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What kind of software to use for storing lots of information?

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Hello everyone,

My wife and I like to do a lot of "worldbuilding" and was wondering how to store all that information? It's information that can be used for anything including DnD.

Examples would include something like a character profile. It lists things like;

name, where they are from, what they like to do, what they dont like, what kind of powers they may have, what their occupation is, who they are related too and who they know, what kind of weapons they carry, what kind of skills they have along with numerical stats that can be altered to fit whatever medium they go into but the catch is that I want all that information to be cross referenced to each other and everything else that is relevant

So I create a character named Bob and he's from the city of New York and his alignment is Chaotic Evil along with being a Mage.

I want it to function in a way where if I click New York, it will bring me to the New York page I have created previously (like a link or something?) and if I click on Chaotic Evil it will bring me to a page of all the other characters in the database that share the same alignment and if I click mage then it brings me to the page that explains what a mage is. Or if Bob has certain skills then you can click on it and it brings you to the skills database (along with explaining what the skill does).

Or if I create a creature profile and that create belongs in the swamp, I want to be able to click swamp and have it direct me to the page that explains what the swamp biome is like and other creatures commonly found there.

I basically want everything to be linked and have large sets of data that is separate but relational.

I don't have any coding experience or database experience though but I'm willing to learn if that helps the case here. Is a relational database what I'm looking for is that over kill? I've seen people suggest making a Wiki but I don't know if that would be the correct method either.

I've just been using Excel, Google Sheets, and Evernote to store my ideas and was wondering if there was a better or more effective method.

I have no idea how much information there will be so I don't know if I need something that scales upwards?

Thanks in advance.

Cool project! It sounds a lot like a wiki when you describe it, doesn't it? I thought of something like . Not sure what local software is best for that sort of thing though.

If you for the time being stick with a Google Sheet type approach but want to enhance it in various ways then check out . I like how you can make multiple filtered views for a sheet and toggle quickly between those views. Cells can also easily include image thumbnails. The free version has quite a lot of features.

Databases are good at this sort of thing. And these come in all sizes and shapes. Free and commercial.

These do require you to think of a structure for your characters, structures for locations, etc. Later when all that info is stored, you can use JOIN's, indexes and such to create the whole picture. That is what you have to do with relational database server software and the SQL query language. Free/open source database software you could opt to use: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle Express (10GByte limit), Microsoft SQL Server Express (10GByte limit). That are the most common ones and you can find lots(!) of information and tutorials for these and are available for most, if not all operating systems. Does your data exceeds the limit of either Oracle or Microsoft over time? Then it will be time to fork over pretty serious cash for the Microsoft product or get bound over a barrel with Oracle. But if you don't, their products are pretty nice and relatively easy to work with.

There are also a different form of database, generally known as NoSQL database software. These are great for collecting data in a less structured way. These are more often than not open source and have a community version available. Also enterprise versions, but these can be just as expensive as Microsoft/Oracle products. These often do impose limits on the operating systems they run on and you'll get better support on Linux or Mac then on Windows. The included client software support for Windows is usually sparse/spartan and 3rd party products that allow you to work properly is costly. Databases to consider here: MongoDB, Cassandra, CouchBase.

What will be a major pain though, getting the data from your Excel, sheets and EverNote into any of the database of your choosing.

Some 10 years ago I inherited a MediaWiki installation and I am maintaining it ever since. In my opinion it is great for making documents that don't require much alterations afterwards, such as manuals. But for keeping track of data, not so much. Not sure if is just MediaWiki, but the interface that comes standard with it is horrible. Unless you are are very well versed in the syntax of MediaWik, it is workable. If you're not, you might even call the interface disgustingly bad to downright evil.

Relational databases scale pretty well, NoSQL databases scale very well.

It allows you to store massive amounts of free text + structured texts + attributes and properties for each topic. You can connect everything as densely as you want, search it inline or in dedicated queries, or simply list all members of any given property/ attribute/ category etc.

No database knowledge necessary. You create all these structures on the fly, while typing yr text. The rendered text will format according to your CSS stlye sheet settings. You quickly switch between edit view and rendered view via shortcut or toolbar button. Shortcuts and toolbars can be customized.

You can easily link to, cross-reference, and also include topics and parts of topics. You can set up dynamic search pages or call up a search dialog. Tons of other features you may find useful for what you have in mind.

I've been using ConnectedText for over 10 years. My largest project has <5000 topics, some of them contain dozens of subheadings and tons of text. No performance problems at all.

It is not free. The installed version sells for 40 USD; an additional USB-option will cost you 20 USD on top.

The latest version is from 2015, however. Seems like development has come to a halt, I am afraid.

I use TreeDBNotes.  It, too, is sort of like a wiki system, but I like to think of it as a big electric notebook.  It's easier and more intuitive to use than OneNote.

You create custom tabs, and each tab has a tree full of notes that can contain text, richtext, images, hyperlinks, attachments, etc.
I even stopped using my browser to store links.  I just write notes in it and put the hyperlinks into the text just like you would on a forum.

So, I have tabs for all my network administration work, games, stories, even tidbits of information - anything and everything.  You can even have multiple TreeDB documents.  It's quite nice, but the developer hasn't done anything new in several years (despite my persistent emails which get no response).

I also use it to write stories, organizing the tree by chapters and sections. 

The great thing about the trees are that you can see every note/topic all the time.  Custom styles make it easy to apply the same styles over and over.  You can create note templates, use custom icons in the tree, capture clipboard, export to epub, even create an exe file out of a tree.  It's kind of like a really souped up version of KeyNote.

The free version does everything you want, and is quite stable; you only need to buy it if you want to use it for passwords, contacts, tasks and calendars and things (which aren't so nice, anyway).


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