Inexpensive EasyTables Database Program: Good Concept, Poor Execution
At a Glance
Many people need to keep track of structured information in a simple, straightforward, way. Database programs often skew towards the higher end of cost and complexity, or towards unstructured, free-text tools which have benefits, but also drawbacks. EasyTables ($35, 14-day free trial) is a program that attempts to fill a niche for users with no database or coding experience that still need to track, sort, and search their data. Unfortunately, showstopper bugs and an unresponsive development team make this database program an unreliable choice.
EasyTables 2.4.5 resides, after installation, in the taskbar, and this makes it convenient to create or review tables of various sorts. The user can create as many tables as he/she wishes, and access them from a right-click on the icon in the taskbar. Thus, it's easy to quickly bring up a contacts table, a to-do list, or a simple inventory.
Creating tables is equally simple; a straightforward interface allows you to add columns and set their type (text, integer, date, currency, and so on). Once this is done, you can then begin adding in data, either manually, or by importing it from a CSV. Columns can be deleted or edited later, though users should be careful about doing so; once a column is deleted, that data is gone, even if the column is later recreated.
When being used, EasyTables presents a basic grid of data. Columns can be dragged around to reorder them, and clicking a column will sort by it. Filters can be created by clicking a value in a cell, or by bringing up a filter dialog to set multiple conditions at once. Data can be entered in the grid, or by a simple form which is auto-generated. Text font, color, and size can be set on a field-by-field basis.
Unfortunately, EasyTables has serious bugs, including some that locked me out of my database, though I was able to make a copy of it and re-access the data. Setting a filter on an integer field by using the "add to filter" button caused a crash error that re-occurred whenever I tried to reopen that database. Automatic fields, such as Creation Date, sometimes came up blank and sometimes not. While not a bug per se, there is no way to delete an entry from the drop-down type fields, so if you made a mistake in typing, the erroneous entry will remain to clutter the field.
Further, EasyTables is poorly documented. There is a .CHM file which contains very basic information, but doesn't document all features, such as the "Expression" field type (which would seem to be very useful). There is a FAQ, which is written in somewhat broken English and which mostly just repeats the documentation. As of this writing, NiceKit has not replied to email queries.
With a list price of $35, EasyTables is pushing the limit of price for functionality if everything worked perfectly. Given the issues and the seeming lack of recent updates (the program is copyright 2010), I have to put this firmly in the "not recommended" column, which is a shame, as its features and functionality would make it an excellent choice if it had fewer bugs and a slightly lower price point. Filemaker Pro, once the leading personal database, is currently targeted at businesses more than single users. Microsoft Access offers a lot of functionality, but can be more than is needed for a single, flat-file, type database. GS-Base, which has some flaws but also has a rapid turnaround on bug fixes and updates, is a good candidate to consider for low-end tasks on a small budget.
Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of this software.