Suisoft KitBase 2 - User Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

Installing KitBase

Creating a Database

Start Screen

New Database

Entering Your Data

Importing Data

Backing Up

Screens

Database Home

Record List

View Designer

Record Form

Associated Records Tabs

Attachments Tab

Synchronisation Location

Table Designer (Fields)

Data Entry Form Layout (Form Designer)

Availability Rule

Default Rule

Table Configuration

Options

Appendices

Synchronisation Scenarios

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Introduction

KitBase is a database application designed for scale modellers and collectors. The database records kits and accessories in a structured way so that you can keep track of them.

The database can also be used for other kinds of collections using the 'Collection (Other)' template. Please see the
New Database section.

New templates will be added over time, to support other hobbies and activities. If you can think of a template you would like to see included, please get in touch.

Please see the KitBase website for the main features.

Intro by the developer:

I developed an early version of KitBase a few years ago for my Dad, a keen modeller and collector. KitBase 1 went through several phases of improvement following feedback from the modelling community.

This version (KitBase 2) has been built completely from scratch in order to be much more customisable and support multiple operating systems (eventually Windows, Android, iOS and Mac). A database design can be created completely from scratch, using your own fields

If you have any comments and suggestions, please leave feedback: www.suisoft.co.uk/contact.htm

I can't promise to make all changes that are requested but I'll try to factor them in to future releases.
- Gary Marples, Developer - Suisoft Limited

Some parts of the document are flagged as 'Techie Bit'. This indicates some information that's only relevant if you are customising a KitBase database. Much of this will be irrelevant if you are simply adding and re-arranging fields. It is there to help users making advanced changes, calculations or scratch building databases.

Installing KitBase 2

If you haven't already, you need to download the KitBase installer from:
http://www.kitbase.com/download.htm

.NET Framework

KitBase requires the Microsoft .NET Framework (v4.5). The framework is a set of standard functionality that provides a robust foundation for building applications.

If you don't have the framework installed already, the KitBase installer will download and install it from the Microsoft website automatically.

Installation

Unzipping

Open the KitBaseInstaller [.exe] file. First of all, the setup files will be unzipped into a folder called KitBaseInstaller in the same location as the installer.

Click Unzip to do this.
Click OK to close the '2 file(s) unzipped successfully' message.
The Setup program will now start automatically

Administrator Login (if required)

If you run windows as a User you may be prompted to login as an Administrator. Like most applications, KitBase requires administrative access to install the program in your Program Files folder.

Welcome Screen and License Agreement

Click 'Next' on the Welcome Screen.
Click 'I Agree' once you have read through the license agreement then click 'Next'

Installation Folder and Icons

At this point, you can choose an installation folder. It is recommended that you leave this as default. Only the program will be placed in this folder. You can choose where to store your data later.

You can also choose whether to install for 'Just Me' or 'Everyone'. If you choose Everyone, the desktop icon and Suisoft / KitBase Start menu folder will be set up for every user on your computer. If you choose 'Just Me' the icons/start menu will only be present for the user you are logged on as now.

Important: If you logged on as administrator (in the step above) you will need to choose 'Everyone', otherwise your 'user' logon won't have icons/start menu options for KitBase.

Click next once you have set the options as appropriate.

Confirmation

Click next to proceed with installation.

Once the installation has completed, run KitBase by double clicking the desktop icon.

Creating a Database

Start Screen

The Start screen is displayed when you first launch KitBase.

From here, you can use the menu on the left to perform common actions:

New Database

Use this option to create a brand new database.

Open Database

Use this option to open an existing KitBase 2 database.

Import KitBase 1.x Database

Use this option if you have a KitBase 1.4 database. All of your data, documents and images will be copied across. If you are running an earlier version (e.g. 1.1), please update to version 1.4 first. Just install the free trial from here: http://www.suisoft.co.uk/kitbase/download.htm

Recent

When you create or open databases, KitBase remembers them and places links under here.

New Database

This screen allows you to create a brand new KitBase database.

Templates Tab

First, choose one of the templates from the list on the left (e.g. Scale Models).

The description on the right explains the purpose of the database.

Next click 'OK' to create the database with the default name.
You can change the name at the top, however it's best to leave it as default in most cases.

You can also create a custom collection database. Choose the 'Collection (Other)' template.
This has a simple template allowing the recording of 'items' with a 'Category'. You can rename the tables and fields to fit
the type of collection.

If you are feeling really adventurous, you can create a completely blank database.
This allows you to create your own database design completely from scratch.

You will need to enter a name if you create a custom database.

Advanced Tab

The advanced tab allows you to choose where a database is created. It is highly recommended that you use the default location.

You can only change the 'database folder' via the '...' button. The other folders and filename are created automatically using the database name.

Note on cloud drives:
The database should not be placed on a cloud drive. If changes are made from two different machines and synchronised using the cloud drive, data can be lost. For example, if you add a record on a desktop and laptop using the same cloud drive and the cloud sync occurs afterwards, one of the changes will be lost.

If you do want to use a cloud drive, the safest method is to have local copies of the databases in 'Documents' (NOT in the cloud drive folder) and sync them with a copy held in the cloud drive using the
KitBase synchronisation feature.

Entering Your Data

KitBase contains a number of templates for different collections and activities. A getting started guide is provided for each type:

Importing Data

KitBase allows you to import your own data from Excel or other applications. The data must be saved in CSV (comma-separated value) format. You can do this via the 'Save As' function in Excel.

Before importing you must first create a database (if you haven't already). Click the 'New Database' button on the starting screen or go into 'File / New Database'.

The import function can be accessed via the 'Import' button above the record grid in a table tab. (e.g. Kits and Accesssories tab for the scale models database).

Specific instructions for importing into a particular table are available on the 'Import' screen. Just press 'Help' to see instructions generated from the table design to help you match up the fields (columns).

