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Overview & Philosophy

Since starting OpenBase in 1991, we have had the privilege of seeing quite a few database applications. A common challenge is how to present complex database information so that it is easy for end-users to navigate. While recent developments in Mac OS X have made multiple windows easier to organize, our informal research suggests that using multiple interrelated windows are still confusing for computer operators. OpenBase Forms takes another approach.

OpenBase Forms incorporates a scrolling panel interface that allows users to navigate hierarchical information, while always knowing where they are in the information hierarchy. From a starting panel, users can branch to other panels containing related information. As the user navigates, the interface creates a storyboard, which reads from left to right.

For example, a contact panel may have a button allowing the user to bring up a list of related orders. The order panel will appear to the right in the window. The user may then want to get account information on the order, or more detail on the items purchased. Clicking on the appropriate button brings up another panel and attaches it to the storyboard. In this way, the user is able to navigate complex structures of information easily in a single window.

OpenBase Forms programs are stored centrally in the database. The OpenBase Forms client reads the application from the database at runtime and presents it to the user. This completely eliminates the problem of how to distribute new versions of your application to users as you update it.