Discussion:
Choosing an office suite
(too old to reply)
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-07 10:15:41 UTC
Permalink
I am trying to decide which office suite to choose from. The only
exposure I have had is Microsoft's, but now I have the choice between
OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. I have had lengthy discussions with
great individuals from the community regarding writing an education
software having a database component as its main focus. Briefly, as a
novice to programming (despite having read a book on Ruby, which
offered the "sky", but ended-up confusing reality to that of
programmer's
dream), I have decided, based on various discussions with the community,
to familiarize myself with: a) HTTP, b) CSS, c) vim, d)already created
office suites by the community,and then e) Rails or JRails - as a way of
deploying such software.

I know that there are many surprises and my writing shows an innocence,
which will eventually receive a "reality check". But in the meantime,
based on my line of thinking, can anyone advice me on 1) the difference
between the suites mentioned above and 2) my plan of action in deploying
such product.

Thank you Open Source community for your past and continued help.

Hilary
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Hassan Schroeder
2011-02-07 15:55:10 UTC
Permalink
...., I have decided, based on various discussions with the community,
to familiarize myself with: a) HTTP, b) CSS, c) vim, d)already created
office suites by the community,and then e) Rails or JRails - as a way of
deploying such software.
Perhaps you can explain what you intend to do with this "office suite"?
It certainly has no relationship whatsoever to deploying a Rails app.
--
Hassan Schroeder ------------------------ ***@gmail.com
twitter: @hassan
Mike Stephens
2011-02-07 17:12:34 UTC
Permalink
Hi Hilary

If you are starting from square one, I would honestly recommend you look
at Mendix (see http://www.mendix.com/ ).

You don't need to code anything. You draw 'models'. Draw your database
as an entity-relationship diagram and you have a working database
(choose Oracle, MySQl etc) with professional CSS update etc screens -
much more advanced than Rails. Drag and drop your controls. Your
micro-logic you do with graphics.

It's free to develop but then you would incur costs to deploy - but
against that you don't have to cross the even bigger divide ie setting
up and configuring your infrastructure. You just get them to host it
probably at the press of a button. I don't know what the cost per
transaction would be. I'll try and get an idea from a contact I have in
the UK, if you're at all interested.

Office packages are wonderfully powerful but complex in their own way
and not easy to deploy as web apps.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Phillip Gawlowski
2011-02-07 18:38:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
I know that there are many surprises and my writing shows an innocence,
which will eventually receive a "reality check". But in the meantime,
based on my line of thinking, can anyone advice me on 1) the difference
between the suites mentioned above and 2) my plan of action in deploying
such product.
There is, for now, little difference between OpenOffice and
LibreOffice, seeing as LibreOffice forked only recently off of
Oracle's code base.

Considering, however, that pretty much all of the former OpenOffice
developers went over to LibreOffice, I'd stick with that. Especially
since Oracle hasn't shown so far to be trustworthy (3 OSS projects
have "split" from Oracle already: MySQL -> MariaDB, Hudson CI ->
Jenkins CI, OpenOffice -> LibreOffice; and Oracle isn't one to honor
promises, either made by their acquisitions (OpenSolaris isn't Free
anymore), nor promises they made themselves (see the Java Community
Process hubub)).

2) You can't really use Rails to deploy software to a client. It would
be possible, but it'd require providing some sort of client software,
and at that point you can use something simpler than use a web
framework (like password protected directories accessed via a GUI that
enables easy installation; similar to MS's Web Platform Installer, or
Ubuntu's Aptitude).


The question is: What is it you want to achieve?
--
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-08 01:55:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Gawlowski
Post by Hilary Bailey
I know that there are many surprises and my writing shows an innocence,
which will eventually receive a "reality check". But in the meantime,
based on my line of thinking, can anyone advice me on 1) the difference
between the suites mentioned above and 2) my plan of action in deploying
such product.
There is, for now, little difference between OpenOffice and
LibreOffice, seeing as LibreOffice forked only recently off of
Oracle's code base.
Considering, however, that pretty much all of the former OpenOffice
developers went over to LibreOffice, I'd stick with that. Especially
since Oracle hasn't shown so far to be trustworthy (3 OSS projects
have "split" from Oracle already: MySQL -> MariaDB, Hudson CI ->
Jenkins CI, OpenOffice -> LibreOffice; and Oracle isn't one to honor
promises, either made by their acquisitions (OpenSolaris isn't Free
anymore), nor promises they made themselves (see the Java Community
Process hubub)).
2) You can't really use Rails to deploy software to a client. It would
be possible, but it'd require providing some sort of client software,
and at that point you can use something simpler than use a web
framework (like password protected directories accessed via a GUI that
enables easy installation; similar to MS's Web Platform Installer, or
Ubuntu's Aptitude).
The question is: What is it you want to achieve?
--
Phillip Gawlowski
Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Hi Phillip,
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district. The closest software that exhibits
some semblance is that of Microsoft Access. Where, as I understand it,
the input entry of a single data can be housed and then derived, through
a set of queries, then further analyzed through/by Microsoft Solver
software.

