Importing ThinkDB databases?

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Importing ThinkDB databases?

Postby wil4ds » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:53 pm

Hello, I searched and saw nothing on this topic.

Is it possible to import any thinkDB databases into HanDbase? We have recently switched from PalmOS handhelds to iPhones and HanDbase seems like the perfect app, including the Mac desktop client.

However, I'm not looking forward to re-creating that data in a new format. Any export/import help will be appreciated. We use Macs at home but also have access to Windows machines at work, it that helps.

Any info will be appreciated!
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Re: Importing ThinkDB databases?

Postby dhaupert » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:39 am

Hi there,

Thanks for your post- great question! Since both HanDBase and ThinkDB are closed formats, there is no direct conversion tool, but it can be done using the two respective desktop programs:

1. Using ThinkDB's desktop export the database to a CSV file. Check the option to include the field names as the first line of the file.
2. Using HanDBase's desktop import the CSV to a database. Check the option that indicates the field names are the first line of the file.
3. At this point the database is imported, but the fields are all set to text or note fields depending on their size. So you then need to use the database application itself (right on the device) to modify the field types from text to their respective field type.

From memory, I believe thinkDB had a date and time field- where the field itself held both values, whereas we keep them separate. This creates a little bit of an incompatibility there and either manual reformatting of the text based CSV file (in TextEdit for example) can alleviate this, or you can use a database manager program to massage the data as well and separate the date and time fields out.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Importing ThinkDB databases?

Postby prm » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:59 am

This is a big problem, unfortunately. I too have a number of Databases written in ThinkDB (now Smartlist-To-Go) running on a Palm TX. I worry about the lack of support of SLTG, and of the older Palms. So I got an iPhone when they came out, and looked for a way to transfer my Databases to the iPhone. HanDBase seemed like the best option, so I got the iPhone version to try. The MAC desktop version was inadequate, so I got the Professional version for Palm as well.

The bottom line, though, is this: you CAN transfer the most basic data from a SLTG / ThinkDB file in the way that Dave Haupert describes, but all the detail and subtlety is lost. Pop-ups, lists, and calculated fields do not work. Links are broken. Forms are not transferred, and indeed HanDBase does not support forms in the way that SLTG did, and not on the iPhone or MAC at all as far as I can understand. (HanDBase apparently does have forms, but I have never been able to see them.)

Thus if you transfer a file, a great deal of work needs to be done (unless it is the simplest sort of flat file). This work cannot be done in the Desktop for MAC, which is very limited, and is very painful on the handheld. The recently announced HanDBase Desktop for Windows running on the MAC under X11 protocols does not function properly for me. It crashed after I did some editing, and lost the work, and it does not seem able to download a file to the iPhone (it does not see the iPhone at all). And even if one does all this work, I'm not sure that you can match the capability of the original SLTG databases.

So after many hours of trial and experimentation, I am still carrying a Palm TX in one hand to run my Databases, and an iPhone in the other for everything else. Very disappointing.

Good wishes,

Peter R. Maggs, MD
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Re: Importing ThinkDB databases?

Postby dhaupert » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:15 pm

prm wrote:The bottom line, though, is this: you CAN transfer the most basic data from a SLTG / ThinkDB file in the way that Dave Haupert describes, but all the detail and subtlety is lost. Pop-ups, lists, and calculated fields do not work. Links are broken. Forms are not transferred, and indeed HanDBase does not support forms in the way that SLTG did, and not on the iPhone or MAC at all as far as I can understand. (HanDBase apparently does have forms, but I have never been able to see them.)


Correct, truly custom forms in HanDBase are available only for certain platforms, iPhone and Mac are two such exceptions, though both temporary in nature since they are planned for the future. That said, SLTG did not have custom forms either- just a few settings to control colors, font sizes, the division of tabs, etc. So I'd argue whether you really lose much in that regard!

Thus if you transfer a file, a great deal of work needs to be done (unless it is the simplest sort of flat file). This work cannot be done in the Desktop for MAC, which is very limited, and is very painful on the handheld.


Do you really find it painful? I ask this because you're not the only one who has said this before, but I myself who has access to creating databases on every desktop or handheld platform we support, prefer designing new databases on the iPhone- I find it very convenient and intuitive, and not at all slower than doing so on the desktop. Maybe I'm biased, and maybe because I seem to be one of a minority who find the iPhone keyboard to be very fast.

The recently announced HanDBase Desktop for Windows running on the MAC under X11 protocols does not function properly for me. It crashed after I did some editing, and lost the work, and it does not seem able to download a file to the iPhone (it does not see the iPhone at all).


The Windows X11 version is just the HanDBase Desktop- a standalone version that does not interface with any handhelds directly. That said, it works in tandem with the existing Mac desktop, so you can make design changes in the Windows one, and let the Mac version continue to do the syncing and interfacing. I'm sorry to hear that you had a crash- wondering what you were doing when the crash happens- as I've not seen this reported before!
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Re: Importing ThinkDB databases?

Postby wil4ds » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:49 pm

Thank you to both of you gentlemen for your input!

I have a number of multi-tab forms developed on my old Palm handlheld since there was no Mac version of ThinkDB desktop (at least, it had been discontinued long before I discovered the handheld version. If tab support and custom forms are coming to the HanDbase repertoire for the Mac/iPhone, I may well hold off and purchase later. Endless scrolling will be functional but inconvenient.

Thanks again.
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