Records Mac App allows you to efficiently collect and organize any kind of information.
Many years ago, much longer than I’ve been writing for MacSources, I dabbled in database management with a little program called File Maker Pro. My brother and I used to create databases for organization purposes. We were trying to make it work for something it wasn’t really meant to do. We had a massive tape library that we were trying to catalogue and FMP, was the best tool at our disposal at that time. Fortunately, software development has come leaps and bounds since then and there are much better options for people who are looking to customize databases to suit their needs. One such program is Records.
Records is billed as a full-featured, power personal database app for Mac. I was very excited to try this app out as I really enjoy apps that are built and tailored specifically for Mac. At first glance, the app is everything I was looking for. It comes pre-loaded with numerous templates and the ability for you to customize each one, or build your own. You actually just drag and drop pieces you want in your database to the design canvas and start entering data. There are even different themes to choose from that really liven up the layout. It’s pretty simple.
When I started working with it, I chose to start creating a contacts database. It was a simple enough set of data to work with and I thought I could pull in data I had stored elsewhere because it was a CSV file. Unfortunately, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Even though “import from CSV” is a clear option in the File menu, I was never able to do it. I tried starting a new database from template and creating a new BLANK database, but the CSV files I created were grayed out when and I was never able to select them for import purposes. This was a HUGE set back for me and this app.
When I discovered this problem and nothing I was doing was working, I contacted the developer and got a very quick response with a remedy. It seems that even though I am on the current version of the app that since I haven’t updated my Mac to OS X 10.11 yet, that there is a small glitch with CSV files. There is a quick work around for this – change the file extension to .txt and then Records will read the file. Once I found this out, I began importing.
The process was fairly painless except that I discovered the more columns you are importing, whether they contain data or not, help to determine the length of time importing takes. My first import attempt was only 348kb and it took several minutes. The same file with the empty columns removed only took a few seconds. When my data imported, it showed up as a clump of fields – one on top of the other – on the design canvas. I was hoping to be able to import them into the comparable fields that were preexisting in the database, but it just didn’t quite translate that way.
Once I had all the data imported, I laid out the canvas as I wanted to see it and began reviewing it all. When you have a fully built and filled-in database, you can also use the text search to find specific data in the different records. This was one of the more impressive features for me as it functions very similarly to the Mac’s search function.
There are two main views built in to Records – table and canvas. For those who have the experience of using File Maker Pro, this is similar to the Form and List views. You can input data in either view. My personal preference is to input data into the Canvas view and then review the database in the Table view.
I really enjoy using Records because it’s a very easy, user-friendly way of storing and organizing data. You don’t really have to have any previous experience with databases or coding at all. In fact, Records behaves much more like a layout program than a complex database application.
There are a few things I think could be improved on. For example, I noticed that when you go to delete a record, you have to select the record and then select ‘delete’ from the Edit menu instead of pressing the Delete button on your keyboard or right-clicking on the mouse. There just doesn’t seem to be a quick key for that function. I think with some of that functionality built-in, this all could really be amazing.
Records really is a nice app and I am looking forward to using it for a myriad of projects. You can make your own custom template in a matter of seconds to suite any needs you have.
DOWNLOAD – Records – $29.99 – Mac