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Qercus

   0.24b2 (Beta)  

KDE Database

Score 63%
Qercus
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Qercus
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Qercus
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Homepage:  Link
Forum:  Link
Depends on  Qt 4.x
Downloads:  614
Submitted:  Sep 5 2009
Updated:  Apr 1 2012

Description:

Qercus is a free-form desktop database that allows records to contain an arbitrary selection of fields, and supports text indexing and searching. Several data types are recognised, including text, numbers, audio (e.g. mp3), images and web addresses. In Qercus databases the data is structured in various ways to allow many forms of searches: For example by data value (float, integer, word search etc.), by the names (tags) of field and record types (which can be declared arbitrarily), and by using parent-child relationships between records. This high level of flexibility makes Qercus well-suited for storing notes and observations. It can also be used for conventional 'card-index' databases such as cataloguing collections. It can be used for storing notes on any topic, business contacts, places that you have visited ... The inspiration for this software is Blackwell Idealist (long discontinued, still no comparable replacement), which academic users in particular found to be very useful. Example databases for books, technical papers, and podcasts are supplied.

Fields may be inserted, re-ordered, or changed to a different type arbitrarily in any record using buttons to the left of each field (picture 1). The macro-button field makes it possible to embed searches and other commands within any record to assist navigation. For example, a macro-button to find all records of a particular type can easily be added. Each record and field type has its own editable colour/ style (picture 2). Picture 3 shows the search Window (on Unbuntu 11.04). Up to six hit-lists (records found by searches) are available.

This software is distributed as a zip file. and was developed and tested on Kubuntu Lucid. To make it work Python 2.5, 2.6 or 2.7, Canonical Storm (deb package python-storm), Xapian Python binaries, and PyQt4 must be installed. The author would welcome contact from anyone who is interested in working on this project. The forum link is a MediaWiki page on sourceForge.




Changelog:

Update 16-Apr-2012: The bug on the Ubuntu Unity desktop described below is fixed in the 12.04 release.

v0.24b2 - Fixes to path handling, particularly for the "any url/file" type field. These should not affect Linux users - the mods. are to permit use of backslashes in filenames on Windows machines. You can, for example, create a button that opens a directory with MS explorer, Nautilus etc.

v0.24b1 - Shift-F5 keyboard shortcut added: Opens search dialogue ready for a text search. Keyboard focus handling improved for more convenient operation on laptops. Search dialogues have new checkbox labelled 'Switch': If checked there will be a switch to the hit-list selected for search results when the dialogue closes.

v0.23b3 - External programs specified by Define-Configure (for external mp3 player, web-browser etc.) can now take command line parameters. For Windows users, exe build scripts improved.

v0.23b2 - Minor change to make menu work better with Unity desktop (tested on Ubuntu 11.10). For Windows users, revised scripts for producing a stand-alone exe. Note: Problems associated with the Unity desktop remain - menu entries still do not grey out once black. This may cause confusion and strange behaviour.

V0.23b1 - This is the first beta release, produced after much fine tuning. There are still some greyed out features that are not completed, but the core functions work well. Fields can now be opened for editing by double clicking with the mouse. Functions for re-assigning fields and records, and for deleting empty fields and records, are now available.

V0.22a1 - Implements macro commands. These are embedded in fields of base type macro and can be placed in any record. Available commands are FindChildren (of current record), SearchByRecordType, SearchByText, SearchByRecordNumber and SelectHitLists. The ViewPanel (i.e. list of records on left hand side of window) now resizes properly. If no bugs are found, this will be released as a beta in a month or two.

v0.21a3 - Improved unicode handling in natural-format import/export. Fields that are matched in search operations are now identified on-screen in displayed records.

v0.21a2 - fixes a minor bug (hour-glass cursor instead of pointer).

v0.21a1 - Usability improvements and some bug fixes. New configuration menu to allow external browsers to be used. Four new field types - including field types for audio (MP3 etc.) and PDF files. These have play/view buttons. Existing databases will be modified automatically when opened (some additional tables are needed). Recommend making back-ups before opening. New 256x256 pixel icons for Ubuntu and Windows (Windows 7 compatible).

v0.20a2 - A few minor bug fixes and improvements. An hour-glass cursor is now shown during import, export and re-index operations.

v0.20a1 - This project has reached a major milestone with the implementation of word indexing and searching (uses the Xapian library). Import and export of files in a simple text format (Idealist Natural) is now supported.

