Follow up - March 2007
For anyone stumbling across this thread, here`s where I ended up.
I looked online and found a copy of Lotus SmartSuite 9.7 for about $23
(including shipping). The company actually sent me v9.8.1, which was
nice. I installed only Lotus Approach, having no need for WordPro,
Freelance, or 1-2-3. I also installed Lotus Organizer just because it
Approach actually reminds me very strongly of Q&A, excepting that
Approach is a true 32-bit Windows application. It`s also a relational
database, using "joins" to make simple relations to other databases.
My standard test is to build a birthday calculator. I put in my DOB,
and then want to know how old I am, today. I want to know when`s my
next birthday--using a field that will demonstrate that it`s calculated
the next year from this year (Today). I also want to know how many days
is it until my next birthday.
These are simple calculations to work logically, but not easy to put
into a spreadsheet or database. ALL the other databases I tried were
either too complex to figure out intuitively, or they crashed on my
system, or they looked too strange. Approach handles it all easily.
The main downside is that although it`s an exceptional database
program, it`s languished. Presumably, the market went with Access
because it`s often bundled with MS Office. Sadly, it`s far too
complicated for most home users. Approach is definitely geared to those
As such, I can`t find any books at all...even used books. There are
books on the entire SmartSuite, but not only on Approach. There are a
couple of PDF files on the installation CDROM for Lotus Script, a
programming language, but that`s too complex for my needs. I was
looking for something like "Mastering Approach" or that kind of thing.
I did find an online user support site that has lots of good stuff.
There`s also an out-of-print book by Sue Sloan, last copy sold in 2005.
They`re thinking of maybe doing a re-release, but can`t say for sure.
So you`re left to mostly the online help system. That`s fairly good,
but not as helpful as Q&A`s system was. Still, I`m learning a great
deal about how to do what I want. For the price, I`d highly recommend
Approach 9.7 or later. It`s been fixed to work not only on Windows XP
but also on Windows Vista.
You`ll probably have to have some background understanding the basics
of databases, but overall, Lotus Approach is where Q&A would have
gone, had it been properly upgraded to a Windows version from DOS.