Database

When Tracker was first developed, the database that was used by most applications was dBase III, developed by Ashton-Tate. dBase was then purchased by Borland but the .DBF structure was the standard in the industry. Although the dBase database had many advantages like simplicity, speed and flexibility, it had a number of drawbacks for use in a true relational environment. At the same time, Microsoft released Access 1.0. When Access was first released, it used a Joint Engine Technology (JET) database engine and was vastly criticized primarily due to its late arrival on the scene and its complexity and speed. But with this complexity came great power and features. With version 3.0 of Visual Basic, Microsoft added support for the JET database engine and we migrated Tracker from a dBase database to a JET database. Shortly afterward, Microsoft released newer versions of their 16-bit JET, including JET 2.0 and 2.5, and Tracker was updated to take advantage of the new functionality of these new database engines.

With the release of the 32-bit versions of Windows such as Windows 95 and later, Microsoft also released newer versions of the JET database engine, including version 3.0 and 3.5 that were part of Access 95 and Access 97, and later JET 4.0 which was included in Access 2000, Access XP and Access 2003. Once again, when Tracker was updated to use the newer 32-bit technology, these newer JET database engines where used. Currently, Microsoft recommends JET as the database of choice for networks with up to 20 workstations.

Recently, Microsoft has released a new database engine called the SQL Server Express. This new engine has some advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that it supports a limited number of users; however, the largest advantage is that it is easy to migrate from SQL Express to Microsoft SQL Server. Although this can be an expensive proposition for some offices, the ability to migrate to SQL Server can be a big advantage for a very large office that has more than 20 workstations.