The difference with my proposal would be that based on selected
indicators [which will be dynamically influenced by changed event(s) and
policy(ies], which would be able to measure success. I have been exposed
to a statistical software named SPSS and having worked as an economist,
has influenced my outlook on creating an approach/database/software
which would indicate in real time, measured results.

As you can tell, there is an element of nervousness regarding saying
too much. But on the other hand, if not much is said, not much help can
be given. So it's a "catch 24", where since the last 20 years I have
been improving on a systems that would be able to measure defined
academic output, vis-a-vis, financial constraints etc..

Mike Stephens recommended Mendix as a possible solution to my woes. Do
you know of such arena?

Therefore, I figured that, doing it all by myself may be the best
solution. However, some of my concerns are: "Why reinvent the wheel?',
How can I create a sustainable system that does not compromise quality?,
What curriculum structure should I follow that will meet my needs
without, straying from my goals?

Therefore, this is my dilemma, which seems to be going in circles. Any
suggestions.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Sebastián Rotta Seletti
2011-02-08 02:15:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
Post by Phillip Gawlowski
Post by Hilary Bailey
I know that there are many surprises and my writing shows an innocence,
which will eventually receive a "reality check". But in the meantime,
based on my line of thinking, can anyone advice me on 1) the difference
between the suites mentioned above and 2) my plan of action in deploying
such product.
There is, for now, little difference between OpenOffice and
LibreOffice, seeing as LibreOffice forked only recently off of
Oracle's code base.
Considering, however, that pretty much all of the former OpenOffice
developers went over to LibreOffice, I'd stick with that. Especially
since Oracle hasn't shown so far to be trustworthy (3 OSS projects
have "split" from Oracle already: MySQL -> MariaDB, Hudson CI ->
Jenkins CI, OpenOffice -> LibreOffice; and Oracle isn't one to honor
promises, either made by their acquisitions (OpenSolaris isn't Free
anymore), nor promises they made themselves (see the Java Community
Process hubub)).
2) You can't really use Rails to deploy software to a client. It would
be possible, but it'd require providing some sort of client software,
and at that point you can use something simpler than use a web
framework (like password protected directories accessed via a GUI that
enables easy installation; similar to MS's Web Platform Installer, or
Ubuntu's Aptitude).
The question is: What is it you want to achieve?
--
Phillip Gawlowski
Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Hi Phillip,
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district. The closest software that exhibits
some semblance is that of Microsoft Access. Where, as I understand it,
the input entry of a single data can be housed and then derived, through
a set of queries, then further analyzed through/by Microsoft Solver
software.
The difference with my proposal would be that based on selected
indicators [which will be dynamically influenced by changed event(s) and
policy(ies], which would be able to measure success. I have been exposed
to a statistical software named SPSS
Hi Hilary:
Semi-off topic but.... Exists PSPP (free, libre) for users of proprietary
program SPSS

Take a look:

http://www.gnu.org/software/pspp/


and having worked as an economist,
Post by Hilary Bailey
has influenced my outlook on creating an approach/database/software
which would indicate in real time, measured results.
As you can tell, there is an element of nervousness regarding saying
Post by Hilary Bailey
too much. But on the other hand, if not much is said, not much help can
be given. So it's a "catch 24", where since the last 20 years I have
been improving on a systems that would be able to measure defined
academic output, vis-a-vis, financial constraints etc..
Mike Stephens recommended Mendix as a possible solution to my woes. Do
you know of such arena?
Therefore, I figured that, doing it all by myself may be the best
solution. However, some of my concerns are: "Why reinvent the wheel?',
How can I create a sustainable system that does not compromise quality?,
What curriculum structure should I follow that will meet my needs
without, straying from my goals?
Therefore, this is my dilemma, which seems to be going in circles. Any
suggestions.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
--
==============================
SEBASTIAN ROTTA SELETTI
***@gmail.com
MSN:***@hotmail.com
==============================
Phillip Gawlowski
2011-02-08 06:12:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
Hi Phillip,
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district. The closest software that exhibits
some semblance is that of Microsoft Access. Where, as I understand it,
the input entry of a single data can be housed and then derived, through
a set of queries, then further analyzed  through/by Microsoft Solver
software.
That's a feature all relational databases share: You store data, query
the data, and do something with the results.

However, you don't *need* Access (which is an expensive toy to deploy
software on for a school) for that, but a plain' ol' database.

