It is commonly said that most open source projects begin by
a programmer “scratching
an itch.” I am by no means a programmer but I do believe
in sharing and helping others when possible.
A few months back I
was planning a database solution for a running club. Their database
was essentially a flat file in MS Access and I wanted to move
them to a remotely hosted MySQL database.
Among the many benefits would be increased accessability of the
data, less of a need for regular (and often forgotten) backups
and simplification of using/administering the database.
I forsaw as the only major problem with this plan was how
person to generate and print out renewal forms, envelopes and
other printed matter as a mail merge with data from this remote
database. While searching for solutions, I came across two potential
solutions: Generating PDFs on the fly using various plug-ins
PHP and I had heard that OpenOffice.org had database capabilities
similar to MS Access. After further
research I decided the PDF option would be too unweildy as it
person to make even the smallest changes to documents. I am
lazy and want to give the end-users as much control as possible
(and prudent). About this time I happened across an article on LinuxWorld.com which explained how to hook
OpenOffice.org up to a local MySQL database on Linux.
how well OpenOffice.org works cross-platform and having had
a little experience with MySQL both locally and remotely,
I thought it must not be much of a leap to connect to a remote
If this could be done, all of my running club's database
problems could be solved.
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