v0.13a5 - Various minor mods and bug fixes to allow Qercus to run properly on more operating systems. Tested on Ubuntu 11.04, Kubuntu 11.04, Windows XP and Windows 7/64. Scripts for creating Windows .exe builds now also supplied in the .zip file (.exe build not supplied).

v0.13a4 - One minor bug fix. Added 'tree' button to make it easier to find parents or children of currently-displayed record.

v0.13a3 - Minor bug fix to GUI. Set up project page on Sourceforge with MediaWiki forum.

v0.13a2 - Document Identifier (DOI) fields now display without crashes. Unless any more bugs are found, there will be no further updates for some time now.

v0.13a1 - Full RGB colour options added. Project renamed to Qercus (formerly Knowledge). Parent-Child hierarchy between records is now available. The database format has changed, but existing databases can be converted to the new format with the aid of a script (supplied).

v0.12a4 - Minor tweaking. Screenshots updated.

v0.12a2 - the 'Add Record' function now works again. Apologies for introducing an error in v0.12a1. Unless more bugs are found there will be no updates for some time now.

Several minor bugs in v0.1a fixed. In version v0.12a, 'confirm-record-delete', and 'duplicate record' features have been implemented. A rudimentary desktop icon is now supplied.

The prototype has come to fruition with the release of the first alpha, 0.1a. Improvements include working search facilities (except text) using an embedded database engine. Many usability improvements, including a separate panel for showing hit-lists have been introduced. An example database is included.




LicenseGPL
(Qercus)
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 Advantages?

 
 by bonaire on: Sep 6 2009
 
Score 50%

Hello,

please forgive my ignorance, but which advantages will there be, if I use Knowledge instead of Tellico?

cu


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 Re: Advantages?

 
 by agkdb on: Sep 8 2009
 
Score 50%

I have tried to capture (and extend) the best features of Blackwell Idealist (no longer available) - a very efficient and useful Windows 95 program which I have used as a research tool for 15 years. The desirable features of Idealist are:

- Indexing of all records and extremely fast searching for words and phrases in databases containing thousands of records.

- Records may contain any number of fields of any type - and each field has its own style (colour/font etc.).

- The possibility of including pages of notes within the database - for example I can create a record which acts like an index of topics (using buttons to run macros for search and goto operations). If you have a large database this is an invaluable facility - it lets you structure your data.

- Every database has a home record - and there is a button to take you straight there.

- A very simple interface - nothing more than a page display of the current record with the fields in rows with everything instantly visible. Idealist also has way of presenting records in a more elaborate way, but I have never found it useful. Idealist also lets you see an overview of the current hit list (i.e. the records returned by the most recent search) - which is occasionally useful.

- Flexibility with regard to the type of of objects in each field. Here Idealist shows its age - now we can easily do more. It ought to be possible to write plug-ins for all kinds of object. For example fields could contain a caption and a link to an MP3 file - which can be played by clicking a button.

I must emphasise that the Knowledge prototype is designed to illustrate the ideas - the indexing and macro facilities are not implemented. While there is a lot of work to do, it might be remembered that Idealist fitted onto just one floppy disk.

To answer the question, I looked at Tellico and I thought that it would work well for cataloguing a CD collection (for example), but it does not serve all of the purposes listed above - although it certainly does some of them.


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 change the colors

 
 by linuxoidoz on: Jun 1 2010
 
Score 50%

if you're serious, change the colors. No need to copy win95 style in 2010.


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 Re: change the colors

 
 by agkdb on: Jun 1 2010
 
Score 50%

Thank you for the comment. The colours for each record type and for each field type can be chosen under the Define menu. There are a dozen or so options, including 'default', in which case they will be taken from the desktop defaults.

Increasing the range of available styles (fonts as well as colours) is something for the future.


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 Re: Re: change the colors

 
 by linuxoidoz on: Jun 2 2010
 
Score 50%

I haven't installed your package, I only looked at the screen shots and their colors (bright red, yellow, cyan etc.) scared the hell out of me.


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 Re: change the colors

 
 by peroxid on: Jun 29 2010
 
Score 50%

Sure. This can be awesome, but needs a litle of marketing.


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 Nice app

 
 by Yetanotherlogin on: Jun 30 2010
 
Score 50%

I assume you also took at look at Ecco for inspiration.

