capsule review

askSam

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder askSam

FileMaker

AskSam sits halfway between a traditional database and a document manager. Databases consist of raw data entered from forms, and imported documents, including word, PDF, and HTML files. Any such documents can be searched, and, furthermore, once entered, can be given fields. For example, suppose you have a collection of memos governing a project. These memos were all written by different people and do not follow a fixed format. Once imported into AskSam, you can add fields to each, merely by typing a name followed by a "[". So you might add Author[, Date[, and Status[ to each document. Now, you can not only search the full text of the imported memos, you can sort by author or select by status.

Speaking of searching, that is also simple--type in a few keywords, and there are the records. It was speedy in 6, and is even faster in 7. No knowledge of SQL or the like is required. Even better, you can search within search results--this makes it easier to 'drill down' to the data you want without having to construct an overly complex search.

While older versions of the program were beginning to look a bit long of tooth, the newest version brings the interface firmly into the current era. A useful startup screen presents several common templates for database tables, and the features one expects in a modern interface--moveable toolbars, dockable windows, and so on.

AskSam is not overpriced in its niche, but it's not an impulse buy, either. Because it occupies its own place in databases, it is best to download the trial and make sure its unique features and functionality serve your needs.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder askSam

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