Database Strategy and Methodology
There are many database environments from which to choose and new options arriving all the time. Advancement is inevitable and, in technology specifically, that advancement comes at a high rate. Because of this situation, it is important to have a development methodology implemented so as to not be "led of course" and waste time pursuing flashy new tools promising benefits that may or may not be realized.
Desired qualities for an OIP database development tool:
- Ability to communicate with other systems and formats
- Ease of implementation
- Ease and speed of development
- Cross-platform development
- Affordable - taking into account development time, user experience, etc.
- Strong user community
OIP has long been a FileMaker-based office for its database tool. FileMaker continues to lead its competitors in the workgroup database development space because of its robust design, yet approachability and ease of use. It can be used easily by novices and expand to support large workgroups with complex needs. It is not intended to be an enterprise database tool - the University already spends plenty of money on that. Instead, FileMaker implements standards-based connectivity options to connect to enterprise systems as well as other systems, file formats, etc.
One of the great benefits for seasoned developers is that it is designed as a rapid-development tool, so it saves great amounts of time because standard tools and processes are already built in, but is self-contained so no other technologies are needed for implementation of solutions.
Therefore, OIP will continue to utilize FileMaker as its core database development tool.
For web pages with database back-end needs, OIP will utilize the free and ubiquitous PHP language for its connectivity between FileMaker and websites. PHP is the most commonly used environment of its class and there are massive amounts of information available on development, as well as pre-built tools and applications to snap in to any solution.