HanDBase 3.0 Offers Peer-to-Peer Data Synchronization

DDH Software has launched HanDBase 3.0, the latest version of its handheld database application. The new version offers peer-to-peer synchronization of data, scalable multi-user collaboration, and VFS support. The company is also offering several new add-on programs, including a Forms Designer and Sync Exchange for Microsoft Access and for ODBC data files.

One of the most important new features in HanDBase 3.0 is peer-to-peer synchronization via infrared or Bluetooth. This means, for example, that a doctor can beam-sync their updated patient data to their replacement as they make their shift changes without having to use a central database server.

HanDBase is now scalable, which allows users to merge their separate database files into a single consolidated one. For the first time, an unlimited number of users can work on the same HanDBase data file concurrently, and changes made by each user will merge together during synchronization to form a single database file shared by all users.

It includes several new encryption options, including the ability to encrypt only the fields that are private and sensitive information.

This version also adds Virtual File System (VFS) support, which lets users to store and work from databases on expansion memory cards, and a new user interface that includes color view options, graphical menus, action buttons and pop-up tool menus.

HanDBase Forms is a new desktop app that lets users create forms using drag-and-drop that can then be used on the handheld.

Sync Exchange is an add-on that offers two-way synchronization with backend database programs. There are three versions of the program: Sync Exchange for Microsoft Access, Sync Exchange for Filemaker Pro (Mac OS), and Sync Exchange for ODBC data-sources.

DDH Software offers several different versions of HanDBase 3.0

HanDBase Plus includes the HanDBase database for both the handheld device and Windows PC, plus the two-way synchronization conduit that merges changes made to a database, down to the record level, between a handheld and desktop computer. It is $30.

HanDBase Professional offers the same applications as HanDBase Plus, but adds the Multi-user syncing technology, plus the Sync Exchange for Access (PC) or Filemaker Pro (Mac), and the HanDBase Forms designer programs. It is $40.

HanDBase Enterprise includes the same applications as HanDBase Plus, but also includes the multi-user syncing technology, the HanDBase Forms program, HanDBase Sync Exchange for ODBC data-sources, and the HanDBase ODBC Driver that lets users access live data for queries, reports, forms, charts, and mail-merge without having to perform any file-type conversions. It costs $100.

All registered users of HanDBase are eligible for a free update to the new v3.0, and for those wanting to upgrade to HanDBase Professional may do so at a special introductory price of $15.

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Thanks for the coverage!

dhaupert @ 7/25/2002 3:30:41 PM #
Thanks Ed for giving our release such great coverage! Hoping the program meets all user's expectations.

Now if only our servers could keep up with the demand for the update ;)

Dave Haupert

Thanks for the effort!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 3:45:21 PM #
This is an exciting development!
peer to peer, multiuser sync, forms!
I'll stop salivating now.

thank you

RE: Thanks for the coverage!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 4:31:08 PM #
This seems like a real step forward. Does anyone have any comments as to how this product compares to Thinkdb? Is it worth making the switch?
RE: Thanks for the coverage!
drw @ 7/25/2002 5:01:34 PM #
I will be buying this when I get a color smartphone. One feature I could use is tool to clear all the checkboxes from all records. Another is to reset all the values in a specific number field to Zero. This would be handy for ordering lists which get cleared out after the order is placed.

RE: Thanks for the coverage!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 10:48:36 PM #
>Is it worth making the switch?

Yes. Great product. Great price. And great people at DDH. If M$ was run like DDH, Gates would own the other half of the world.

Eagerly Awaited!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 5:06:32 PM #
Whew, I was getting worried when v 3.0 would appear. It sounds great. Now, does it support the Handera 330's extended display screen?

Forms on the handheld?

ardee @ 7/25/2002 7:17:20 PM #
To clarify, the forms designer permits the user to design forms that run on the handheld, not (just) on the PC, right?

RE: Forms on the handheld?
Ed @ 7/25/2002 8:22:18 PM #

News Editor
RE: Forms on the handheld?
ardee @ 7/26/2002 3:07:24 PM #
OK, I've held off for 1.5 years in choosing a DB app for the Palm. Couldn't decide which to pick so I procrastinated. I want to sync with Mac sometimes and PC sometimes and I want custom forms on the Palm and I don't have a lot of money to spend.

