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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Our church is looking for a database that uses a web server to store the data, much like Google Calendar. Two specific requirements include being able to limit what reports some people can access and what data some people can edit. We would like a password option that would allow church members to view a report t as an on-line directory. Are the requirements I stated clear? Recommendations are very much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Roughly speaking, I think you have three options:

    1. Dedicated online database development platform.

      Products like Intuit QuickBase (PCMag.com review) are designed for ease of use, and provide security features that meet some or all of your requirements: "With QuickBase, the accessibility of your data is entirely in your hands. By customizing user roles and permissions, you can control how your team works with your data, specifying who can view what information, who can make changes, who can create reports and more."

      However, the cost of having a large number of occasional users with unique passwords may make it unaffordable; perhaps they can share a single read-only password? I think when I've been invited to view a table in QuickBase I used a shared "role" login rather than getting my own personal login.

      Some of my colleagues used TrackVia to build a small team database solution a couple years ago. They also used a professional developer to speed the process. Not sure whether it is still in use.
    2. Online application suiting your needs.

      If your needs can be (mostly) filled by an existing online application, such as a CRM or accounting solution, then you can save a lot of time and money on software development. There may even be one specifically for your line of business. The trick is finding the right blend of features and deciding what you can afford to compromise.
    3. Custom development.

      There is no limit to what you can do with cheap or free tools on an inexpensive web host, but the more you take on, the greater the risk of failure, not to mention cost overruns. You might wait on this option until you outgrow the other two.

  3. #3
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    I think you need to work out what you want the software to record and display before you go any further. This will determine whether you can use an existing on-line app or will need to create your own.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Saw your post re need for a simple database for your church work. Tough to answer without knowing what your needs are (functions) but I was assigned to set up a database by our church recently re tracking resource people in the community. Like you, we needed differential and selective access by different users. After a lot of looking I found there is not much out there re simple cloud based databases:

    QuickBase - Too expensive! Which is too bad as it used to be free.
    online spreadsheets (Google Docs/apps) - Ok for calculations and lists but not a 'real' database.
    Info Dome - This is the one we chose: free (at a basic but adequate for our needs level); great feature set including granular provision of access to data.

    Good luck!

    Wandal Winn
    Anchorage, Alaska

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R Hall View Post
    Our church is looking for a database that uses a web server to store the data, much like Google Calendar. Two specific requirements include being able to limit what reports some people can access and what data some people can edit. We would like a password option that would allow church members to view a report t as an on-line directory. Are the requirements I stated clear? Recommendations are very much appreciated!
    None of the following is necessarily simple, but here are my thoughts. It might help decide where to focus further investigation.

    The database: MySQL. It's a database. It's free. It's nearly ubiquitous. Combined with PHP (also free & nearly ubiquitous) the possibilities are endless.

    That's the foundation, by itself would take much expertise to implement.

    In comes CMS (content management systems) such as WordPress, Joomla! & Drupal. These run on MySQL/PHP and are sophisticated... well, systems, for running an entire dynamic website. They are also free. They provide built in ability to have multiple user accounts / permissions. They are modular, in that they all have additional components for various needs. Like for a calendar, or a comment system, or a shopping cart etc. Where with just mysql/php someone could create what you need from scratch, with these CMS it's likely that what you need has already been written.

    Anyway, setting up a CMS is also not what I'd call trivial but it's far faster than coding from scratch, and can be an easy for the end users once it's created.

    Hope it's helpful

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