Investigate SQLite (excellent for "embedded" databases, since it's
light-weight and can be used from pretty much every programming
language, and is Public Domain) if you want to write software that
ends up on a PC, or whatever is popular on the web: MySQL/MariaDB or
PostgreSQL.
Post by Hilary Bailey
The difference with my proposal would be that based on selected
indicators [which will be dynamically influenced by changed event(s) and
policy(ies], which would be able to measure success. I have been exposed
to a statistical software named SPSS and having worked as an economist,
has influenced my outlook on creating an approach/database/software
which would indicate in real time, measured results.
Sounds like a standard use-case for OLAP:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_analytical_processing
Post by Hilary Bailey
Mike Stephens recommended Mendix as a possible solution to my woes. Do
you know of such arena?
I don't trust tools that claim to write software for you. ;)

Mind, a visual tool can be very helpful (I like to easily visualize
SQL databases and their key relations, for example), but I'm quite
sure that Mendix itself won't help you in your case: There's no
business process per se in what you want to roll out, and all those
"UML to Software" tools have fallen flat, requiring manual
"optimization".
Post by Hilary Bailey
Therefore, I figured that, doing it all by myself may be the best
solution.  However, some of my concerns are: "Why reinvent the wheel?',
How can I create a sustainable system that does not compromise quality?,
What curriculum structure should I follow that will meet my needs
without, straying from my goals?
Therefore, this is my dilemma, which seems to be going in circles. Any
suggestions.
Yes. Incorporate a business before too long, and start looking for a
technical co-founder now. What you want to do isn't impossible for a
single person. Said person needs a bit of experience in a lot of
technologies. While you can grab database engines, libraries, etc. off
the shelf, you have to check licensing (Anything GPL licensed will
*force* you to publish your own source code, for example, while the
LGPL doesn't have this problem), learn and deal with a lot of
technologies (databases, client / server computing or web programming,
OLAP, reporting, data entry), which is... well, just a tad much to get
started with a business of any sort.

And you have a good litmus test for a technical person: Can they and
do they want to teach you to code. :)

Mind, you should find a technical person you can, push comes to shove,
bind with an NDA either way, simply to buy expertise in rather tough
areas that you shouldn't deal with as a beginner, like application
security (doubly so if you want to launch a website!).
--
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Peter Hickman
2011-02-08 09:52:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Gawlowski
technologies. While you can grab database engines, libraries, etc. off
the shelf, you have to check licensing (Anything GPL licensed will
*force* you to publish your own source code, for example, while the
LGPL doesn't have this problem), learn and deal with a lot of
Ok you are clearly channeling Steve Balmer here. Stop with the bullshit.

The only requirement to redistribute your source is when you modify
the source and then distribute the resulting product.

If you use GPLd code (say to parse XML or access a database) as part
of your product then you have no requirement under the GPL to
redistribute the your source code unless YOU HAVE MODIFIED THE GPLd
CODE. And only then you only have to release the source of the
modified code and not the whole product.

It is in fact very rare for anyone to need to redistribute the source
code of GPLd code. It usually only happens when you take a GPLd
product and then modify it and release that as your own product.

If your product is an online service then you are not distributing the
product and there is no requirement to release your source code.

A more pertinent issue is escrow, customers may want your code placed
in escrow to ensure that should you go under they can continue to use
and develop the product that they depend on.

See a lawyer about that.
Everett L Williams II
2011-02-08 12:37:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Hickman
Post by Phillip Gawlowski
technologies. While you can grab database engines, libraries, etc. off
the shelf, you have to check licensing (Anything GPL licensed will
*force* you to publish your own source code, for example, while the
LGPL doesn't have this problem), learn and deal with a lot of
Ok you are clearly channeling Steve Balmer here. Stop with the bullshit.
A more pertinent issue is escrow, customers may want your code placed
in escrow to ensure that should you go under they can continue to use
and develop the product that they depend on.
See a lawyer about that
Peter,

What you have said about GPL is largely true, but don't count on
escrowed code to be available to you or anyone but the successor owner
of the patents and copyrights. Bankruptcy courts have consistently ruled
that the source code is a capital asset that must be sold to satisfy the
various people who apply to the court for redress. This overrides all
such escrow contracts. Most companies specifically state that you do not
own the product that you are paying for, only a right to use it. If you
owned it, you might have some redress, but that opens up another whole
can of worms for the company actually owning the rights. There have been
many attempts to get around this, but I know of no specific technique
that has consistently worked. If the source is considered abandoned or
has been legally published into the public domain, then anyone can use
it, but that is unlikely in any commercial situation that is not
deliberately GPL or some similar situation. It is difficult but not
impossible for a public corporation to release commercially valuable
code into the public domain or to GPL, because it dilutes shareholder
value, so the company must show that they receive value for what they
release, which can be done.

The real crimes and difficulties arise in the area of software patents,
which should be banned as pernicious. Though IANAL, I dealt with
copyright issues for a billion dollar company in my past, coaching the
stupid lawyers on the issues. I will say that the Millennium Copyright
Act is an almighty screwup, designed to keep Disney from losing Mickey,
while screwing up almost everything else.

