The key to a good database is the initial process for defining and understanding the business drivers behind it - why it is needed and what it is required to do. Other things to consider at an early stage include:
- the nature of the database's contents
- how content will be added
- how content will be retrieved
- the type of information to be stored
- how each piece of information relates to the others. (For example, a company can have one or many contacts, one company can have many orders, and each order can have one or many lines!)
Another key element is the design methodology, or structured plan, to help distill what is required. This needs to be agreed in advance, built, then refined and tested until it's right. Finally, it must continue to be supported as required, if it is to succeed.
As you would expect, many databases now integrate with web applications, yet there is still a great requirement for client-based databases. Our main database tools of choice are MS Access, MS SQL Server, and MySQL - with each to be used for the right kind of applications.
Channel's Web Development Team have experience of developing in every version of Microsoft Access since Access 1995 (although you really shouldn't be using that any more!).
If you need a bespoke application written to help improve your internal processes, or streamline some rather time-consuming paperwork, we can provide the analysis, design, development, testing and implementation in one seamless piece of work.
Access is renowned for its ability to reward you with a fast development cycle as it includes all aspects of you data, forms, reports and processing. It can be limited when you start requiring larger systems, but for a small business it is often exactly what you need.
We have wide experience of designing comprehensive database systems for some of the largest companies in the UK and New Zealand in a wide range of sectors including banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, retail and telecoms. We have also worked extensively with small and medium sized companies in both B2B and B2C.
If you need a large number of users to access to your system, or your database application needs better performance levels, we would normally recommend upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server instead.
Applications including our C-Trak vehicle management system were designed and built using the SQLServer and the Microsoft Visual Studio environment.
MySQL open source databases
Web-based systems are often designed using different database applications to those used on LANs or stand-alone PCs. The open source MySQL is possibly the most commonly used on the web today, so if you need a web-based database application, it is likely that we will create it in MySQL - particularly if it is to be built in PHP or integrated with one of our range of content managed websites.
The key driver for us when we develop a database system for our clients is that it is fit for purpose, reliable, reasonably priced and easy to maintain in the long term. This is why every one of these essential business factors are always built into our work.
Bespoke development or customising existing systems?
It is important to understand that writing any bespoke application can be time consuming and costly.
So before we start that process, rather than building something from scratch un-necessarily, we first try to find and customise an existing solution or suitable application instead - one of the great strengths of the open-source community.
Examples of databases have we built:
- Vehicle management (C-Trak)
- Document management and indexing (Sovereign Insurance / ASB Bank)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Sales databases
- Training database (Nokia)
- Tourist enquiries and bookings
- Publishing and subscriptions
- Jewellery orders
- Balanced Scorecard Management Information System
- Data warehouse applications
- Data mapping applications (GlaxoSmithKline)
- Wholesale grocery management
- Mining searches
- Engineering maintenance (Royal Mail)
- Management accounting system (RMC Readymix)
We do not believe in unnecessarily re-inventing the wheel. We DO want to leave you with something that does exactly what you need!