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Mac User Needs Help from Mac Users

Elton Hughes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 19, 2003
Posts: 72
Hello Fellow Mac Users,
Here is my problem. A few years ago, I developed a FileMaker Pro database that would be used by three people at the non-profit agency I work for. This database is a contact database. It stores company names, contact names, company types, as well as the usual stuff like address and phone numbers. It was to be used by those three sporadically over the course of the day. It was rare to have two people using it at once.
Well, success breeds headaches.
Other people saw the database and wanted acces to it as well. Then they wanted additional fields and layouts. Management saw it and wanted statistical reports. My fun little project has now grown and is now longer fun. It is too slow and crashes occasionally.
I know that the users want something that is a bit more robust. I see an opportunity to learn something new.
I am new to Java programming, but have several years experience with Perl and SQL.
My agency is 95%+ Mac. Mostly G3's with 256 megs of RAM and running MacOS 9.2.2. All have Internet Exploder. I have no budget, except for what time I can put into this project.
So my plan is to use my G4 running MacOS 10.2.6 and MySQL and Tomcat. Any comments on things so far?
p.s. If you see a flaw in my plan, I would be curious as to what you would do in my place.
p.p.s. If Servlets are a good way to go, what would be a good book on the subject?
[ September 06, 2003: Message edited by: Elton Hughes ]
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 63837

Hi Elton, welcome to the Ranch.
I think your approach is good since the servlet/JSP technology will scale nicely and not run into the scalability problems you have already encountered. Personally, I would choose PostgreSQL over MySQL (reasons: transaction support and result set paging), but MySQL is a fine database too.
Be sure to visit the JSP and Servlet forums on this site for tips and suggestions, and I highly recommend getting familiar with the 'Model 2' web application pattern right from the start.
Have fun, and we'll see you in the JSP forum if you have any questions!

[Asking smart questions] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Noah Sager

Joined: Aug 27, 2003
Posts: 11
I would also recommend taking a look into 4D. It scales much better than FileMaker. FM is really only good for small projects. But on small projects, FM is really nice.
Rob Ross

Joined: Jan 07, 2002
Posts: 2205
4D is a nice database app, but it has a bit of a learning curve and is expensive for someone with no budget
Since you're going to have a learning curve no matter what you do, you might as well do the "standard" thing - you'll get a lot more help with a JSP app than with a 4D app.
I'd say use Tomcat with mySql, and use a taglib framework like Apache struts (also OpenSource and free); this will give you a solid framework to build a good application that will be scalable as your needs grow. It's still going to be a learning curve on your part to figure out all the individual parts and make them work together, but the investment of your time will pay off in the long run.

SCJP 1.4
Noah Sager

Joined: Aug 27, 2003
Posts: 11
Listen to Rob. He knows what he's talking about.
Elton Hughes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 19, 2003
Posts: 72
That is my current plan. I have Tomcat loaded and working on my Mac. MySQL is working as well. I have a book on order from Amazon that was highly regarded by the reviewers here at JavaRanch and on the Amazon site.
The one thing I had not thought about, because I am still starting out, is Struts. I am assuming that Struts works fine on MacOS 10.2.6 Macs. Is that correct?
I agree. Here's the link:
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