Everett L(Rett) Williams II
Phillip Gawlowski
2011-02-08 20:13:53 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM, Peter Hickman
Post by Peter Hickman
Ok you are clearly channeling Steve Balmer here. Stop with the bullshit.
The only requirement to redistribute your source is when you modify
the source and then distribute the resulting product.
No, the requirement is to publish *derivative* code. And since the GPL
doesn't outline under which circumstances a specific work becomes
derivative, with no court cases to clarify the issue, the question is
out in the open:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#NFUseGPLPlugins

Hence the LGPL: It makes clear that using a library doesn't taint *your* code.
Post by Peter Hickman
If your product is an online service then you are not distributing the
product and there is no requirement to release your source code.
The Affero GPL *does* establish such a requirement.
Post by Peter Hickman
See a lawyer about that.
Absolutely. Or use libraries licensed with a non-copyleft license
(BSD, MIT, and similar).
--
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Justine B.
2011-02-09 14:05:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Gawlowski
Post by Hilary Bailey
Hi Phillip,
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district. The closest software that exhibits
some semblance is that of Microsoft Access. Where, as I understand it,
the input entry of a single data can be housed and then derived, through
a set of queries, then further analyzed through/by Microsoft Solver
software.
That's a feature all relational databases share: You store data, query
the data, and do something with the results.
However, you don't *need* Access (which is an expensive toy to deploy
software on for a school) for that, but a plain' ol' database.
Investigate SQLite (excellent for "embedded" databases, since it's
light-weight and can be used from pretty much every programming
language, and is Public Domain) if you want to write software that
ends up on a PC, or whatever is popular on the web: MySQL/MariaDB or
PostgreSQL.
Post by Hilary Bailey
The difference with my proposal would be that based on selected
indicators [which will be dynamically influenced by changed event(s) and
policy(ies], which would be able to measure success. I have been exposed
to a statistical software named SPSS and having worked as an economist,
has influenced my outlook on creating an approach/database/software
which would indicate in real time, measured results.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_analytical_processing
Post by Hilary Bailey
Mike Stephens recommended Mendix as a possible solution to my woes. Do
you know of such arena?
I don't trust tools that claim to write software for you. ;)
Mind, a visual tool can be very helpful (I like to easily visualize
SQL databases and their key relations, for example), but I'm quite
sure that Mendix itself won't help you in your case: There's no
business process per se in what you want to roll out, and all those
"UML to Software" tools have fallen flat, requiring manual
"optimization".
Post by Hilary Bailey
Therefore, I figured that, doing it all by myself may be the best
solution. However, some of my concerns are: "Why reinvent the wheel?',
How can I create a sustainable system that does not compromise quality?,
What curriculum structure should I follow that will meet my needs
without, straying from my goals?
Therefore, this is my dilemma, which seems to be going in circles. Any
suggestions.
Yes. Incorporate a business before too long, and start looking for a
technical co-founder now. What you want to do isn't impossible for a
single person. Said person needs a bit of experience in a lot of
technologies. While you can grab database engines, libraries, etc. off
the shelf, you have to check licensing (Anything GPL licensed will
*force* you to publish your own source code, for example, while the
LGPL doesn't have this problem), learn and deal with a lot of
technologies (databases, client / server computing or web programming,
OLAP, reporting, data entry), which is... well, just a tad much to get
started with a business of any sort.
And you have a good litmus test for a technical person: Can they and
do they want to teach you to code. :)
Mind, you should find a technical person you can, push comes to shove,
bind with an NDA either way, simply to buy expertise in rather tough
areas that you shouldn't deal with as a beginner, like application
security (doubly so if you want to launch a website!).
--
Phillip Gawlowski
Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
Mendix doesn't claim to write software for you. In fact, no code is
generated; the visual model is the application! You can extend the
application with Java if you so choose, but 99% of the time you don't
need to. You can build a complete working application (including the
data, presentation, and logic layers and security) in just days with
one-click deployment.

In this case you can use Mendix to setup a view of your data within 5
minutes ... just download a free trial at http://www.mendix.com (Try it
Now button). If you wish to view external data, the free database
replication widget is available in the app store.

Or attend Mendix training (there is one next week in Boston) and they
will show you how! http://www.mendix.com/company/events/
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Mike Stephens
2011-02-08 07:47:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district.
Your question is interesting because unlike almost all others on this
forum, you have no real committment to Ruby. You're just looking for the
easiest route to solving your problem.

As a result it rather depends precisely what your problem is.

A database cannot measure performance. You might mean you would like to
capture something like grade performance and then analyse that by
teacher, course, school, curriculum, student entry grading - various
things like that.

The issue is do you want to do that yourself, sell a package that other
groups could use, or set up a web site that offers a central service?

These involve very different challenges and skill requirements.

By the way Access is brilliant - I've never seen another database come
close. I understand Bill Gates had a soft spot for it. It's a half
decent relational database (Jet) but more than that it is a Query By
Example environment. After that it does reports and forms etc.

Access (like Excel) is a functional programming environment. Personally
I think it is easier to pick these up than OO platforms like Ruby.

However, Access (like Excel) is no good for Web deployment simply
because
Microsoft went off down the geeky .NET and Sharepoint routes and left
simple folk high-and-dry.