Backing Up

It is extremely important to perform regular backups of your KitBase database and associated files. You should make a separate copy from your main machine EVEN IF YOU SYNC TO OTHER DEVICES.

If an issue occurs with disk, network connectivity, cloud connectivity or suchlike, the database could become corrupted.

By default, the database and files will be stored in My Documents. You need to make a backup of the entire database folder, not just the .kitbase2 file.

To see the database folders in My Documents, use the 'File / Show Default Databases Folder in Explorer'.

Ensure that KitBase is shut down when you copy files, otherwise the copy may fail due to a locked file.

Screens

Database Home

Database (Left Panel)

The area on the left contains a list of the tables in the database. You can click any database name to open a tab, showing the records.

'Main Tables' are those that are the tables you visit regularly to enter and update data. Those categorised as 'Main' will have tabs shown automatically at the top, when the database is opened.

'Other Tables' are the supporting tables that are infrequently visited directly, for example master lists (e.g. categories).

You can recategorise tables as 'Main' or 'Other' using the menu accessed via the icon at the side of the name. See below for more details.

The 'Manage Table' icon at the side of the table names, can be used to make changes to the database design.

The options are:

Open Table Displays the table in a tab, alongside 'Database Home'.
Move to 'Other Tables'
Move to 'Main Tables'
Allows a table to be recategorised (see above).
Rename Table Allows you to change the name of a table. Changing the name of a table will not break anything, as kitbase gives each table its own id behind the scenes.
Design Table (Fields) Allows fields to be added, edited and removed.
Table Configuration Allows other settings to be changed on a table.
Data Entry Form Layout Used to design the screen used to maintain data for a table. This can also be accessed from the toolbar on the record screen (table tabs).
Delete Table Used to delete a table. Note that the table will still be accessible if other tables still reference it. Any fields that reference it must be removed separately.

If you want to add a brand new table, click the 'Add Table' (+) button then click the new table link to add fields via the Table Designer.

At the bottom is a heading for 'Deleted Tables'. These are hidden by default. You can click 'Show' to see them.

An undo icon at the side of the table can be used to Undelete tables.

Synchronisation (Right Panel)

You can set up copies of a database on other devices and locations, so that the data can be synchronised between them.

For example, you can keep a local copy of your database on your desktop and a second copy on a laptop. If you make changes on one (or both) of them, you can synchronise to make them identical. If changes are made that conflict (for example, changing the 'Name' of an item, the latest (newest) change is used at both ends after sync.

To create a new sync location, click the Add Sync Location button. From there, you can specify the location and synchronisation options.

After creating a sync location, simply click the name to synchronise.

You can use the cog button at the side to Edit, Rename or Delete a sync location.

Note that deleting a sync location does not remove the database at that location, only the configuration settings in the current database.

Record List

Each table has a record list tab. When you click a tab on the main window or click a table in the 'Database Home' screen, the records in the table are shown.

Subset Navigation Bar

Some tables have their data broken down into subsets, for example in a collection database this might be status, e.g. Wanted, Owned, Sold etc.

The navigation bar on the left hand side allows you to maintain records in each subset. Click one of the buttons on the bar (e.g. 'Owned') to display the list in question.

For an introduction of each status, you should read the getting started section for the template you are using.

Tip: You can change the size of the navigation tab area by clicking and dragging the thick grey line between the Kit list and the navigation tab area. You can also hide/show the area by clicking the arrows icon at the top.

Adding, Editing and Deleting Records

The buttons on the toolbar at the top of the screen are used to maintain the lists of records.

Add Shows the Record Screen, allowing a record to be added.
Edit Select a record and click Edit to show the Record Screen and change an existing record.
Tip: You can also edit a record by double clicking the row or pressing Return/Enter.
Delete Select a record and click Delete to remove an existing record. This will be greyed out if 'View Deleted Records' is switched on (see below).
View Deleted Records You can view records that have been deleted. Click the little arrow next to 'Delete' and choose 'View Deleted Records'.
Undelete Record This option is only enabled if 'View Deleted Records' (above) is switched on. Select a record and click Undelete to recover a deleted record.
Duplicate Select a record and click Duplicate to create a new record based on the details of the selected record. The Record Screen will be shown to allow the fields to be reviewed and completed.

Only those fields that will commonly be the same will be pre-filled. You can configure this behaviour in the Form Designer.

'Go to Record' Function

If you have a 'Record Identifier' (e.g. 2d64546e-4019-4ff1-8cf2-f60e96ff8134), you can quickly jump to a record in the list using the 'Go to Record' box on the toolbar. Simply click the 'Go to Record' button, paste the Identifier into the box and press 'Go to Record Identifier' button.

If you Edit a record, you can find the 'Record Identifier' on the 'Info' tab. A 'Copy' button is provided for convenience.

You can also edit a record via record number using the 'Edit Record via Identifier' button.

'Find' Function

To quickly search for some text in the list (e.g. Spitfire) you can use the find box on the toolbar. Enter the required text into the box beside the 'Find' (binoculars) icon then click the 'Find' icon. This will find the first occurrence of the text in the list. To find subsequent occurrences, click the 'Find Next' icon.

Filtering

The records in the list can be filtered using the drop down lists at the top. The drop down lists will be restricted to the data displayed in the grid, rather than entire master lists. For example, if you filter on Aircraft (Kit Type) first, the Real Manufacturer drop down will only list aircraft manufacturers and only those for which you own kits.

You can filter by ticking items in the list on the drop-down or by entering/selecting values at the top. For example, you can pre-filter the list using 'Contains' on a text field or using a range for a date field.

Press the Clear Filters button to reset the lists to '(All)'.

Saving / Reloading Filters

You can save the current filters as part of the view. Click the Save View button.

