With the shortage and cost of IT folks these days, more and more developers and owners of small to midsize businesses are turning their attention toward building embeddable databases into applications, rather than managing two separate efforts -- the application and the data.
Fortunately, companies such as Pervasive Software and its product, Pervasive.SQL SDK, Version 7, are making it easier to build applications that address the management issue. With a long list of helpful features, an inexpensive entry cost, and the capability to create applications that manipulate data with a significant reduction in management overhead, Pervasive.SQL is worth looking into.
Given the scope of the small to midsize business market, it is understandable that Pervasive would join a large number of competitors, including Oracle, Sybase, and IBM among the top tier, and Empress among the second tier.
In my limited testing, Pervasive.SQL appeared fast, reliable, and inexpensive. It also includes a choice of database access methods, a small footprint, and "maintenance-free" operations, which means the product can be developed, deployed, and maintained with little or no assistance. It is likely to appear in offices with no database administrator.
Pervasive.SQL's scalability allows you to take a small application for one or two users and, with very few changes, put it on your intranet, for example, where hundreds of users could access it.
One of the many nice features I found was that you were not tied to a specific programming language to learn the product. Pervasive provided its sample application not only in Java, but also in Visual Basic, C++, and Delphi, to jump-start either experienced Btrieve developers or those new to the tool.
Pervasive.SQL is a step up for those who currently use the Btrieve application development suite. Btrieve customers will gain because of Pervasive's capability to treat Btrieve data access in a relational manner.
For those users new to the software development kit, you will find that the package comes complete with a single-user SQL engine, a high-performance 32-bit ODBC driver, and a host of utilities to aid in the design, development, and deployment of your applications.
Regardless of how you discovered the tool, you will like many of its features. I found the Data Dictionary File Ease utility a boon for those who want to create, modify, and monitor database and table definitions and statistics.
In development support, Pervasive includes an ActiveX interface complete with bound controls for list and combo boxes, to name a few. The data-source control can automatically interface with third-party data-aware controls such as APEX's True DBGRid Pro.
I found the Java APIs very useable and useful, as they followed a Java Database Connectivity-type approach for accessing data. I easily created a form that performed basic maintenance functions against a relational database file.
Should I decide that I need to make my video inventory accessible via my network or the Internet, for example, Pervasive has provided a tool to assist with that. Using the Inet Data Server, Pervasive made it easy to move my existing client/server software onto the Net.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost, and low-maintenance embeddable database solution, take a look at Pervasive Software's Pervasive.SQL SDK.
Tim Fielden is a free-lance writer in St. Paul, Minn. Send him e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE BOTTOM LINE: EXCELLENT
Pervasive.SQL SDK, Version 7
Pervasive Software's latest release proves that a database management system doesn't need to be large or expensive to handle many applications. Excellent relational capabilities blend with fast transaction-processing power and reduced administration requirements.
Pros: Inexpensive solution; excellent documentation; easy to use; scalable.
Cons: None found.
Pervasive Software Inc., Austin, Texas; (800) 287-4383, (512) 231-6000; www.pervasive.com.
Platforms: Servers: Windows NT 3.51 and 4.x, NetWare 3.12 and 4.x. Clients: Windows 95, Windows NT 4.x, Windows 3.x, OS/2 3.0 and 4.0, DOS 5.x and 6.x.
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