When it comes to database applications for OSX, there’s not much choice. Microsoft don’t make a Mac version of Access and Bento is no longer being actively developed. There’s Libre Office which is an open source application and at the other end of the scale, FileMaker Pro, which I’d describe as an "industrial grade database" with a price-tag to match.
This week, prompted by a query received via my blog, I decided to try out Tap Forms
Tap Forms is aimed at consumers rather than large corporations but would also suit small businesses.
It costs about £20 / $30 from the Mac App Store. There’s also a version for iPad and iPhone. Each of these apps is sold separately for £5.99 / $8.99 each. Tap Forms uses iCloud to sync your data across devices.
But back to Tap Forms for OSX. I downloaded the trial (they call it a demo version) from the Tap Forms website. The demo version is fully-functional but only allows you to add a few records to each database.
The demo version also comes with a handful of sample database applications (which in Tap Forms are known as Forms). The paid-for version comes with over 20 Forms including Software Licences, Bank Accounts, Daily Journal and more. These Forms can either be used "as is" or modified to suit your needs.
Tap Forms can import data from CSV files and because I didn’t want to spend time populating my Form with dummy data, this was my starting point. I had a CSV file that contained some sample data. Once I’d imported the data, I was able to add, edit and delete records with ease. I was also able to switch to the Form design to add new fields and change field definitions.
In most database applications, extracting information from your data is known as querying or reporting. The Tap Forms equivalent is searching. Searching is powerful with the ability to save your search and run it again in the future.
The email that I received (that I mentioned at the beginning of this article) was actually asking about a database that could be used to mailmerge with Microsoft Word. Although Word can’t connect directly to Tap Forms, data can be exported from Tap Forms to a CSV file, which can then be used as the source for a mailmerge in Word.
In summary, if you’re looking for a cost-effective database solution for personal or small business use, I recommend that you try Tap Forms.