For the first time, one product looks like it is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the pack and priced reasonably for the features I seek.

This looks like the one to get!

Upgrade price

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 8:56:07 PM #
The latest release looks very attractive. However the price of the upgrade to the Pro version isn't very logical. Registered users get a free upgrade to HanDBase Plus. HandDBase Plus is normally $30. The Professional version costs $10 more. So why are registered users being charged $15 for the upgrade to the Pro version?
RE: Upgrade price
dhaupert @ 7/29/2002 9:44:38 AM #
Sorry for the confusion- the regular price of HanDBase Pro is actually 49.99. We're having an introductory special for 39.99. The normal upgrade price will be 19.99 to pro, but that too is on special for 14.99, hence the discrepancy. Indeed it would be cheaper to purchase HanDBase Pro right now rather than to buy Plus and the upgrade, but this is a temporary introductory special, akin to having a sale price on software.

Hope this helps!

Dave Haupert

Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 9:01:39 PM #
I have already downloaded and installed HanDBase 3.0 after having fallen in love with the 2x version. I am experiencing some significant problems. The calculated fields are going haywire! For example, in my checkbook program, which functioned perfectly before in the 2x version, the calculated fields are inaccurate. To compound problems, every time I switch between the multiple records to see the detail in one entry (Edit record), the calculated field changes drastically. In my first checkbook entry in which the $5.00 deposit was entered, and for which the new balance should be $5.00, it is now $30,784.00!
I cannot now trust any of my calculated fields, and I can't check any 3.0 documentation because the site indicates it is unavailable.

I'm wishing I had stayed with version 2x and suggest that my wife, who also has a license program, do likewise.

RE: Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0
ardee @ 7/26/2002 3:11:03 PM #
Hmmm. Sounds like I should wait until they iron out the .0 bugs. Calculated fields are important to me too. Thanks for the tip!

RE: Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 3:57:17 PM #
Not to make light of your problems with 3.0, but I have to say that my conversion has gone smoothly. I have about 50 databases, some, but not many, with calculated fields. I haven't had time to work with it much, but so far no problems.
RE: Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0
kilo94 @ 7/26/2002 4:06:47 PM #
I love the new inteface, but I'm having the same problems with old databases in the new format. All of my linked databases are not showing old data in the linked fields (only new ones I put in). I'm also having all of my cumulative/calculated fields adding up incorrectly. Real bummer, b/c there doesn't seem to be away to go back...

I support PIC and Palmvenue; Visit http://www.palmvenue.com/Forum/
Yes there are problems
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 8:15:51 PM #
I am a long time users of HandBase - great product.
With the release of HandBase 3.0, I was so excited, given the addition of forms designer.

Unfortunately - the forms designer comes with HandBase Professional ( if you are a normal 'plus' user like me, you need to pay the upgrade price ). heheh, 1 year ago, I asked whether a customised form utility would be added someday!

After installing HandBase 3.0, and not checking the boards, I updated all my old DB and delete them... 'eek' - i thought as i was doing this.

It looks different with a few new options, but what I like so much about handbase is its SIMPLICITY, SMALL SIZE and QUICK LOADIng.

Unfortunately, its bug riddled ( maybe too early release and with no documentation on their web site ). All linked DB are quashed. A bug when adding new entries ( after updating an old DB ) automatically adds the same data to each field. The HB desktop has bugs too.

With forms, making your own is quite cumbersone, and doesn't support the fonts of the Sony Clie. Its also bug riddled too.

I would wait. Disappointing lee, registered users can't re-download previous versions of handbase ie 2.0, so i suggest keep your previous versions.

I was about to buy the pro version, but would wait a while. I have a sad feeling that I will be sitting with handbase 2.0 for a long time <--- its still a fantastic product

RE: Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 8:44:16 PM #
If anyone reinstalls version 2.x and discovers that the old program can read the 'converted to 3.0 database formats', please let us know!!!!


RE: Having Problems with HanDBase 3.0
dhaupert @ 7/29/2002 9:48:05 AM #
Thanks for your comments- we made it so that users could run both 2.7x and 3.0 simultaneously should they so desire. So they both can be run with their own icon, and the 3.0 updater optionally leaves a copy of the 2.x database unless you specify to delete the old ones. So if you have a desire to go back to the previous database, just run 2.7x and you should see the database with the named renamed to 'original name-Old'.

