2. WORD PROCESSING
4. SPREADSHEET, PRESENTATION
6. FILEMAKER PRO
The most problematic area of conversion from AppleWorks is databases.
The database module in AppleWorks is far more powerful than it looks at
first sight, allowing the full range of field types - text, numbers,
dates, calculation and so on - and multiple highly customisable layouts
using a graphic interface. It's possible to run large and complex
databases easily: its main restriction is that it is a flat-file, not
relational, database, which may limit it for business users.
The bad news is that nothing
will open an AppleWorks database. In order to transfer its contents you
have to save it as ASCII text (or select all and copy your records and
paste into a plain text document, which comes to the same thing).
Obviously in the process all layouts, text formatting and calculations
will be lost. There is no workaround for this: you can transfer data
but you will have to build the database itself again from scratch.
There is really only one choice as a replacement: FileMaker
($299 basic), which
is pretty well the industry standard; though another possibility is 4D
which is highly powerful and complex ($369 basic, rising rapidly for
advanced versions) - I've not looked at it in detail but it would seem
to present a very steep learning curve including SQL. There are some
which are difficult to understand and use: and the free Office programs
and its close relation NeoOffice
both have much the same
database module, which is again difficult to use and does not offer
anything like the same flexibility with layouts/reports. 'Panorama Sheets' from Provue
is a simple version of their full 'Panorama' database ($39.95 and $299
respectively): the 'Sheets' version does not generate reports, working
only in List view, though it will print Avery Labels. The version from
their website will run on Tiger upwards. As to the full version, though
it's powerful, FileMaker Pro is the same price and is a better bet.
FileMaker (who are an
Apple subsidiary company originally called
Claris, and were the original creators of ClarisWorks/AppleWorks) make
a baby brother of FileMaker called Bento
(now Bento 4) (picture,
their website they used to say 'Looking for an AppleWorks replacement? You’ve
found it' and 'Add power and functionality to Appleworks with Bento',
which was somewhat misleading. Bento has nothing approaching the power
of the AppleWorks database module, and follows the annoying iWeb trick
of keeping all its data in one file buried in the user Library. If you
need a simple flat-file database to catalogue your CD collection, for
example, and you are happy with the limitations of its display, then
it's fine - it's inexpensive, has a range of pretty templates, and has
the useful trick of integrating with the data from iCal and Address
Book: and version 4 has a number of improvements. Many people, whose needs are not particularly complex, find it
ideal. Note that both Bento and the latest version of Filemaker Pro
(v12) require Snow Leopard or later.
Bento will not import AppleWorks databases: again, you have to save as
ASCII text and import, rebuilding the database layout from scratch. The
process is described here
For more serious users, FileMaker Pro is the most obvious option. Its main
disadvantage is that it is expensive; and being designed for business
use it is very complex and presents a steep learning curve. However,
being widely used in business (and available for Windows as well as
Mac) there is no likelihood of it following AppleWorks into the
'end-of-life' abyss. It offer many more facilities for those who want
them, including web usage, very high configurability, accounts with
multiple users, relational databases using multiple tables.
The next page
the process of converting to FileMaker Pro.