Bear in mind Phillip's remarks about Mendix are without any knowledge of
it.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Everett L Williams II
2011-02-08 13:06:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Stephens
Post by Hilary Bailey
What I want to create is a database that can measure the performance of
all entities in a school district.
Your question is interesting because unlike almost all others on this
forum, you have no real committment to Ruby. You're just looking for the
easiest route to solving your problem.
As a result it rather depends precisely what your problem is.
A database cannot measure performance. You might mean you would like to
capture something like grade performance and then analyse that by
teacher, course, school, curriculum, student entry grading - various
things like that.
The issue is do you want to do that yourself, sell a package that other
groups could use, or set up a web site that offers a central service?
These involve very different challenges and skill requirements.
By the way Access is brilliant - I've never seen another database come
close. I understand Bill Gates had a soft spot for it. It's a half
decent relational database (Jet) but more than that it is a Query By
Example environment. After that it does reports and forms etc.
Access (like Excel) is a functional programming environment. Personally
I think it is easier to pick these up than OO platforms like Ruby.
However, Access (like Excel) is no good for Web deployment simply
because
Microsoft went off down the geeky .NET and Sharepoint routes and left
simple folk high-and-dry.
Bear in mind Phillip's remarks about Mendix are without any knowledge of
it.
You must be kidding...Access has holes in it that large trucks can be
driven through, and the "Jet" engine must have flamed out in a
rainstrom, because performance outside of single user setups is dismal.
It also does not have referential integrity nor secure record locking.
The problem is that if you use the integrated tools to build a product
or service, when you try to scale it, you basically have to start over.
If you use external methods to use it, the problem is less, but with
what is available for free out there in the SQL world, not to mention a
few other relational DB's that can scale, why would you use Access. Ugh.

If you just must spend money on a package deal, then go buy a copy of
Alpha 5, which can create both local and web apps and has a really nice
IDE. If you like rolling your own, then Ruby of one form or another plus
a free DB can be yours for nothing plus however much you want to spend
on doc, but avoid Access for anything but one-off, single user apps for
personal use.

Everett L(Rett) Williams II
Mike Stephens
2011-02-08 13:26:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Everett L Williams II
Post by Everett L Williams II
You must be kidding...Access has holes in it that large trucks can be
driven through, and the "Jet" engine must have flamed out in a
rainstrom, because performance outside of single user setups is dismal.
It also does not have referential integrity nor secure record locking.
We're trying to help a person who doesn't really want to grapple with
all sorts of technolgies. Access is much more... accessible.

I think there's a bit of snobbishness here. SQlite is trendy whereas
Access is a rank loser. Well Jet has sophisticated view mechanisms,
supports complex sub-queries, does transactions, referential integrity,
security, replication etc etc. I've worked in some of the largest
financial companies in the World and you'd be surprised how many big
multi-site many-user Access systems are in use everyday.

The attraction of tools like Access (and Excel) for non-professionals is
you can experiment by seeing all the time what you are programming and
what effects it is having.

It's not Ruby but don't dismiss this style of IT.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Everett L Williams II
2011-02-08 20:21:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Stephens
Post by Everett L Williams II
Post by Everett L Williams II
You must be kidding...Access has holes in it that large trucks can be
driven through, and the "Jet" engine must have flamed out in a
rainstrom, because performance outside of single user setups is dismal.
It also does not have referential integrity nor secure record locking.
We're trying to help a person who doesn't really want to grapple with
all sorts of technolgies. Access is much more... accessible.
I think there's a bit of snobbishness here. SQlite is trendy whereas
Access is a rank loser. Well Jet has sophisticated view mechanisms,
supports complex sub-queries, does transactions, referential integrity,
security, replication etc etc. I've worked in some of the largest
financial companies in the World and you'd be surprised how many biga
multi-site many-user Access systems are in use everydayAnd, .
The attraction of tools like Access (and Excel) for non-professionals is
you can experiment by seeing all the time what you are programming and
what effects it is having.
It's not Ruby but don't dismiss this style of IT
I was dismissing it because there are better, faster, simpler tools out
there that are equivalent in cost and cheaper when distributed. And,
referentiaql integrity is only maintained if you check all the right
boxes and know about the holes that exist and correct for them. And
record and page level locking is such a mess that I will never trust it,
having been lied to by MS on so many occasions on the subject. They say
it works, and then you find out the list of exceptions and so forth and
so on, and so often, it is not in your control. The Jet engine was
borrowed from Fox technology when they bought that company, and has been
sadly neglected ever since. I really hate to trust MS on anything about
Access.

Everett L(Rett) Williams II
Stu
2011-02-08 07:40:27 UTC
Permalink
I would choose LibreOffice due to recent events since sun's buyout.

As it's been mentioned an office suite is not really the correct tool
for creating a ruby on rails site.

