How to create an Openoffice mailing address database (part 1)

Open Office (openoffice.org, Oracle Corporation)

Open Office (openoffice.org, Oracle Corporation)

Oracle Corporation now controls openoffice.org, however its still free to use and ‘open source’.  So for the moment, one can save some money using OpenOffice database rather than spending money on a Microsoft office license to get MS-Access. 

Additionally, I’ve read about how easy it is to integrate with other database applications, so I’ve always wondered about using the open office database product, which I’ve found out is sometimes referred to as ‘Base’. I had heard it can integrate well with SQL Server, Ms-Access, Oracle, PostgreSQL , MySQL for example. 

Because of this, I wanted to explore how to make an openoffice database. In this post I’ll use the openoffice database to create a simple address database. Such an address database could be used for an openoffice mailing list database.  Also I’ll explore how to create a unique index, how to set an auto-number field and how to change the column ordering. Additionally, I’ll mention what ‘registering a database’ with openoffice.org means in terms of the openoffice database. 

Basic Requirements of the openoffice Mailing Address Database 

The basic requirement is to store addresses and names of persons. We recognize one person normally lives in one location all the time, however we know that sometimes people live at more than one address. Additionally, we might want to represent person’s work locations. As such we want to allow for including employer addresses. Finally, some people use different mailing addresses when shipping or billing. We also need to handle this as well. 

 Because of this we want our design to allow some flexible way to represent this possible situation.  What is a good way to organize mailing addresses in terms of good database design? I would start out by keeping persons in one entity and addresses in another. Then we can join the two in a ‘junction table’. 

When dealing with custom address lists, there are many ways to do it. I like to spell out the requirements before designing the tables. It helps to focus us on making sure the design can fulfill the specifications. 

Ok, so we have our requirements down. Ready to explore OpenOffice database? 

open office database

open office database

Start Open Office. Normally you see a splash screen with several icons on it. Because we want the Open Office Database, click on the Database icon. 

If you start Open Office from the system tray or some other way, you might see a screen that shows you ‘documents and templates’. 

If that happens choose New Document and Database. 

Open Office Templates and Documents Form

Open Office Templates and Documents Form

After clicking on the open office database icon or title wait for the database wizard to come up. In the database wizard dialog form that opens up, you must select an openoffice database and then ‘save and proceed’. 

In ‘What do you want to do?’ choose ‘Create a new database’. Then click Next. 

Open Office Database Wizard

Open Office Database Wizard

When you click next you are confronted with this question…. Do you want to register the database. What is this? 

Do you want to register the database in OpenOffice.org

Do you want to register the database in OpenOffice.org

At first I thought OpenOffice requires me sign up for something. Actually, it’s not so bad.

They just chose a funny word for this user defined option. If you want open office forms to link to the database choose Register. If not choose ‘No’.

Here is the help info that Open Office has on this option below. In any case for our purposes, I chose ‘Yes, register the database’.

Open Office Yes Register the Database for me
Open Office Yes Register the Database for me

 

In the next post we finish using the openoffice database wizard and create our three tables.

Go to Part 2 (continued) here.