If you have made some temporary selections in the filters and want to go back to the saved state, click the Reload View button.

Sorting

The records in the list can be sorted by clicking the column headings (e.g. Kit Type).

Views

The 'Current View' section on the Navigation Tab (top left) allows you to choose different perspectives on your data. There are several built-in views and you can switch between them by clicking their names (e.g. 'By Product Manufacturer').

You can change the default view by clicking the 'Set Default View' link after choosing the view. This view will be selected automatically every time KitBase starts up.

Views can be added, customised and removed using the other links. See View Customisation for more information.

Refreshing

If you have changed some of the master data (through the Data menu), some of the names displayed in the grid may be out of date (e.g. if you changed "Aircraft" to "Aeroplanes").

Click the Refresh button to reload the data.

Designing the Data Entry Form

You can customise the data entry form for a table, by clicking the Data Entry Form Layout button

Reports

Any view can be displayed as a report with groupings and totals.

Click the 'Report' button on the toolbar.

A window is displayed allowing you to print and export the report.

KitBase 2 reports are generated as HTML (web pages). This allows the exported files to be displayed on pretty much any device. See the View Designer for report design tips.

Exporting Reports

You can export an HTML report directly from the record list. Just click the 'Export' button and choose 'Report File (HTML)'.

Exporting Data

You can export data in Excel-compatible CSV format.

Click the 'Export / Report' button on the toolbar and choose 'Spreadsheet-Compatible Export (CSV)' to export the current filtered view. You will be prompted to for a filename. The CSV file that is created can be opened in Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet / database applications.

Important Note: Because Excel incorrectly converts scales and some product codes into dates or ratios (e.g. 1/35 becomes Jan 35, i.e. 01/01/1935), all of the exported text values have an invisible TAB character added to the start of the text. This does not affect operation of filters and the like in Excel but may be confusing under some circumstances.

Gallery Tab (Bottom Right Panel)

This tab is only shown when the Gallery is enabled for a table. You can find the settings for that in under Table Configuration.

First a record must be selected in the list above. The Gallery tab then shows the attachments in a more friendly format. Attachments are grouped together under thumbnails, according to their name prefix.

For example, if a prefix of 'Box' is set up, any attachments that have names starting with 'Box' are grouped under the thumbnail.

If an attachment is an image, a preview is shown.

If an attachment is a document, the extension is shown, along with an 'Open Copy' link that allows you to open a temp copy of the attachment.

You can navigate through the attachments in a group using the left / right arrows at the bottom

Click a thumbnail to show a larger image/icon in a pop-up that also allows renaming of attachments.

Associated Records Tabs (Bottom Right Panel)

A tab is displayed for every table that references the current table. You can read more here.

Attachments Tab (Bottom Right Panel)

A tab is displayed showing files that are attached to records. You must select a record to use this. You can read more here.

Note: this tab was called 'Documents and Images' in KitBase 1.x

View Designer

KitBase templates come with several views, allowing you to display your data from different perspectives.

You can select a view via the view list on the navigation bar on the left hand side of the Record List screen. Views can be customised via the links under the view list:

Add New View Allows a new view to be created. You will be asked whether you want to use the current view as a starting point.

If you choose 'Yes' the fields from the current view will already be chosen in the view customisation screen that follows (See Choosing Fields below).

If you choose 'No' you wil need to choose all of the fields you require from scratch.
Customise Current View Allows the current view to be customised or renamed. (See Choosing Fields below).
Remove Current View Deletes the currently selected view, after confirmation.

You can set the view that is displayed when the tab is first opened using the Set Default View link.

Note: Views cannot be customised in the Trial Version of KitBase.

Choosing Fields

The view customisation screen allows you to specify the fields that you want to see, along with their sort direction.

To add a field to the view, choose the field you require from the 'Available Fields' list on the left then click 'Add' (Right Arrow).

To remove a field from the view, choose the field in the 'View Fields' box then click 'Remove' (Left Arrow).

Tip: You can also move fields between the boxes by double clicking them.

To help you find the fields you need, the 'Available Fields' box can be sorted in two ways. By default the fields are in the same, familiar order as the Record screen. You can change this to an 'A to Z' sort by choosing the 'Alphabetical' option above the 'Available Fields' list. Choose 'Form Order' to change back.

You must specify the name of the view via the 'View Name' box.

Other Buttons and Options:

Move Up
Move Down
The 'Move Up' and 'Move Down' buttons can be used to reorganise the fields in the 'View Fields' box.
Asc / Desc Each field in the 'View Fields' box has a drop-down list allowing 'Asc' or 'Desc' to be selected. This changes the sort order of the field selected in the 'View Fields' box. By default, data will be sorted in ascending (Asc) order in the Kit List grid. You can change the order to be descending (Desc) to sort in reverse order. This is particularly useful for dates as you can show the latest records first.
Show On Report Each field in the 'View Fields' box has a 'Show On Report' drop-down list allowing 'Yes' or 'No' to be selected.

These will be set to 'Yes' by default. If you set a field to 'No' it will not be displayed on the report (displayed by clicking the Report button on the record list toolbar).

This is useful if you want a field to be available for filtering but do not want it displayed as a column on the report. See also the 'Group by First Field Shown' item below.
Group by First
Field Shown
When this is ticked, the list will start with groups based on the first field. Each group has an expand button, allowing the records contained in the group to be shown.

If you run a report, using the Report button on the record list, the first field shown will be used for grouping.

If you have configured the first field in a view as Show On Report: No the next shown field will be used, leading to different behaviour on your view and report. If you want the same field to be shown on the view, move the Show On Report: No field(s) to the end of the view.
Show Hidden When this is ticked, the list will include hidden fields. Fields are hidden when they have curly brackets around their names. Normally hidden fields are used to drive rules on the forms, e.g. hiding and showing fields.