Here is a short list of tool/software to look into:

1) Ubuntu Linux (the laymans linux)
2) rvm Ruby Version Manager
3) vim (my preferred text editor)
4) shell terminal ( once again preference. I like zsh but ubuntu defaults bash)
5) browser (firefox, opera, chrome... take one or use them all)
6) database (sqlite3 for development, postgres for deployment ...
mysql falls into the same area of sun/oracle debacle but it's still a
choice)
7) installing ruby on rails gem

If you need help getting something like this going I would be more
than happy to walk you through the steps to getting the proper
environment for you to experiment and learn on.

Also look in your neighborhood for ruby sigs and meetings. Definitely
the place to network with others and have someone show you directly.

As others have mentioned avoid tools that lock you in, don't run on
everything, are closed and/or attempt to charge you to learn/use.
Post by Hilary Bailey
I am trying to decide which office suite to choose from. The only
exposure I have had is Microsoft's, but now I have the choice between
OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. I have had lengthy discussions with
great individuals from the community regarding writing an education
software having a database component as its main focus. Briefly, as a
novice to programming (despite having read a book on Ruby, which
offered the "sky", but ended-up confusing reality to that of
programmer's
dream), I have decided, based on various discussions with the community,
to familiarize myself with: a) HTTP, b) CSS, c) vim, d)already created
office suites by the community,and then e) Rails or JRails - as a way of
deploying such software.
I know that there are many surprises and my writing shows an innocence,
which will eventually receive a "reality check". But in the meantime,
based on my line of thinking, can anyone advice me on 1) the difference
between the suites mentioned above and 2) my plan of action in deploying
such product.
Thank you Open Source community for your past and continued help.
Hilary
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-08 16:12:08 UTC
Permalink
What I want to create is a product that is computer accessible, that is
similar to a teacher's Grade Keeper, but goes farther by adding defined
info from principals, guidance counselors, lunch provision for students,
etc.. The reason for this approach is that this will now allow more
complete view of a what impacts a child.

Therefore, the daily entry of data from all participants (teachers,
principals, security, janitors, etc...) will give an analyzer a wider
set of defined parameter inputed data to access, then analyze. The
problem is where to start. I read a book on Ruby, some say that my next
step is to play with scripts, alter some commands and then test such
adjustments. The problems is to follow a logical sequence of learning.
For example, since i use Windows 7, have installed Ruby 1.9.2 p.136 and
Rails, Vim7.2, and LibreOffice 3.3. and saved info to htmldog.com from
which HTML & CSS can be learned.

I know very well that it will take me some time, however, now where do I
start? Should I star with htmldog tutorials, then open Rails along with
vim7.2, then the next stage will be to explore SQlite, then MYSQL, while
having LibreOffice Base as a source of reference?

In terms of distribution, giving it away free will not be taken
seriously by current educational administrators and policy makers. It
suits me to market it and if successful, support this community plus
other social causes of choice.

So based on all that have been said, where, specifically (if possible)
go from here in creating such a product.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Sam Duncan
2011-02-08 19:42:27 UTC
Permalink
The first thing I would do for something like this (taking the pragmatic
approach), is design your information schema. You need to design (not
code) your schema such that it provides the kind of analysis you are
after with the least amount of work. It also needs to be flexible in the
sense that you will inevitably want to start storing new kinds of
information, and analysing the data you have in new ways. The data is,
after all, the basis and purpose of your application.

Whatever you decide to do it in, and I am guessing you will end up with
a conventional relational and hopefully free database, you can assume
that it will be comprised of tables. Tables will contain fields. The
tables and their fields will represent some encapsulation of an entity.
The tables, and the fields therein, will have relationships with other
tables and their fields which will provide you with the basis for your
analysis and reporting.

If you are looking to roll your sleeves up and actually get started, do
so at the data end. In that scope the collection, presentation, and
reporting layers are largely irrelevant, that is to say; your data store
shouldn't really care what is accessing it. Avoid the IDE and framework
religious wars, don't bother with logos and About Us pages. Dive into
your data store schema with a pencil and a notepad today. Anybody here
who has used a database of some kind (and there appear to be plenty),
will be able to help you turn your sketch into a real implementable
schema. Of course, you will inevitably have to wade through ever more
esoteric hooha about the specifics of that implementation ;]

Pretty much I'm saying that I'm not a rocket scientist, and if I wanted
to build a rocket, I would intuitively start with determining how I
would power it.

