OpenOffice.org includes a number of tools to both interface with database servers and perform tasks such as enter and edit data. However, for most day-to-day users who have humble needs, creating such a setup is too complicated. It requires some knowledge of how databases work on a technical level.
Perhaps because of this, SUSE includes Rekall within its Linux distribution. This tool is merely a front end for a database, but it includes a module that will automatically set up a database server, making the creation of databases as straightforward as it is with Microsoft Access. In fact, Rekall takes a similar design-based approach to the creation of tables and forms, so anyone who has previously created a database under Access will feel right at home.
As supplied with SUSE Linux and using the built-in database driver, Rekall lets you create relational databases. This is a type of database technology ideal for quickly creating catalogs of information, such as inventory lists. In addition to making database creation simple and quick, relational databases let you easily query data to produce reports tailored to individual needs. For example, you could use an inventory list database to produce a report showing all products added for a certain geographical region on a certain date.
In this chapter, we'll work through an example of using Rekall to create a simple database cataloging a collection of music. You can use the same techniques to create any kind of relational database.