For those who are not familiar with OpenOffice Base. OpenOffice Base is the equivalent of Microsoft Access in the OpenOffice Open source suite. While it is not as feature rich as Microsoft Access, it has been getting increasingly better and has some unique features that even Microsoft Access lacks. Unfortuantely you can't just convert an access mdb to its format like you can with other Open office suite products - Word to Writer Writer to Word etc. However you can open MS Access databases in OOBase, but you can't take advantage of the forms and reports in an MS Access Database.
One thing I always liked about Microsoft Access was the ease with which you could link to various different kinds of datasources and generate rapid queries and so forth. Microsoft Access has a particular feature called Access Projects which ties it very closely with Microsoft SQL Server. What an MS Access Project does is connect you with a specific SQL Server database and allow you to browse all the objects, create forms and reports etc against the objects etc. Unfortunately MS Access Project only works with SQL Server. For other datasources you need to use linked tables and can't make design changes and browse a database as you can with Access Projects.
We had looked at Openoffice Base a while ago and thought they are making progress, but still not quite good enough to put to daily use. When we revisited Open Office Base recently, we were surprised to find a couple of neat nuggets.
They now had a native SDBC driver for postgresql instead of having to rely on the jdbc or odbc driver. You can still use the jdbc and odbc bridges, and unfortunately for Mac OSX users, you are stuck using the jdbc driver.
They have this Access Project like feature except it was better than Access in that it worked with other server side dbs. Any that had a driver - e.g. PostgreSQL, MySQL etc.
It had a relational designer viewer similar to what Access had and when we opened up a PostgreSQL db it laid out all the relationships we had carefully defined before with foreign key constraints etc.
In the next couple of sections we'll lay out how to quickly setup OpenOffice, install the native PostgreSQL driver and JDBC PostgreSQL driver and connect to a PostgreSQL database in OpenOffice Base. Please forgive us for using Windows paths in this.
We figured it would be easier for people to follow since most users coming to this site are windows users and a lot of Linux users already use OO and paths are too different from Linux/Mac OSX installs.