Sam
Post by Hilary Bailey
What I want to create is a product that is computer accessible, that is
similar to a teacher's Grade Keeper, but goes farther by adding defined
info from principals, guidance counselors, lunch provision for students,
etc.. The reason for this approach is that this will now allow more
complete view of a what impacts a child.
Therefore, the daily entry of data from all participants (teachers,
principals, security, janitors, etc...) will give an analyzer a wider
set of defined parameter inputed data to access, then analyze. The
problem is where to start. I read a book on Ruby, some say that my next
step is to play with scripts, alter some commands and then test such
adjustments. The problems is to follow a logical sequence of learning.
For example, since i use Windows 7, have installed Ruby 1.9.2 p.136 and
Rails, Vim7.2, and LibreOffice 3.3. and saved info to htmldog.com from
which HTML& CSS can be learned.
I know very well that it will take me some time, however, now where do I
start? Should I star with htmldog tutorials, then open Rails along with
vim7.2, then the next stage will be to explore SQlite, then MYSQL, while
having LibreOffice Base as a source of reference?
In terms of distribution, giving it away free will not be taken
seriously by current educational administrators and policy makers. It
suits me to market it and if successful, support this community plus
other social causes of choice.
So based on all that have been said, where, specifically (if possible)
go from here in creating such a product.
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-11 00:51:48 UTC
Permalink
Sam Duncan wrote in post #980397:
Sam, I think you are correct in your assessment. In terms of the
database, should I indulge in LibreOffice Base or use Sqlite/SQL? After
such decision,is it possible to add components from PSPP and LibreOffice
spreadsheet plus others, to create a software? In other words, just like
making a car, where we add different parts to create a product, can the
same logic be used to create a software.

The first thing I would do for something like this (taking the pragmatic
Post by Sam Duncan
approach), is design your information schema. You need to design (not
code) your schema such that it provides the kind of analysis you are
after with the least amount of work. It also needs to be flexible in the
sense that you will inevitably want to start storing new kinds of
information, and analysing the data you have in new ways. The data is,
after all, the basis and purpose of your application.
Whatever you decide to do it in, and I am guessing you will end up with
a conventional relational and hopefully free database, you can assume
that it will be comprised of tables. Tables will contain fields. The
tables and their fields will represent some encapsulation of an entity.
The tables, and the fields therein, will have relationships with other
tables and their fields which will provide you with the basis for your
analysis and reporting.
If you are looking to roll your sleeves up and actually get started, do
so at the data end. In that scope the collection, presentation, and
reporting layers are largely irrelevant, that is to say; your data store
shouldn't really care what is accessing it. Avoid the IDE and framework
religious wars, don't bother with logos and About Us pages. Dive into
your data store schema with a pencil and a notepad today. Anybody here
who has used a database of some kind (and there appear to be plenty),
will be able to help you turn your sketch into a real implementable
schema. Of course, you will inevitably have to wade through ever more
esoteric hooha about the specifics of that implementation ;]
Pretty much I'm saying that I'm not a rocket scientist, and if I wanted
to build a rocket, I would intuitively start with determining how I
would power it.
Sam
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Everett L Williams II
2011-02-11 09:23:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Duncan
Pretty much I'm saying that I'm not a rocket scientist, and if I wanted
to build a rocket, I would intuitively start with determining how I
would power it.
Sam
*Hiloary,

Sam's advice is sound as far as it goes, but if you are as you represent
yourself, your odds of producing a salable project any time in the next
couple of years seems remote, regardless of the tool you choose. That is
not meant as an insult, but an evaluation of your questions. Find that
tech pro that has been spoken of here, and let that person select the
tools that they know well enough to accomplish the task or at least take
a long look at their advice before selecting tools. Rather than try to
build any technical data descriptions, I would say that you should write
up as detailed a description as you can manage of the data that you
believe must be collected and from where it is to be collected, and also
write up as detailed a description as you can of the evaluations that
you want to be built into the product and those that you want to be
available dynamically. Most of the targets that you will have in this
situation will probably want to export selected data to a spreadsheet
and than manipulate that data with said spreadsheet. If you want to
select LibreOffice for that or MS's product, that will be something that
you can probably leave to the users. Standard analysis can be built into
the product. I really see this as a DB with data entry forms and a few
tools for data selection. That can be done directly in several of the
free SQL products, or if you want to build a web based product, the
something like Alpha 5 from Alphasoftware.com could manage it in a very
short window of time. Doing large amounts of custom programming on this
would seem to be a self defeating effort.

Everett L(Rett) Williams II
*
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-12 14:07:53 UTC
Permalink
Distinguish community,
Thanks again for such comments. I already build an Excel model which
consist of many files.I also wrote a layman methodology which includes a
graphical representation, explaining the relationship between and among
different contributors, the reporting system, defined the contributors,
what kind of information can be entered, who to target, red flags as
warning signs, and many other parameters. Over the years (20 years) I
have been using a smaller component of this creation, but now, after
seeing what my school district, and other districts use as a source of
information/data management, I think that my written model surpasses
their presentation tools.

Now it is time to role up my sleeves and get to work. I am not afraid of
spending countless hours working on learning. Secondly, I am not trying
to find a cute shortcut to creating a program. My great concern is where
to start, and having started, knowing the possible steps to take
(different tools such as Vim, HTML, SQLs) to have the understanding. As
I mentioned, many moons gone by, I do not have the finance to pay for
such expertise, also I am aware that due to the USA financial mess,
seeking private grants is almost virtually impossible. For others who
are fortunate to have the financial resources, good for them, my reality
is a bit different.

