On Nov 13, 2017, at 2:54 PM, Balaji Ramanathan <balaji.ramanat...@gmail.com> 
> In the past, I have maintained my data in an Access database

That’s the sort of application that the open source world just is not very good 
at recreating.  F/OSS people hear “database” and think SQLite or Postgres or 
MySQL, which is not at all the same thing as Access or FileMaker Pro.  The 
F/OSS world is disproportionately populated by developers; they think, “why 
would I want a GUI builder and a simplified scripting engine for a database?”

Yes, I’m painting with broad strokes here.  I’ve written multiple 
database-based applications in the past using both the F/OSS DBMSes listed 
above and FileMaker Pro *and* ye olde Borland Paradox.  I think there’s a place 
for both kinds of “database,” but the F/OSS world doesn’t seem to want to spend 
many resources on the latter sort.

I’ve just done some Googling, and have come up with two poor alternatives:


The primary problem with Kexi is that it’s tied into KDE, and hence isn’t 
easily portable to Windows and macOS.  You have to port over huge chunks of KDE 
to get it to work, so few people bother, hence the ports wither and die.  So, 
if you can run on Linux or run a Linux VM on your host, it may do fine for you. 
 Otherwise, you probably can’t use it.

The primary problem with Base is that it’s Java-based, which means it only 
works with the embedded Java HSQLDB library or with DBMSes it can connect to 
externally via client-server APIs or shims like JBDC and ODBC.  That makes it 
difficult to use with SQLite.  Not impossible, but certainly not as easy as, 
say, MySQL.  It’s probably your best bet if you want something like Access for 
free (both senses) and can give up on the SQLite requirement.

>    I am familiar with programming in C and Java, but none of my
> programming has been for the windows platform (except for the programming
> inside MS Access, which was done in VBA).  I have never developed GUI front
> ends with forms, buttons, etc.

The others’ recommendations for Tcl/Tk isn’t too bad.  Tk is uncommonly easy to 
write GUIs with.  The only easier *programmatic* method for building a GUI is 
HTML and its imitators.  (Adobe Flex, Microsoft XAML, etc.)

The main problem with Tk GUIs is that they tend not to look “native,” even if 
you use the new “themed Tk” widgets available since Tk 8.5: 


Additionally, Tcl is a brain-bender of a language.  It is not much like any 
other programming language.  It’s vaguely like a Lisp-flavored C shell, but it 
takes an experienced eye to make even that tenuous connection.  Expect a 
learning curve.

I’m glad I learned Tcl, long ago, because it broke my mold of what a 
programming language had to be.  It’s therefore worth doing even if you never 
touch Tcl again after learning it.
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