If someone can add an in-place outliner as easy to use as Ecco's, that would be awesome :-)


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 Re: Nice app

 
 by agkdb on: Jun 30 2010
 
Score 50%

Thank you for the suggestion. I've never seen ECCO, but have just looked it up on Wikipedia. I haven't quite understood what the outline facility does.

One of the uncompleted menu options is for an 'Overview' facility, which might be a similar thing. The intention is that in overview mode one selected field type (e.g. Author) for all of the records in the viewed hit-list(s) will be shown in the main pane. This is another idea from Blackwells' Idealist program.


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 Re: Re: Nice app

 
 by Yetanotherlogin on: Jun 30 2010
 
Score 50%

agkdb > I've never seen ECCO, but have just looked it up on Wikipedia. I haven't quite understood what the outline facility does.

Actually, Ecco has three views (which also act as input forms): Calendar, Contacts, and Notepads (the yellow, in-place outliners). The UI is really a user-friendly interface to the underlying database.

EccoPro is deadware since 1997 and the only handset it syncs with is Palm... but some of use still cling to it because of its unparalled in-place/one-pane outliner, and because it lets users add as many columns/folders as they wish, so a piece of information ("item") can be searched/viewed through different columns. You can also add the equivalent of triggers so that adding an item will run a script that does... whatever you want.

> One of the uncompleted menu options is for an 'Overview' facility, which might be a similar thing. The intention is that in overview mode one selected field type (e.g. Author) for all of the records in the viewed hit-list(s) will be shown in the main pane. This is another idea from Blackwells' Idealist program.

Sounds like the idea. If you have a Windows host around, you could download Ecco and take a quick look:

1. If you don't already have one, sign up for a Yahoo account
2. Join the Ecco_Pro group (more active than the original EccoPro group):
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ecco_pro/
3. Head for its Files section: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ecco_pro/files/

We keep waiting for a company to write the sequel, but so far... We had some hope with Chandler, but no go. InfoQube is trying to rewrite Ecco, but it's just not as good (slow, clunky UI, written in VB6 which itself has been deadware since 1998.)


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 Update on progress

 
 by agkdb on: Jul 28 2010
 
Score 50%

The first thing to say is that I wrote an article on this project for dot kde:

http://dot.kde.org/2010/06/29/knowledge-different-approach-database-desktop

In response to this article there were over 100 downloads of version 0.12a4.

To complete the project we need to find a database engine that stores objects of variant type in tables, and has a text index/search facility with incremental update. An SQL database with an ORM can be used for storing the tables (what we do now), but with a bit of thought a pure SQL database implementation ought to be possible. The missing piece in the jigsaw is the text index/search facility. Other developers must have met this requirement, but I can't find much evidence of this on the www. I could try to stitch Xapian and SQlite (or mongoDB) together myself, but this is a rather large undertaking. At the moment I have no clear strategy - any comments or offers of help would be welcome.


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 Re: Update on progress

 
 by agkdb on: Oct 3 2010
 
Score 50%

Recently I've become aware of the Sphinx text indexing/searching software.
http://sphinxsearch.com/

The latest beta of Sphinx has an RT (Real Time) Index facility which allows indexed fields to be individually updated on the fly - just what we need. It supports other types of fields (integer etc.) and is also compatible with SQL databases via ODBC. As far as I can see Storm does not work via ODBC - so the database storage would have to be re-written.


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.

 really promising...

 
 by kjikaqawej on: Jun 7 2011
 
Score 50%

This looks really promising as a replacement for filemaker too, though I haven't tried it yet. Gonna build it in a minute, see how that goes. ;)


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 Re: really promising...

 
 by agkdb on: Jun 10 2011
 
Score 50%

Thank you for the feedback. Now that indexing and import/export are implemented I hope it is possible to recognise that this type of database offers something quite different to the databases in the various office suites - and something which is very useful.

I am probably not going to put much more into developing Qercus because of lack of time and other projects, and also because it now meets most of my needs. If I can find the time in the next few months I will implement some more base types for fields:
'Audio', which will play a specified MP3 file via phonon when a button in the field is clicked.
'Launch', which will run a specified application when a button in the field is clicked. A mechanism for passing data to the application from the Qercus field would be nice.
'PDF', which will be similar to the Www display-method, but will display a PDF file. Ideally, there would be a mechanism for indexing (perhaps a button in the field to do this). There's a library called Poppler that would do all this, but the Python interface does not look very mature.

The Python code works quite well, but was only intended as a prototype. To make a really polished application will need some volunteers .. if there are any volunteers with suitable skills I would be glad to hear from you.


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