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Jay Lozier wrote:
On 10/02/2012 07:19 PM, Girvin R. Herr wrote:


Most people I have talked to about databases find them less intuitive
than other typical office and general software.

Yes, I can agree to that. Working with databases is not plug-n-play. It doesn't help when there are strangenesses in SQL that I don't understand the reason why they are there. For example, a while back I ran into a Join problem with at least MySQL joins that if any joined field of a record is null, the join will fail and that record, even though the other fields are valid, will not be in the result set. No warnings or errors are given - it is just missing. That causes missing data, which IMHO is a bad thing. As I said, I am not an SQL expert and maybe there is a way around that action, but I could not find a way by trial and error. I had to go back into all of my records and make sure I had a default value in all the fields that were part of any join. It is my understanding that an expanded version of the Base manual is coming out soon. That will be a help too. With the exception of the Report Builder, Base works quite well as far as I use it, but the documentation is sparse and there is a lot of trial and error involved to get what I want. I am looking forward to the new version.

Of course, it is not within the scope of a Base manual to teach SQL, but since Base relies heavily on SQL and some Base functions require some SQL writing, some simple examples of how to use those Base features would be appreciated by all users. There are some examples in the manuals already, but it could use some expansion. Otherwise, the Base user base will continue to be minimal. Users need help to understand the concepts and make Base usable for them and their projects. Otherwise, they will continue to use Calc. I am sure the frustration level can be high for newbies and many would give up on Base, even though it would be the correct tool for them to use. I might have done so too, if it were not that I have a lot invested in my databases and I am now "locked in" to maintaining them.

Another good idea might be to add to the manual a "Further Reference" list of recommended books to read for more information. I would start a MySQL list with the "MySQL Reference Manual", which comes with most MySQL packages and is on the MySQL website and is available in paper from O'Reilly Community Press. That should be mandatory reading for all new MySQL users. Also, I have found the "Teach Yourself SQL in 24 Hours" book by Ryan Stephens and Ron Plew of value. (I have no affiliation with either of these authors or publishers.)

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