Now if you've deleted the 2.x databases as you updated, you should be able to reinstall them as they should be backed up on your desktop. If you are using HanDBase Plus, we keep the last ten backups of each database you sync, so you can look in the backup folder under : c:\palm\username\HanDBase and find the files, renamed to show the date they were backed up.

Last but not least, we did have a number of bugs in the updater, one of which unset the previous record flag in the calculation, which explains some of the problems you've been seeing. We also had a bug whereby the new ability to specify the default value for a text, note, float, int, or db popup field would default to take the previous record's first field, causing all fields in a new record to default to some field of the previous record. Both of these have been fixed, and an update 3.0a has been posted to our site as of Saturday.

I apologize for the bugs- we clearly messed up by letting those slip through, and we're hoping to iron out any bugs as soon as we find them, and get HanDBase v3.0 to be as reliable as 2.7x just as soon as possible!

Thanks guys for your support of our products!

Dave Haupert

Now we need a program that can HotSync the SD also

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/25/2002 10:57:11 PM #
Like all of you, installed v3.0 and suprised by the DB size. Now I need to move some big DBs to
SD card. Never pay much attention to the programs that can HotSync the cards. What are your
favorite ones?

Pro and Con

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 1:19:22 AM #
Good Points

Peer to Peer and Multi-User Sync, assuming you want that type of chaos, but great for casual. Server-based and everyone is on the same page, Multi-User Sync and things can get out-of-sync rather quickly.

Forms, finally...

Not so good points

Bugfest city...let out of bag too early?

The Enterprise offering is basically just additional drivers...ho hum.

Confusing upgrade plans, not logical at all.

It took them forever for an upgrade and they STILL aren't ready, documentation is "coming soon"...everything is a buggy upgrade path, calculated fields aren't calculating...

The basic users will like it, but it STILL hasn't got away from its casual-user flat-file roots.

RE: Pro and Con
drw @ 7/26/2002 8:40:07 PM #
I'm aghast after reading all the above comments. Looks like I won't be buying it yet, damnit.

I wonder if the "not calculating" problem exists only with old databases and if you created a new database from scratch using 3.0 it would work. It's possible they changed the database structures and didn't work hard enough on making 3.0 compatible with existing 2.x databases.

They should have checked on this prior to releasing it.


RE: Pro and Con
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/26/2002 8:46:54 PM #
I created a database from scratch and the problem with calculated fields did not go away. The good new is.... my checking account balance is soaring! (Gotta laugh or I'll cry)


RE: Pro and Con
dhaupert @ 7/29/2002 10:01:09 AM #
Peer to Peer and Multi-User Sync, assuming you want that type of chaos, but great for casual. Server-based and everyone is on the same page, Multi-User Sync and things can get out-of-sync rather quickly.

Should not be so with HanDBase v3.0, as we are not using a flagging system as traditional conduits go. Regarding the peer to peer, it is a great tool for casual users and enterprise both- here's are two examples:

- My wife and I are keeping our checkbooks in HanDBase v3.0, and we can both add entries to our own handhelds, and then beam-sync them together whenever I am about to balance the book, or whenever we want to see a true total. We also have the conduit set to sync them both together, so whenever we sync we get the latest entries.

- In an on-call setting, doctors who are going on-call can run into the doctor leaving at the hospital, and beam-sync the doctor going home's changes to the doctor coming in.

It took them forever for an upgrade and they STILL aren't ready, documentation is "coming soon"

Actually the docs were already part of the program- the web site online version had not been uploaded right at launch, since we needed to index it for searching. But the docs were already part of the download!

...everything is a buggy upgrade path,
calculated fields aren't calculating...

Both of these bugs have been corrected and released over the weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience!

The basic users will like it, but it STILL hasn't got away from its casual-user flat-file roots.

Have you seen/used the Relationship field yet? Should
make for nearly any type of relationship to be supported, including many-to-many relationships!

Dave Haupert

RE: Pro and Con
dhaupert @ 7/29/2002 10:16:18 AM #
To David and Jerry,

My apologies for the bug- it was in the updater, and we corrected it and released an update this weekend. The issue was that the 'previous' flag was not being set on calculation operands. It was fixable, just by deleting the erroneous operand in the formula editor, and re-entering that operand. But now in 3.0a, you should be able to correctly convert that database.

