To illustrate how Rekall works, we're going to set up a database for cataloging a music collection. This involves creating two key items: a table, which will store the data, and a form, for entering and viewing data. For this simple example, we'll create only one table and one form. More ambitious database projects may include many tables and forms, depending on their needs and size.
As with the other OpenOffice.org applications, the key to Rekall is its wizards, which walk you through practically any task. This includes setting up your database file, tables, and forms.
We'll use a wizard now to set up a database.
In Rekall, select File ® New. You're asked whether you want to bypass the wizard and set up a database manually. You might want to choose this option after you have more experience with Rekall. For now, click Next to start the wizard.
The first choice to make is where Rekall should store its files, as shown in Figure 27-2. These aren't the database files, but rather the files Rekall uses to store its own data, such as any forms you create. You can store the files in your home directory or create a new directory beneath that for the database data. You'll also need to give this file a name. You should keep the filename short and avoid putting spaces into it. Click Next to continue.
Figure 27-2. The first step is to let Rekall know where you want to store its own files.
Instead of spaces in filenames, you can use an underscore (_). This can be found on the key next to the zero at the top of the keyboard.
You're asked where you want to store various kinds of database objects: in the database itself or in separate files. For our simple example, storing the data within the database itself means that there will be fewer files to lose, so select that option. Click Next.
The next choice is which database you want to connect to. This option isn't relevant to us, and there's only one option within SUSE Linux, which is Rekall XBase/XBSQL Driver. This means that you'll effectively generate database data files as and when you need them on your own hard disk, rather than connecting to a central server (which is how high-end databases work). Click Next.
Select the directory where these database files should be stored. Once again, you can select your home directory or the directory you created within it to hold your database files. Click Next.
Click Finish. You'll be told that, "The server lacks an object table." Click Yes to create one.
You should find yourself at a complicated-looking window with several options down the left side. Don't worry. The next steps are surprisingly simple. The first task is to create a table to hold your data.
In the version of Rekall I used, the window that appeared at this stage was too small. Simply clicking and dragging its handles was enough to make it large enough to use.