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Folks,
Those of you who think that Filemaker is mickey mouse haven't been
keeping up. It is now a Unix based product that can run natively on
Linux and XP too, it will hold up to 4 Gb per field and scale to 8 Tb,
is that big enough for your data?. It can be set up to span multiple
servers, it can be a standalone data source fully accessible via php,
ODBC. SQL or what have you, it has a mature internal security
environment that can authenticate against LDAP if you please. The
benefit is that there are robust stored procedures, a powerful
scripting environment, an extensible plug-in architecture, absolutely
the best interface development tools AND you don't need programmer
level capabilities. The client can be a web browser, Excel, or
FileMaker itself that can act as a robust rich client. It is also quite
cost effective, I bet it would be difficult to build something
comparable to what can be done in Filemaker with MySQL and php at
similar cost in terms of time investment. Even if you still scoff at
Filemaker then for God's sake do the MySQL solution. As far as your
scanning goes, I think that coming up with a solution for the few times
you would need a complete school survey would be much more cost
effective than buying a clumsy system for the exception rather than the
rule. Prior to purchase I would have a majority of the board to speak
with Craig and if they still decide to use the archaic method make sure
they are present to help when you do it the first time.

Have fun,

Ed Crelin
MacInsight, Inc.
Tech Support
Mount Holly School
VT, usa