Hope this helps, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Dave Haupert

RE: Pro and Con
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/30/2002 4:07:58 PM #
Beam-sync the doctor? I can see that. I just have to wonder what type of company would run databases in 'beam-sync/Hotsync' mode. Great for casual use, but again not Enterprise level.

3.0a fixed some bugs, and spawned some more...and several issues remain. The bugs in 3.0 should have been caught in beta testing. Those bugs were obvious to any user.

Forms is still a royal pain to work with, the non-WYSIWYG and the limited CPU and Palm OS limitations makes this a real chore.

Docs part of the program? Somewhat. Mine were missing the screenshot images.

Web site online version had not been uploaded right at launch? Why? Why didn't you wait until you had it indexed.

All in all, doing things that most others aren't even trying, but still a mere quasi-relational casual user database, with lots of bugs.

Not Impressed

tsinvest @ 7/27/2002 8:07:03 AM #
I anxiously waited for Ver 3, however after giving it several tries I deleted HandBase and the forms program completely and am sticking with ThinkDB which I have been using for the past several months (prior to ThinkDB I used Handbase 2.75 for over a year). I feel ThinkDB is better intergrated and MUCH easier to use (especially forms) than Handbase. Don't get me wrong I am not trashing Handbase, however it appears to be piece-mealed together and the forms program is agonizing to use. I know they are both excellent programs but for aesthetics and ease of use I will stay with ThinkDB.

Regards, Tom S.

Forms Utilility Bugs

Nursedad @ 7/29/2002 7:20:30 AM #
Looks like the forms utility is rather buggy as well. Here's a few that I've found:

- Form background color remains white during the form creation process...regardless of what color you choose.

- related to the bug above, the fields/pop-ups, etc...are invisible on the form canvas after being placed.

- Forms created using the desktop utility aren't necessarily WYSIWYG. The biggest problem here appears to be with margins.

I'd be interested to know if others are experiencing the same problems.

- - Nursedad

RE: Forms Utilility Bugs
dhaupert @ 7/29/2002 9:56:05 AM #
Thanks for giving the new forms a try- please see below:

- Form background color remains white during the form creation process...regardless of what color you choose.

This is something we did intentionally, as redrawing the form in color as you drag things around on the form is pretty slow and tedious on the current Palm (at least the 33MHz or less devices). You may have noticed this with programs like BugMe (great app) and other paint programs that support color. We did not want to make for a painful user experience, so we figured we should just show it in white until you run the form.

- related to the bug above, the fields/pop-ups, etc...are invisible on the form canvas after being placed.

I will have to look into this- the field should show an underline and the popups should say 'field x value' or 'field x name' depending on which you select.

- Forms created using the desktop utility aren't necessarily WYSIWYG. The biggest problem here appears to be with margins.

They are WYSIWYG with one exception- the Palm's screen is 160x160 _including_ the title bar. On the Desktop the controls cannot be put on the actual title bar of the window, so there appears to be a blank section/margin at the top.

Hope this helps!

Dave Haupert

RE: Forms Utilility Bugs
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 2:55:36 PM #
Thanks for the info. on the issues I discussed in my previous post...it definately clarified some of my concerns. Regardless, I was able to create a new DB and form that is actually very functional. I really enjoy the ability to call different forms via button usage. Very slick and useful with "unlimited possibilities."

BTW...if it will help in diagnosing the invisible field problem noted above...I use a M505 handheld.

Again...thanks for the info!!

- - Nursedad

Access VS HanDbase3.0

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/6/2002 11:32:57 AM #
At work we build a Access database in which we can transfer data from a PocketPC using HanDbase V2.67.
Recently, we bought a new Palm Visor which uses HanDbase 3.0. But now I'm in trouble, the Palm doesn't want to transfer data because the table's fields that were build for use with V2.67 are not compatible with those of V3.0. The thing I don't understand is that the databases were constructed exactly like those we made for V2.67(fields, everything). Is it a bug? Is there a way to overcome this? Do I have to build new tables in Access only for this new version, I hope not...

Thanks for your advice



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