Applying a View Group

Some tables in a database have a field that splits the data into subsets. For example, in a collection database there may be a 'Status' field that indicates whether a particular item is 'Wanted', 'Owned', 'Sold', 'Gifted' etc.

It doesn't make much sense to show all of these subsets of records together and some views will contain fields that are only relevant to a particular status. For example, the 'Date Disposed' field (when an item was sold) is not applicable to 'Owned' items.

In this scenario, fields should be placed into groups (identified by a 'field' and 'value' - e.g. Status: Owned).

e.g. If you created a view of 'items by Date Sold' you would want to place this in a 'Status: Sold' subgroup.

Specifying a 'View Group' has two effects:

When a new view is created, the View Group will default to the currently selected view group (selected button under the views).

Saving

Once you have selected the required fields, click 'Save' and the view will be automatically displayed in the Record List.

Record Form

Each table has a data entry form, displayed when you click 'Add' or 'Edit' on the record list toolbar.

Note the [Edit] buttons next to the drop-down lists. These buttons allow you to quickly add a row to the master list (e.g. Type / Category fields) if the choice you require isn't present.
You can also Edit and Delete records in the master lists, allowing easy correction of mistakes.

Some of the fields are mandatory, indicated by a bold label above the list.

Simply enter the data and press 'Save and Close'.

The bottom half of the window has tabs. Some tables have tabs containing additional fields. As with the record list, tabs are shown for
Associated Records (e.g. 'with kit' in the Scale Models template shows other records linked to the displayed record) along with a tab for Attachments.

When a record is being added, you will see 'Save' buttons in the Associated Records tabs and Attachments. You must click this to save the record before you can use those tabs.

The layout of the data entry form can be changed via the Form Designer.

You can find detailed guidance for your chosen template here:

Associated Records Tabs

On the Record Lists and Record Forms, a tab is shown for each associated table. A table is associated if it has a Reference field pointing to the table being worked with (viewed/data entry).

For example, in a collection database, items can be placed in the box with other items. The table has a 'with' reference field that links back to itself. In this case where the table is the same, a tab is shown with the reference field name as its caption (e.g. 'With Item').

You will also see that the Other (Master) tables have a tab for each table that references them.

For example, a category table will have tabs for each of the main tables. The tab caption will be '<table name> (<field name>)' because the tables are different, e.g. 'Items (Category)'.

As with the record list, you can maintain records through the tab. They will automatically be linked to the selected record in the main list.

Options are as follows:

Add Shows the Record Screen, allowing a record to be added. The reference field will be set to point to the record in the main table automatically.

If a table is configured to have accessories, the button will be split. The default behaviour is to add an Accessory. Clicking the down arrow allows a non-accessory to be added, e.g. a Kit in the Scale Model template

When an accessory is added, some of the fields will be defaulted to match the item it is based on. You can configure this behaviour in the Form Designer.
Edit Select a record and click Edit to show the Record Screen and change an existing record.
Tip: You can also edit a record by double clicking the row or pressing Return/Enter.
Delete Select a record and click Delete to remove an existing record. This will be greyed out if 'View Deleted Records' is switched on (see below).
View Deleted Records You can view records that have been deleted. Click the little arrow next to 'Delete' and choose 'View Deleted Records'.
Undelete Record This option is only enabled if 'View Deleted Records' (above) is switched on. Select a record and click Undelete to recover a deleted record.
Duplicate Select a record and click Duplicate to create a new record based on the details of the selected record. The Record Screen will be shown to allow the fields to be reviewed and completed.

Only those fields that will commonly be the same will be pre-filled. You can configure this behaviour in the Form Designer.

Filtering

Filtering is not switched on by default. Click the Toggle Filters (funnel) icon to switch on the filter drop-downs and record counts.

The drop down lists work in the same way as the main list.

Press the Clear Filters button to reset the lists to '(All)'.

Sorting

The records in the list can be sorted by clicking the column headings (e.g. Kit Type).

Refreshing

If you have changed some of the master data (through the Data menu), some of the names displayed in the grid may be out of date (e.g. if you changed "Aircraft" to "Aeroplanes").

Click the Refresh button to reload the data.

Designing the Data Entry Form

You can customise the data entry form for a table, by clicking the Data Entry Form Layout button

View Selection

You can choose which view is used for the list.

Click the down arrow next to the view name, choose a view and click Apply.

You can also change the default for the tab via the 'Set Default' button. If you want to revert to the default from the main list, click the 'Clear Default' button.

A view can be customised via the 'Customise View' button beside the view name. Note that the views are shared, therefore changes made will affect the main list also.

Attachments Tab

The attachments tab is shown on the record list and record form. It is used to attach files to a record. The files are stored alongside the database.

The options on the toolbar are:

Add Attachment(s) Used to import an attachment into the database. A copy is stored under the database folder structure. Simply browse to the file or files you want to attach to the record.
Open Copy
of Attachment(s)
Used to open an attached file. The file is copied to a temporary folder before being opened. You cannot change an attached file directly. In most cases this is not required, because attachments are images and documents that don't change.

If you do need to change an attachment, you can replace it as follows:
  • Open copy
  • Make changes
  • Save to a temporary location (e.g. desktop)
  • Delete the existing attachment (see 'Delete' below)
  • Add changed file
Copy Copies an attachment to the clipboard, allowing you to paste it into Explorer.
Paste Pastes an attachment from the clipboard. To use this, select a file (or files) in Explorer, copy then click paste in the Attachments window. The end result is the same as using 'Add Attachments(s)'.
Delete Select an attachment and click Delete to remove it. This will be greyed out if 'View Deleted Records' is switched on (see below).
View Deleted
Attachments
You can view attachments that have been deleted. Click the little arrow next to 'Delete' and choose 'View Deleted Attachments'.
Undelete Record This option is only enabled if 'View Deleted Attachments' (above) is switched on. Select an attachment and click Undelete to recover a deleted attachment.
Rename Used to change the name of an attachment.
Show in Explorer This feature is used to show where an attachment is in the database folder structure. This is intended for support purposes. Files should not be changed directly, unless advised by Suisoft (KitBase) Support. Files are stored under a folder structure that resolves to the Record Id and the files are named after the internal attachment Id, with an extension of '.a'.
Refresh Used to refresh the list

Synchronisation Location

In order to synchronise the database to another machine, you need to set up a location to sync with.

