Database suggestions

I need a database into which I can enter classical music concert listings then search by date.

Any suggestions?



Depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

Filemaker is expensive, but powerful.
Bento is cheaper, and suitable for a lot of projects.
OpenOffice (or NeoOffice) has a free database program, but in my opinion it’s a pain to use.

There’s a whole list of database programs for Mac here:

If a list is all you need, though, a simple spreadsheet might work as good as a database. You can search most spreadsheets by a variety of criteria.

Yes, a simple spreadsheet should be sufficient for that.
If you really want a database, the one I prefer is Panorama:

I like it much better than Filemaker and Bento. It is expensive, but it can help you with a lot of tasks, from an address book and sending mass email to simple (or complex) databases. In my experience, it has been faster than Filemaker and the databases are smaller.

I’ve never even heard of Panorama. I’ll have to give it a try.

Unfortunately, there is no database application for the Mac that could keep up with Micro$oft Access. Only second-best solutions, some quirky ones and a lot of nice (and not so nice) tries.

Building a database, even with a product like Bento or Panorama, takes a great deal of time.

You may find a solution available online as a web database.

Are all the listings from a single source?

That is, are you looking at all listings for a single artist or a single venue? Or for all listings in a given geographic area?

Depending on what your source data looks like and what you want to do with the results, I’m thinking a much lighter weight solution might be some kind of calendar application, either on your own computer or online.


Definitely check Panorama out. It’s one of the first applications developed for Apple. I only discovered it a few years ago, and I’m very glad I did. I wish I had found it before I purchased Filemaker Pro.

Building a database like the one thewolfgang wants takes very little time in Panorama. The approach I used was:

  1. Create a text file with the information. Any word processing software will work. This can be time consuming if the data are entered manually. I only created 3 listings as a test, using Artist, Venue, and Date. Each item is separated by a TAB.
  2. Launch Panorama, click on “New Database,” click on “Import Text File,” and then click on “Make New Database.” Time to create the database -including launching Panorama- was 14 seconds. Fields are correctly identified as Text or Date.
    For reference, it took Panorama 5 seconds to import 89,961 records from a 22 MB text database, and 6 seconds to import 101,596 records from a 24.6 MB text database.
    In contrast, it was impossible to import the text database into Bento. With FileMaker it was possible, but setup work was necessary. Not counting the setup, just to compare import speed, Filemaker Pro 11 took 30 seconds with the larger database. That’s 5 times as much as Panorama.
    Database size was 25.6 MB in Panorama, and 36.2 MB in Filemaker Pro.

This was done with Panorama 5.5.2 on a G5 PPC Dual 2.0GHz, OS X 10.5.8. With newer computers and Panorama 6 it may be even faster to create a database.

The slow and tedious part is entering the data, whether this is done in a spreadsheet, word processor, or database software.

Another option is to use an outliner like Neo (Tao). It only costs $10 and from what I can tell it can work for this purpose. The downside is that it does have a bit of a learning curve, but I’ve had it for about a week and it is likely to replace Omni Outliner Pro for my needs. The process would be to create columns (Artist, Venue, Date) and then simply sort by date. Neo (Tao) has a Find feature as well.

if i understand what you want, i would guess that almost any software that organizes lists and does simple searches will do. if this is part of how you make your living rather than a hobby, i would suggest that you chose something that looks as if it will be around for a while.

you can make a simple list with as many fields as you want that will sort by date in excel or pages. on the other hand, you can make the same list in filemaker pro and begin the process of learning how to use your software. or, you could make the list in pages or excel for now, and easily port it to filemaker pro later, if you decide you need a real database in the future. bento seems klutzy for a big list, (i’m assuming you’re talking about several thousand entries) although lots of people love it. i use it mainly as a project organizer for one type of thing i do with my job.

as for access, i used it for years. it will certainly do what you want but you would have to run windows on your mac to use it.

personally, i’d go with filemaker pro. in fact, i did go with filemaker pro. it’s ubiquitous, not that hard to learn, cross platform and has plenty of power to grow with.

I completely agree with the last part of this statement. Filemaker is indeed ubiquitous, easy, powerful and cross-platform. Unfortunately it is also expensive, updates that should be free are (yearly) paid upgrades, and the few added features have been present in competing products for years.

Panorama is probably easier, more powerful, and also cross-platform. I don’t think that version 6 for Windows is out yet, though. Upgrades are also expensive, but they add valuable features and don’t come once a year. I’m actually skipping version 6 because of the upgrade price, but I’m 99.99% certain that I’ll buy the next release.

The great thing is that both applications offer demos, and there are many insightful comments online from people who use or have used both programs.

I used Panorama from version 2 up through 5 and finally quit. My main problem with it was price: they wanted $250 or more for version upgrades, and I cannot justify that, given my infrequent use of database software.

Panorama is undeniably fast and powerful, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn database programming to run a business, campaign, or school; it’s really built for large-scale projects. It’s also a very fast editor, doing it all in RAM. Wish they would sell a $50 version for occasional users.

Until then, Bento is my speed and price, and it will import-export several kinds of file formats, including Excel and Numbers.

Upgrades are expensive indeed, and their upgrade model is similar to Filemaker’s. The older the version you have, the more expensive the upgrade. From the immediate previous version the cost is $140.

I was lucky to buy my copy on sale. IIRC, it was $100 including some extras, like the Image Pack. At their regular price I would not have purchased it. Bento’s price is definitely more reasonable.

Just to keep the record straight, you can import a spreadsheet into Bento very easily. I’m not suggesting it is as easy as the process you describe for Panorama, just that it is pretty easily do-able.

I use Bento for structured information and it works very well for my modest needs.


You are correct Steve. Bento imports the following:
.csv, .tab, .tsv, .numbers, .xls, .xlsx.

I could not figure out how to import a simple text file, though.

change the extension to .tab if you used tabs to deliniate teh columns. The extension “clues” the importer how to parse the data in the file. If you open a .csv a .tab or .tsv you will see they are just plain text.

Thanks for the tip Jaysen. :slight_smile: