Of all the basic computer applications, data-base managers are the most fascinating, because they come in so many guises and so many strengths, and the quality varies so widely from one product to the next.
We have before us today an outstanding example of the breed, which brings user-friendly relational data-base management to the Windows environment.
Approach, published by a company of the same name, is a powerful program that manages to be a pleasure to use. It also has some unusual ideas.
It's the first data-base manager with no native file format; it reads, and creates, dBase III-plus or dBase IV, Paradox or Oracle SQL files. You can create forms and reports, called "views," that extract selected data from the files.
Most data bases will import these formats with varying degrees of success after a little huffing and puffing. Approach didn't just import a 715-record dBase III-plus file -- it greeted it like a long-lost friend and sorted it fast.
When you create a new database within the program, you select the format you wish to use. Creation of a data base is simple. Everything is handled through icons and dialogue boxes. There is no programming language to learn.
If you're running Windows, and you need a data base, it would be hard to do better than Approach. And its $399 list price is most reasonable.