To help with setup, there are some scenarios documented
here, for example use of network shares, pendrives and cloud drives.

Note that you can only sync with a copy of an existing database. Each new database has a unique identifier to enforce this and prevent mistakes. For example, if you create two 'Scale Model' databases using the same template (e.g. one for Aircraft, another for Vehicles), you will not be able to sync them with each other.

You can only synchronise the those copied from the same source, e.g. Aircraft or Vehicles.

Sync Options

You can choose whether to sync Table Settings, Forms and Views alongside the database.

Click the down arrow next 'Options'.

To sync to a brand new location

From the 'Database Home' screen, click 'Add Sync Location'.

Specify a name for the sync location, in the 'Sync Location Name' box.

Click 'Create New Copy'.

The database name is usually left the same.

Choose the location by clicking '...' next to 'Location for database copy' and choose the folder where you want to create a new copy of the database. A subfolder with the database name will be created automatically. You can see the final folder and database files in the boxes at the bottom.

Click 'Create Copy' when you are happy with the location.

An empty database will be created in the specified location. Now click 'Save' to save the sync location reference into the current database. Click the Sync Location name link on the 'Database Home' tab to sync the data across from the current database to the new location.

To sync with an existing copy of the database

You can also connect a database to another, existing sync copy. Normally this happens if you are setting KitBase up again on a new PC.

From the 'Database Home' screen, click 'Add Sync Location'.

Specify a name for the sync location, in the 'Sync Location Name' box.

Click 'Select Existing Copy'.

Browse to the .KitBase2 file in the sync location and click Open.

Click 'Save' to create the sync location reference in the current database.

Click the Sync Location name link on the 'Database Home' tab to sync the data between the current database and the specified location.

To change a sync location

A synchronisation location can be changed cog icon at the side of a sync location. Choose 'Edit / Rename Sync Location'.

You can create a new copy or choose an existing database, as per the instructions above.

Create New Copy

This screen is used to create a new empty copy of the current database. As explained in the Synchronisation Location section, you can only sync between copies of the SAME database.

You can specify a name for the new database in the 'Database Name' box, however the database name is usually left the same.

Choose the location by clicking '...' next to 'Location for database copy' and choose the folder where you want to create a new copy of the database. A subfolder with the database name will be created automatically. You can see the final folder and database files in the boxes at the bottom.

Click 'Create Copy' when you are happy with the location.

An empty database will be created in the specified location. Now click 'Save' to save the sync location reference into the current database. Click the Sync Location name link on the 'Database Home' tab to sync the data across from the current database to the new location.

Table Designer (Fields)

The table designer allows you to specify the fields (columns) in a table.

Add Creates a new field in the table. The field is configured using the Field form.
Edit Modifies the field selected in the list. The field is configured using the Field form.
Delete Used to delete the field selected in the list. The field and associated data are not permanently removed. They can be recovered via the Undelete option (below).

When a field is deleted, it will no longer be shown on any views or the form. Other fields that reference it will still continue to work and must be removed separately.
Undelete To show deleted fields, you must tick the 'Show Deleted Fields' box, above the list. You can then use the 'Undelete' option.

A field can be hidden from the list of available fields on the view designer, by placing curly brackets around the name. e.g. {Calculation}

You will see a number of these fields in the templates. Typically, they are used to drive rules on the forms, e.g. a rule to disable Amount Paid for Wanted items. Those types of fields are required for the database to function but are not usually required in a view.

Table Designer - Field

This screen allows you to specify the properties of a field.

Every field must have a unique name specified in the Field Name box, to identify it.

Choose a 'Field Type' from the drop down list, for example Text or Date.

Some field have additional properties, such as 'Mandatory' (whether the field must be filled in). These can be edited underneath.

There are two types of fields - stored and calculated. Stored fields are used for data entry, whereas calculated fields are derived from the value or values in other fields (stored or calculated).

Stored field types are as follows:

Check Box
(Yes/No)
Shows as a simple tick box on the data entry form. On views, field values are shown as 'Yes' if the box was ticked or empty is unticked.
Currency
(Cash Value)
Used to store monetary values.
Date Used to store a date, with no time element.
Date/Time Used to store a date with a time. The dates are displayed and entered in local time and stored in 'Universal' time. This means that they will appear to change if you switch time zones on your PC.
Float
(Decimal Number)
Used to store decimal numbers, examples:
1.5
153389.223345
Integer
(Whole Number)
Used to store whole numbers, e.g. 1, 999, 1023999.
Integer
(Auto Incrementing)
Used to store whole numbers. Defaults to the next number in the sequence, e.g. if 1, 2, 3, 4 already entered into records, will default to 5. If data is entered on two copies of the database and they are synchronised, it is possible to end up with duplicates, even if 'Unique' is specified in the properties.
Memo
(Notes)
Used to store multiple lines of text, e.g. for a notes field. If a Memo field is placed last on a data entry form, it will fill the rest of the window.
Reference
(Lookup)
Used to look up a record in another table or a different record in the current table.
Behind the scenes, the Record Identifier of the referenced record is stored.
The special properties are as follows:
  • Referenced Table
    Must be specified to say which table to look up against.
  • Display Field
    If left empty, the data entry form will allow entry of a Record Id directly. If a field from the 'Referenced Table' is specified, the data entry form shows a drop-down list with selections from that field. This is the most common setup for a field such as 'Category'. A master table contains a 'Category Name' and the item table has a reference field pointing at the 'Category' master table, with 'Display Field' set to 'Category Name'.
  • Sort Field
    Only used if 'Display Field' is specified. The drop-down list on the data entry form is sorted by the 'Display Field' if 'Sort Field' is blank. Sort ordering in views is the same. Supplying a different field, results in data entry drop-downs and view columns being sorted using that instead. An example is the 'Status' field in the Collection templates. Status must be appear in a specific order, e.g. Wanted, Owned, Sold, etc.
Text Used to store short, single line text values.

