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Need help with ACT! database integrattion

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Need help with ACT! database integrattion

I am a Delphi<pascal> programmer, I've also done a little Visual DOT Net <little>

 

Problem:

I have a client that has an old PARADOX database that has a bunch of tables. There's the main info table, then associated phone numbers table and financial accounts tables and so on. I need to or would like ot INTEGRATE this database into the ACT! system so that the users can make use of the IIS feature for users to access the database over the web, and to integreate it with Outlook too. These are the two important features needed. Outlook integrateion is a must, the web ability is not so important.

 

Possible Solutions:

WHat is needed to take my paradox database (10-12 tables) and to make it usable by ACT! in such a way that the user can run ACT! and then issue a few clicks and then POOF, he's now got the ability to send an email to the selected people in Outlook. Of course the paradox main table has an EMAIL field in the paradox database.

#1: Do I need to do a bunch of programming in Visual Basic DOT Net? And If so, what is required and what are the pitfalls.

#2. Can I just use another mechanism that is less work to have ACT! SEE the database and still have it able to send emails <via outlook> to selected people from, my datasbase

 

QUESTION:

Also, I noticed that other peoples integration always seems to end up looking like there is a TOP HALF that contains basic information and a BOTTOM HALF that has a bunch of TABS that you can click on to get to further information about each record. IS IT POSSIBLE to not have a top and bottom half, and to INSTEAD have one large homgenious screen that contains ALL the fields that I want? Very important to see ALL the information at once and NOT have to click thru a bunch of tabs.

 

CONCLUSION:

I need the QUICKEST way to implement what I have mentioned above. IE: Have ACT! go thru my database and based on search criteria, filter it down to just a few selected records that ACT! will SEND EMAILS to. <outlook integrations> And yes, the paradox tables contain an email address field already.

 

All you experts out there, please give me your two cents worth on this. I need to get started right away

 

Thanks for all of your cents Smiley Wink

 

 

Da ie

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

ACT! has it's own database and doesn't read from another when doing a merge ... so the first question:
Do you want to do a one-off transfer from Paradox to ACT! or is there a need to have data regularly going from one to the other or both ways?

As to the Tabs, you can move the splitter down so the tabs are not taking up screen real-estate
New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

Thanks Mike;

I would "prefer" a database application written in Delphi or some other language that uses paradox or BDE or MS Sql or perv SQL. THEN I would like to go into ACT! and then inquire on the database and do searches and mail merges. AND I DO NOT want to have to keep exporting and importing, becuase the database will be very dynamic since it's not static. Lots' of changes on a weekly basis.

 

Is there a way to do this  without much "programming"? I don't want to waste a lot of time with a learning curve for some act! sdk thingy. Maybe in the future, but right now the client needs to get this done.

 

Thanks

Davie

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

The data is going both ways. IE: The Delphi database proigram will be used to update and do very specific functions and calculations and reports, WHILE the ACT! side will do the email merge and web access. If I can't have the web access, BUT CAN HAVE the outlook integration, tben that's fine. See, the whole point of getting ACT! was to be able to use the Outlook integration (snce the dbfileds contact emila addresses). But the user presentation of all the ACT! integration examples I've seen don't allow for the total control that I am looking for as far as the UI is concerned. And keep in mind that I am a Delphi programmer. I am not elergic to learning Visual Studio 2005, it's just one more hurdle that I would like to not have to jump thru iin order to get this database up and going again. Currently it's in some ancient paradox database program and needs to be converted right away and am looking for the best approach. The data can easily be exported from the old DB into a CSV file so that the NEW database can then import all the data. Once it's in the new database (MS SQL, BDE,  Perv SQL, DBase, whatever) of course I will programmatically access it and update it etc.. via a program. And this program, I would like to be able to write it in Delphi. And of course I can , it's just tghat I want this database to ALSO be able to be integrated with outlook to do the emailing and other integration possibilitues and also as icing on the cake to be able to do the web access.

 

I know that I could, if I have to, could use VPN to access the delphi program from the internet and COULD write an SMTP module that will do the emailing. It's just that it feels that the ACT! already has a smooth interface for that sort of thing and would lke to take advantage of that with as little learning curve as possible.

 

Thanks in advance for your time on responding.

 

Davie

P.S. Any other programmers out there with some tips for me besides Mike? I would like as many different perspectives as possible. Thanks to all for reading this, for I am in a CRUNCH time.

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

It's been so long since I'd seen Delphi (Borland days) that I hadn't realised how far it's come ... current versions can write .Net.

So, which there might not be a great deal of code examples and direct help, you should be able to write code to do what you want ...
New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

Thanks, so are you saying that unless I program in .NET that there is no hope in gettng ACT! to integrate my database with Outlook via Act!  ???

 

I was hoping that there might be a way to coax Act! to be able to do the job without .NET.

 

Huh ;(((

 

Let me ask a different take on this. Let's say that I create a MASTER record via Act! by taking the normal database setup and then added a few fields like maybe email address and maybe a customer ID number etc... THEN I coiuld have the second half of the database in PURE Delphi (no .net). Then I can program what I want, AND I can have the integration with Act! via the email address that I keep in the Act side of the 2 part database. Then the only thing I would need to do special in my Delphi code would be to read the ACT! database to get access to the records so that I can read and update and delete records as needed.

 

Am I correct in assuming that the Act! tables would be stored in a MS SQL format? or is it some internal proprietary format? If it's an open format, then I guess I could read and write and update the act! tables as needed, AND I would also be able to read my own delphi created tables and do what's needed. THEN as the user uses the Delphi program, he can do whatever he wants, AND  if he chooses to use the Act! interface, he could then bring up a simple search on the Act! tables to then merge into either MS Office or Outlook. I do understand that the only fields available at this stage would be the Act! table fields.

 

Is this a reasonable compromise? I just wanted all thbe programming code to be serparate from Act! but yet still be able to have Act! do some basic integration. So all my tables would reside in a separate DB and hold all the financials and stocks and bonds and comments and notes. THEN the Act! tables could contain the standard Act! fields PLUS a few more that would include email address and CustomerID number that would logically link the Act! record to my other tables.

 

Make sense?

Seem reasonable?

 

Davie

 

Davie

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

You can read the ACT! SQL database via OLEDB (usually easier) or ODBC (only available on Premium)

See: http://blog.glcomputing.com.au/2009/07/connecting-to-act-by-sage-data.html

 

You MUST use .Net if you want to write to the ACT! database or to access events

New Member
Posts: 11
Country: USA

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

I have the PREMIUM edition. I will review your Powerpoint presentation before I say anything stupid.

 

One last question before I review the powerpoint is this "Why do they allow you to READ from the DB and not WRITE to the DB. Is it because they don't want you to mess up the keys and cross referential integrity? See, I wouldn't need to writye to those fiedls, it would just be normal fields like address and phone number etc...

 

Thanks

Davie

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: Need help with ACT! database integrattion

My suspicion is that it's simply because we talking about ACT! users ... non technical and don't want to spend enough money for the time it would take a support person to fix the likely damage :-)

But even the phone fields have all sorts of rules for formatting and international support