view, depending upon your preference.  iDatabase creates your entries simply, easily and efficiently.  You can also change the colors of your database cards or even drag in a picture to really customize your experience.  For you Portal fans, yes, that is our good buddy Cave Johnson up there (had to represent my gamer roots).

If that's not enough, iDatabase gives you the opportunity to edit the template you've chosen and change the way your data is presented.  True to iDatabase's methodology, in the lower-left corner is basic instructions for those who need a helping hand.  You have are presented with a list of pre-defined available fields from which to choose.  These fields should give most users all the options they need, though I would have preferred to see a currency field or currency option.  iDatabase gives you the opportunity to re-order and rename the field labels.  When you're all done, iDatabase gives you the option to sync with the iPhone version of the app.

The bottom line is this: I like iDatabase.  It's lean, efficient and gets you up and running quickly.  It gives basic users the tools they need to start compiling data in a nice, customized format.  You can import CSV files from other database exports and you can sync your iDatabase file with the iPhone app to use your data on the go.  The sync ability is huge because it allows users to create a quasi-custom app with their own personalized data.  There are some features that I would have liked to see such as more keyboard shortcuts for file manipulation, more available field types and possibly some themes to add some fun to the app (don't we all want a wood theme when adding contacts?), but for $9.99 there's a lot packed into this app that is worth exploring.  I would definitely recommend to basic users but moderate to advanced users might find some of the missing features a concern.

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