Stored fields support some or all of the following properties, depending on the type.

Is Blank Produces a 'Yes/No' output based on the value in another field. If the field value is empty (blank), returns Yes, otherwise No.
Is Filled Produces a 'Yes/No' output based on the value in another field. If the field value is empty (blank), returns No, otherwise Yes.
Lookup
(via Reference)
Uses an existing reference field to look up a different Display and (optionally) Sort Value. See the 'Reference (Lookup)' stored data type for more details.
Append Flag This is a very specialised field type, typically used to differentiate items from accessories. For example, in the Scale Models database the 'Kit Type [Accessory]' field is used this way.

If a record is an accessory, an Accessory Type value is specified. This results in 'Kit Type [Accessory]' being output from the 'Kit Type [Accessory Field]' (e.g. 'Aircraft (Wheels)').

If a record is a kit, just 'Kit Type' is output (e.g. 'Aircraft').

This is achieved by having a field called 'Accessory' which is an 'Is Filled' calculation, i.e. outputs Yes when Accessory Type is specified.

The 'Kit Type [Accessory]' field is configured to have 'Kit Type' as the 'Reference Field' property and 'Accessory' (the calculated field described above) as the 'Flag Field to Append' property.
Conditional
Reference Value
This is a very specialised field type, used to default the 'Location' field in collection databases. It is used to look up reference field values, based on a check box (yes/no) field.

You can follow this through in the 'Collection (Other)' template. See the following:

  • 'Items' Field: {Default Rule: Location (With Kit Is Filled)}
  • 'Items' Field: {Default Rule: Location}
  • 'Items' Form Design: Default Rule on Location field
Add Currency Used to add together two currency values. Just specify 'Currency Field A' and 'Currency Field B'.
Subtract
Currency
Used to subtract one currency value from another. Just specify 'Currency Field A' and 'Currency Field B'. This makes the calculation: A minus B.
Add Hours
(to Date/Time)
Used to add hours from a 'Float (Decimal Number)' field to a 'Date/Time' field.
Year
(from Date)
Used to output a year (Integer) from a Date field.

Calculated field types are as follows:

A field can be hidden from the list of available fields on the view designer, by placing curly brackets around the name. e.g. {Calculation}

Mandatory If set to 'Yes', indicates that a field is required. It must be filled in one the data entry form.
Unique If set to 'Yes', indicates that you cannot enter the same value on more than one row. Normally this is used for name fields on master tables, to ensure they are all distinct.
Hyperlink If set to 'Yes' the field will be treated as a hyperlink.
Previous Values Drop Down If set to 'Yes' the box on the data entry form will have a drop-down list of previously entered values. This only applies to text fields.

Data Entry Form Layout (Form Designer)

The data entry forms in KitBase can be customised to your own preferences.

You can access the form designer via the 'Data Entry Form Layout' icon on the record list toolbar, associated records tab toolbar or 'cog' icon next to the table link on the 'Database Home' tab.

Adding and Re-arranging Fields

You can customise the fields in the top area are by choosing '(Above Tabs)' in the Tabs list (top right). The top area is shown all of the time, regardless of chosen tab. The most commonly used and/or fields that identify the record should be shown in this area.

You can customise the fields in the tabs by choosing a tab from the Tabs list.

As with the View Designer, you use the left/right arrow buttons to move fields between the Available Fields list and the tab (or 'Above Tabs' area). To move a field into a different tab, select the tab where it currently lives, move it left into Available Fields, choose the required tab and move it Right onto that area.

You can change the positioning of fields on an area using the 'Move Up' and 'Move Down' buttons, again, in much the same way as View Customisation.

The form layout is previewed in the top left of the window. If it is too small, the window can be maximised or you can click 'Preview Window' to see exactly what it will look like.

Each field in the 'Fields' list (bottom right) has a set of properties, to further adjust positioning and behaviour:

Size on Form Each field has a drop-down allowing a number of units to be selected, 1 through 12. This specifies the width of the box in 1/12ths of form width. If set to 12, the field will be the full width of the form.
Start New Line If set to 'Yes' the field starts on a new line.
Copied into Duplicate If set to 'Yes' the contents of the field are copied into a new record when you click 'Duplicate'.
Copied into Accessory These options are only available if 'Accessory' functionality is switched on in the Table Configuration.

If set to 'Yes' the contents of the field are copied into a new record when you click 'Add Accessory' on the associated records tab.

For example, in the Scale Models template, fields such as Kit Type and Scale are configured to copy into accessories, because they are always the same for a kit's accessory (e.g. A 1/72 scale Aircraft, will have a 1/72 scale Aircraft 'Wheel Set' accessory).
Availability Rules Clicking the icon allows the Availability Rule to be set for a field. For example, you can make fields invisible or disabled when a record is at a certain Status.

See the Availability Rule setion for details.
Defaults Clicking the icon allows the Default behaviour to be set for a field. A field can be defaulted to a specific value or defaulted to another field's value.
See the Default Rule setion for details.

Adding, Removing and Moving Tabs

You can create a new tab on the form layout using the 'Add Tab' button. A name needs to be entered into the newly added box.

