Creatures Community Chat

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creatures database tool

At some stage I'm sure most of us have thought about doing it, while others have gone ahead and done it in some form or another. Some use spreadsheets. Others have created family tree making programs. Myself I've been using an OpenOffice form to record my creatures information.

This nifty little tool by Telinome has served me well for the past year or so. Anyone who's interested can download a copy here.

As awesome as this small database has been though, I've always found it restricting. Mostly in terms of not having a 'search' function.

Since I started playing with it a year or so ago (March 31st, 2011 to be exact!) I've been considering rewriting it in a different program to give it a few more features and make it more user friendly.

Ages ago I considering writing it in Adobe Flash, but soon gave up when I learned about Flash's limited ability to write to files, thus making it extremely difficult to actually save the database when you'd filled it in. Only mildly limiting.

For the past month or so I've had the urge to get back into some programming and tonight I decided to pick up this project again. Using a combination of HTML, XML and PHP (those are all web coding languages for those who don't know) I've started building a tool to record, save and recall all my Norns in a similar fashion to what Telinome's form does, just via a web browser instead.

So, after about 3 hours coding tonight I've finally managed to get the damn thing to print:


Which corresponds to: Experiment 'Number', 'Name' and 'Owner' respectively.

Yes that's right...3 hours!

Don't hold your breath for a Beta release. This could take a while...

The next trick will be getting it to record input from the user and then print it, rather than having the database premade.


  1. Very interesting! I'm one of the people who keeps a very basic spreadsheet. Your example reminds me more of a very detailed documentary, which I rather like. I'm sure I have a ton of information like this mixed together in my posts! This could be a very useful application for breeding specific populations and recording the progress. Good luck: Hopefully it doesn't take another three hours just to add one more feature!

    1. Essentially it would be a spreadsheet/database stored as code, but it would display the whole thing similar to Telinome's office document. This should make it easier to add data and make it possible to do searches and such. Hopefully the best of both worlds.

      Spent another two hours on it tonight and haven't been able to get the PHP to write the the XML...or in laymens terms it's not writing to the spreadsheet/database.

      Well, technically it is writing to it, just not in a way that the spreadsheet can make sense of it yet. At least I've got the problem pinned down to a single line of code. If I can just find the right tutorial it should be fixed in minutes.