Therefore at this point I think that I have gathered a whole lot of
valuable information from a great community. My approach will be to
attack my dream with the following curriculum:
a)as described by Phillip G -Pick up the necessities of HTML,
CSS, and JavaScript - Learn about application security (this is very,
very important on the internet!)- Learn about deployment options for
Rails.
b) as mentioned by Shern - Check out <http://htmldog.com
c) as noted by Guecker928 - (during the learning process),
seek-out a marketing\legal\strategic plan.
d) As the whole community have said - take time and avoid
shortcuts.

Finally, I am very impressed with this board. And as I follow this guide
(2/3 year guide) I hope the community will keep providing novices like
myself the tools necessary to learn, build and someday add to the
support of this OpenSource environment.

Respectfully,

Hilary
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Martin DeMello
2011-02-13 08:11:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
Therefore at this point I think that I have gathered a whole lot of
valuable information from a great community. My approach will be to
       a)as described by Phillip G -Pick up the necessities of HTML,
CSS,    and JavaScript - Learn about application security (this is very,
very important on the internet!)- Learn about deployment options for
Rails.
       b) as mentioned by Shern - Check out <http://htmldog.com
       c) as noted by Guecker928 - (during the learning process),
seek-out a marketing\legal\strategic plan.
       d) As the whole community have said - take time and avoid
shortcuts.
I would suggest an alternative approach:

a. Learn the basics of SQL
b. Learn how to design a schema, use it to create a database, get a
large sample dataset into that database and perform complex queries
c. Get your analytical software written to work with the result sets
from those queries
d. Write some ruby code to tie all the above together.

At this point you have a solid commandline application that will do
your data analysis. *Now* you can look at putting a UI to it - learn
HTML, CSS and Javascript for the frontend, and Rails or whatever for
the backend. Start by having a small web form that lets the user enter
some simple search and limit criteria, does the data analysis, and
returns the results as a webpage. Proceed from there.

If you are planning on forming a company to do this, another option
would be to talk a programmer friend into doing some work on it in his
spare time, in return for stock.

martin
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-13 16:22:14 UTC
Permalink
Thanks Martin,
Can you refer a site where I can download SQL with its tutorial/guide?
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Sherm Pendley
2011-02-13 16:35:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
Can you refer a site where I can download SQL with its tutorial/guide?
SQL isn't a product that you can download, it's a language that's used
in *many* database products. SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and PostgreSQL
are some of the more popular.

sherm--
--
Sherm Pendley
<http://camelbones.sourceforge.net>
Cocoa Developer
Bill Felton
2011-02-13 16:40:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilary Bailey
Thanks Martin,
Can you refer a site where I can download SQL with its tutorial/guide?
As Sherm pointed out, SQL is a language/product. MySQL and Postgres are probably the easiest to come by, in that mySQL is available in a free edition (I think postgres is also).
For learning mySQL, I like Ben Rota's MySQL Crash Course, which can be had fairly inexpensively. But there are countless titles that introduct/teach SQL.

cheers,
Bill
Martin DeMello
2011-02-13 17:11:31 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Bill Felton
Post by Hilary Bailey
Thanks Martin,
Can you refer a site where I can download SQL with its tutorial/guide?
As Sherm pointed out, SQL is a language/product.  MySQL and Postgres are probably the easiest to come by, in that mySQL is available in a free edition (I think postgres is also).
SQLite and Firebird are worth a look too. I'd say to start with MySQL
because using it under windows is very well documented and there's a
community and GUI tools around it, but consider either Postgresql or
Firebird for your actual application, once you've got a bit of
experience in configuring and managing a database.
For learning mySQL, I like Ben Rota's MySQL Crash Course, which can be had fairly inexpensively.  But there are countless titles that introduct/teach SQL.
Also http://sqlzoo.net/ is a very nice interactive SQL tutorial. Work
through it once you've read up on the basic concepts and syntax.

martin
Stu
2011-02-14 19:13:57 UTC
Permalink
I second Ben Forta's books.

On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 10:40 AM, Bill Felton
Post by Hilary Bailey
Thanks Martin,
Can you refer a site where I can download SQL with its tutorial/guide?
As Sherm pointed out, SQL is a language/product.  MySQL and Postgres are probably the easiest to come by, in that mySQL is available in a free edition (I think postgres is also).
For learning mySQL, I like Ben Rota's MySQL Crash Course, which can be had fairly inexpensively.  But there are countless titles that introduct/teach SQL.
cheers,
Bill
Hilary Bailey
2011-02-13 19:50:41 UTC
Permalink
Thank you for the info.
--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
Iñaki Baz Castillo
2011-02-14 15:21:29 UTC
Permalink
I'm really surprised as this thread has become really long even if it
has nothing to do with Ruby.

Ok, I must choice between Open and Renault, any help?
--
Iñaki Baz Castillo
<***@aliax.net>
Phillip Gawlowski
2011-02-14 22:40:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Iñaki Baz Castillo
I'm really surprised as this thread has become really long even if it
has nothing to do with Ruby.
Ok, I must choice between Open and Renault, any help?
No contest: Opel. It's the lesser of two evils.
--
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.
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