The 'Move Up' and 'Move Down' buttons are used to change the order of tabs by moving the selected tab.

Each tab row has a 'Delete' button at the side. That can be used to remove a tab. All fields on the tab will be returned to the 'Available Fields' box, allowing you to add them into another tab.

Availability Rule

You can use this form to control the availability of fields. Fields can be made invisible or disabled under certain conditions.

Most fields have 'Always Available' selected, meaning the field is always shown.

Select 'Available When' to apply a rule. The rule properties are as follows:

[Field] Choose a 'check box' type field or a calculated field that outputs Yes/No. The value will be used to drive the rule.
Is Choose 'Yes' if the field is available when the field value is 'Yes' (Checked).
Choose 'No' if the field is available when the field value is 'No' (Unchecked).
When Unavailable Choose the behaviour when the field is NOT available:
  • Disabled
    The field is still visible, but cannot be used.
  • Invisible
    The field still takes up space on the form but is not visible.
  • Removed
    The field behaves as if it is not on the form, moving subsequent fields into the gap. Can be used to switch between fields, if rules are set to be opposite (same '[Field]' different 'Is').
Rule Enabled Normally, this is ticked. You can temporarily disable a rule by unticking.

Default Rule

Default rules allow you to specify the default value for a particular field. This can be set explicitly or derived from another field.

Click the icon in the 'Defaults' column in the 'Fields' box on the 'Form Layout' screen.

To set a value explicitly, choose 'Always default to' and choose a value as you would when entering data. An appropriate field type is shown, e.g. Date Picker for date, Drop-Down with maintenance buttons for Reference.

To take a value from another field, choose 'Default from Other Field' and specify the field. The value will be taken from the default in that field. This option is rarely used when making basic customisations to KitBase. Normally calculated fields are built in the database, to provide a value.

Note that unlike Availability Rules, a field's default can be based on a field that appears after it in the form.

Example (Techie Bit)

When you click 'Add' on the 'associated records' (e.g. 'With Kit') tab, the 'With [Id]' field is automatically fillted in, so as to link the record as a 'child'. When this happens, the Location field must be set to the special '(with kit)' selection.

This is achieved via a layering of calculated fields: (example from Scale Models database)

You can inspect the configuration of the calculated fields through the 'Table Designer'.

Precedence (Another Techie Bit)

The default for a given field, is taken from one of the following, in order. If a default does not work as expected, it will be picking up its value from a higher priority rule.

  1. Defaults From Row - defaults provided via use of the 'Duplicate' button or creating an Accessory.
  2. View Group - default provided by View Group (e.g. when Status grouping is selected on the Record List).
  3. Parent View Group - when adding through an 'associated records' tab, the view group is taken from the main Record List.
  4. Additional Filter - e.g. when adding through an 'associated records' tab, this would be the 'with [Id]' field being defaulted to the selected item in the main Record List.
  5. Default Rule - value is taken from the rule if there is one.
  6. Field Definition - some fields have a built in default, e.g. Integer Auto Number

Table Configuration

There are some features that can be switched on / off for particular tables. You can access the 'Table Configuration' via the 'cog' button against the table link on the 'Database Home' tab.

Accessory Type

Some databases contain items that have accessories.

For example, in the Scale Models template you can record both Kits and Accessories. These share a lot of common fields, some of which allow them to be paired up (e.g. Kit Type, Scale).

Special behaviour for accessories can be switched on by ticking 'Table Contains Items and Item Accessories'.

You must specify the field that is used to categorise accessories (e.g. Accessory Type in the Scale Model template) using the 'Accessory Type Reference Field' property. When entering data, the category field will only contain a value if the item is an accessory.

Switching on the feature affects the Associated Record tab, that shows records linked to an item (i.e. the accessories). The 'Add' button on the toolbar is split into 'Add Item' and 'Add Item Accessory'.

The names on the buttons are affected by the 'Name of Item' and 'Name of Accessory' properties on the Table Configuration.

When the 'Add Item Accessory' button is clicked, fields are copied across from the item. The fields that are copied across are defined in the
Form Designer. For example, for scale models Kit Type and Scale are copied across but Product Manufacturer is not.

To help differentiate accessories and items in data entry, Radio Buttons can be switched on via the 'Accessory Type Drop Down List has Radio Buttons' tick box. The field that categorises accessories (e.g. Accessory Type) will be preceded by radio buttons:

e.g.

The Names are taken from the 'Name of Item' and 'Name of Accessory' properties on the Table Configuration.

Please take a look at the Scale Models database template to see how all of this works. Simply create a Scale Models database via the 'File / New Database' menu option.

Gallery Tab

If the 'Gallery Tab Visible' box is ticked, an additional tab is displayed underneith the record list in the table tab. You can read about it here.

The box contains a set of thumbnails, showing Attachments in a friendly format.

Each thumbnail allows you to navigate through a set of attachments that have the same name prefix. The prefixes are set up as Gallery Groups on this form, e.g. a Gallery Group of 'Box' would pick up 'Box Top.jpg', 'Box Side.bmp' and anything else beginning with 'Box' from the attachments.

Click 'Add' to add another prefix slot to the Gallery Groups list.

Use the 'Move Up' and 'Move Down' buttons to change the order of the groups.

If the 'Show Gallery 'All' Group' box is ticked, an additional group is shown on the gallery, containing every attachment in alphabetical order.

Options

The options screen is accessed via the 'Tools / Options' menu.

Grid Format Tab

The grid format allows customisation of the colour scheme and spacing used on the Record List screens and Associated Records tabs.

Simply click one of the coloured boxes and choose a colour from the standard Windows colour selection box. A preview of the colour scheme is shown on the right hand side.

You can also change the padding and spacing, using the drop-down lists at the top.

