I’m going to try to help, but don’t get me wrong : for me it’s not important whether someone (you or anybody else) likes SQLNotes or not. I like it (not everything, but many things) and I can TRY to help you understand why. Maybe you’ll find reasons to like it too… But that is your business.
The biggest problem for me is that I do not basically 'get it'. By this I mean a core functionality and purpose. It basically seems to be a collection of searchable grids, which is fine for spreadsheets and WP tables, but it does not shout a purpose at me.
IMO, SQLNotes is not like the other software you described. And this is why I like it. It's not as obvious at first, true, but it's nevertheless pretty logical and coherent… and not as complicated as you might think. You just need to put a bit
of energy to understand its system. It shouldn't take you long : with the documentation, it took me only an hour and I was ready to go and create my first grids. I had to spend some more time fiddling around afterwards, but it was fun to discover all the possibilities.Definition? To me
SQLNotes function and purpose is fairly easy to summarize: as a freeform database with a very flexible UI, its function is to allow you to store, organize, search, filter, display a great variety of data type (numbers and text and even images and eventually other media -- that's already possible in a way through links) for different purposes. SQLNotes probably works best if you are willing to be a bit creative. Otherwise it means that you'll have to use only what's already there and not take advantage of all its potential.
In other words : With SQLNotes YOU decide what kind of data you want to store, organize, manipulate, display. Because it's flexible and polyvalent, you can display-present that data/info in many DIFFERENT WAYS: tables, outlines, graphs or pivot charts, calendar, Text, and eventually mindmaps etc. Because of these characteristics, SQLNotes can fulfill many DIFFERENT PURPOSES that have to do with DATA MANIPULATION: scientific research, time management, budget planning, etc. With a bit of creativity, you can do a lot, and you're not as bound by the manufacturers' vision of how to do this or that, and your data can flow organically between different categories, views, projects, etc. Don't get me wrong: there IS an inherent structure to SQLNotes, but it's (or "it will be" -- since it's still in beta!) at the same time sufficiently "loose" and sufficiently "rich" to allow it to fit one's needs.
Does that help??
To give an idea of programs I do 'get' (noting that this is just my own idea about the prog which leads me to use it), here are some of those I use regularly..
Yes, some of the programs you cite have a very specific purposes and some of them "force" a fairly specific vision of how one should structure or display a particular type of data. SQLNotes is not that
restrictive (although it does
impose certain restrictions, obviously, since it's a system). And that's what I like... It almost makes me feel as if I was the coder... when almost all I have to do is actually use a pretty flexible UI. See what I did in less than 10min. there
SQLnotes seems to be designed as having great flexibility and a wide range of functions from the begiinning.
But don’t forget that SQLNotes can be used with a very very simple interface. Again : YOU decide. (see superboyac’s posts)
Maybe too wide a range for me to have a clear idea of what I would use it for. Even the list from PPLandry was a list.
Again : one just needs to decide : time organizer? todo list? project management ? research tool ? So be it! Some templates are there and more will of course be available to give people ideas, inspiration -- it is, of course necessary and Pierre knows that. But in the end, the users are in control.
Finally an app, a PIM that gives users more control on their data! (INfoSelect has a lot in common with SQLNotes. But it’s much more expensive, and much less flexible… IMO)
My next issue is immediately obvious usability.
I do use very complex progs and I do have experience of designing and using databases, including DBAse II-IV, FoxPro, Access, SQLserver, SQLite and sometimes have to hand edit mysql files. I've used many spreadsheets - VisiCals, SuperCalc, Lotus 123, Wingz and Excel from its original version. I can't say I have ever liked doing any of this and only do it when I have to. I do find that modern programs are much easier to use than those from 20 years ago and do appreciate that ease of use. What it means is that I can get into something complex (though the availability of documentation always helps), but I do need a very good reason before I will. And I never did use Ecco (and nor do I intend to start now, 10 years after its demise)
Well, yes, you generally do need some kind of problem to resolve to want to use a specific software and spend energy... Unless you’re just curious about software in general...
As for me, I find I often (but not always : it depends on the tasks and the purpose of the software) spend more time trying to circumvent and creatively overcome software limitations than spending time trying to understand how to use more flexible ones.
Ease of use is important, and I hope that SQLNotes will become more and more easy to use (Pierre will possibly start working on a beginner interface). But what appears easy is often very dependent on the context and the individual. And so I don't find SQLNotes particularly hard to grasp, but YES, it does lack good documentation right now, and some icons can be a bit unfamiliar. But the documentation already available should still help you with the first steps. Then there's the forum.
I can see that SQLnotes should be able to import images; but I could not see how to do it. I could not see how to drag and drop stuff from outside to within the prog, except text to the htm box. It would not import any of my databases without asking me to set up equivalent fields - I'd really want it to do it all automatically and just give me the option to do it manually or change it later if I wanted.
You can link images to the database. Drag and drop anything into a grid and it will create an item or subitem. If it's an image, just open the image viewer (view--> image viewer), and you'll be able to see your image. Granted : multimedia is not SQLNotes strength right now. But Drag and drop (files to the grid) works very well. What do you mean when you says "drag and drop stuff from outside to within the prog" ?
If it imported and exported to a wide range of programs automatically, that would make it more enticing. Ideally, that would include ToDoList, Calimanjaro (iCal) as well as ALL the usual suspects. If it could mostly be done from the mouse that would be much better.
SQLNotes will be able to import/export more easily very soon. Pierre could probably say when...
I'm eagerly waiting for better import export functionality too. But one thing at a time. Outlook is next on the list. And much more coming.
I'd certainly want items to be hierarchical and tagable.
Hierarchies? Well, nothing could be easier in SQLNotes. You didn't find that obvious? Have you installed the software and opened the default grids? Open the "Welcome" grid (click on the "welcome" tab) and you'll see a hierarchy. You can use icons or the alt+arrow shortcut to promote/demote items. (Keyboard Shortcuts are not well documented... yet.)
Tags? There are different way of tagging right now (using fields, or keywords in the category field), but Pierre is working on yet another method with a special "multi selection" field.
Easy additions to data and easy changes of views.
I find it incredibly easy to add data. Click (or press f2) in a field and type! Add as many columns/fields as you want.
Change views : For that, you can either create as many grids as you want, and/or use the column filters, the date filters, the alphanumeric filters, etc.
I'd quite like a 'View' grid/filter where I could specify what I wanted shown and it did it. I can understand the prog as a huge personal database; but to use it, I would need many input and output templates.
You can have as many input or output templates as you want. There are forms for input.
Again : create grids for output, and/or you could learn how to use the numerous filters.
More user friendly filters are in the making. But there are already many easy to use filters using the GUI : date, Alphanumeric, column filters, etc.
And all of this would have to be done intuitively and very easily.
I agree. I think we're all working to make suggestions to improve SQLNotes' user friendliness. My personal gripe is that it's sometime hard to understand immediately what's affecting the displaying of items in a grid (because there are many possible combinations of options). If you have ideas, tell Pierre. (You could also have a look at mantis and the SQLNotes forum to see others suggestions)
I would also have doubts about how much reliance I would want to put on a prog relying on Access as its base. MS were near to abandoning it; they decided to keep it going but have introduced a few weaknesses in the latest version. I can see greater strength in SQLserver, SQLite or mysql.
IMO, there's absolutely nothing wrong with JET 4.0, but SQLnotes is not Access/JET dependant. It can use different backend and Pierre is already working on a SQL Server version.
If it doesn't do all of this, then I would need to be clear about what it does better than any competing product (and be clear that I needed this).
All what? I'm not sure I understand... I can tell you though that I've tried Ultra Recall, Mybase, and many other "freeform" database, and SQLNotes is the only one that I actually believe in. It's still in beta, but IMO it's already got more potential... So I'm willing to wait and give support to help it become the great application I hope it will become.
That was long… Sorry.