Once you are happy with the new colours and spacing, press OK and they will be saved

Press cancel to abort any changes you have made.

To reset the colours back to their defaults, press the Default button.

Appendices

Synchronisation Scenarios

PC to PC via Share

This scenario assumes you have two PC's and a KitBase 2 database has been created on the first. KitBase 2 is installed on the second PC but no database created.

To set up synchronisation:

A folder with the same name as the database on the first PC will be created containing an empty copy.

Click the sync location name to synchronise the data.

You should now be able to open the database on the second PC. Any changes you make at either end can be synchronised using the sync location on the first PC.

PC to PC via Pendrive

This scenario assumes you have a PC with a KitBase 2 database created on it. You want to keep a sync copy on a pendrive, so that you can use it in other machines.

Note that this is NOT a substitute for a backup. You should make regular copies of the database folders to a safe place (pendrive, DVD etc.)

To set up synchronisation:

A folder with the same name as the database on the PC will be created containing an empty copy.

Click the sync location name to synchronise the data.

You should now be able to open the database on another PC running KitBase 2. Any changes you make at either end can be synchronised using the sync location on the first PC.

PC to PC via Cloud

Using cloud services to sync KitBase is not the preferred method, due to the added complexity. How and when cloud drives synchronise is somewhat variable.

If at all possible, you should sync with network shares or a pen drive.

Note that this is NOT a substitute for a backup. You should make regular copies of the database folders to a safe place (pendrive, DVD etc.)

This scenario assumes you have two PC's and a KitBase 2 database has been created on the first. KitBase 2 is installed on the second PC but no database created.

If you do choose to sync via a cloud service, you can set up the sync as follows:

A folder with the same name as the database on the first PC will be created on the cloud, containing an empty copy.

Click the sync location name to synchronise the data.

It is extremely important to allow the cloud to finishing synchronising BEFORE performing any more KitBase sync operations or copies.

For example, on Google Drive click the Google Drive notification icon (near the clock in Windows) and ensure the 'Sync Complete' message is displayed.
On Microsoft OneDrive click the OneDrive notification icon and ensure the 'OneDrive is up to date' message is displayed.

To set up sync on another machine:

You can now perform a KitBase sync to the cloud copy from both machines.

As with making the first copy, it is vital that the cloud sync is complete before you perform any KitBase synchronisation.

Even if you do this, sometimes cloud services do not notice changes made to cloud drives immediately. In tests carried out with KitBase 2, Microsoft OneDrive appeared to be more immediately responsive than Google Drive, which took 25-30 minutes to pick up changes synchronised to the cloud from another PC.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I create a shortcut to open my database directly?

You can create a shortcut via the 'File / Create Desktop Shortcut for Database' menu option.

This creates an icon on the desktop that opens the current database.

If you want to place it on your Windows Taskbar (icons at the bottom), simply right click it and choose 'Pin to taskbar'.

Q: Where are KitBase data files stored?

When a new database is created, the default location is:

"Documents\Suisoft KitBase 2".

You can show the exact location using the 'File / Show Default Databases Folder in Explorer'
menu option in KitBase.

You can show the location of the current database using 'File / Show Database in Explorer'

Note that each database folder contains the following important files and folders:

IMPORTANT: The kitbase database and associated folders should be backed up regularly.

Q: Where are KitBase settings stored?

Settings are stored in the standard Windows location. They are specific to the PC User.

C:\Users\-user name-\AppData\Local\Suisoft\KitBase 2

Note that the files may be hidden by the Operating System.

Q: How do I transfer my database to another computer?

IMPORTANT: Before changing any files you should make a backup of your database(s).

To move or copy the KitBase database to another PC, you will need to transfer the database folder containing the .kitbase2 file and associated folders.

See the Data Files section for more details on file locations.

Below is a step by step procedure for transferring your files to a new computer:

  1. Start KitBase on your OLD computer
  2. Go into 'File / Show Default Databases Folder in Explorer' in the menu
  3. Close KitBase (to ensure no databases open
  4. From the Explorer window opened by 'Show Default Databases Folder', copy the folder(s) (e.g. 'Scale Models') onto a USB pendrive, CD or other media
  5. Install KitBase on the NEW computer
  6. Go into 'File / Show Default Databases Folder in Explorer' in the menu
  7. Close KitBase
  8. Copy the folders USB pendrive (or other media) into the Explorer folder opened via 'Show Database Location'
  9. Start KitBase and go into 'File / Open Database'

Q: Can I run my KitBase database from a USB (removable) drive?

If you want to swap your database between computers, one option is to place the database folder (containing the .kitbase2 file and associated subfolders) onto a pendrive or removable hard disk. The procedure for doing this is the same as transferring to another computer, except that files will be placed on the pendrive.

KitBase will need to be installed on all computers that need to access the data files.

IMPORTANT: Ensure that you make regular backup copies of the database folder in case the drive fails. Also, do not remove the drive with KitBase running or remove it without following the best practice or ejecting the drive first otherwise the database may be corrupted.

Q: Can I run KitBase via a network share?

As with removable drives, you can place the database folder (containing the .kitbase2 file and associated subfolders) on a network share. You will need to move the files into a shared folder then configure KitBase to point to it on both machines. See the transferring to another computer and switching databases sections.

IMPORTANT: Ensure that you make regular backup copies of the database folder. If the network drops out the database could become corrupted. Always close KitBase before shutting down the PC that is sharing the database. KitBase was not designed to be multi-user, therefore you can't access the database from multiple machines simultaneously.

Q: Can I run KitBase via a cloud drive?

This is NOT RECOMMENDED

If changes are made from two different machines and synchronised using the cloud drive, data can be lost. For example, if you add a record on a desktop and laptop using the same cloud drive and the cloud sync occurs afterwards, one of the changes will be lost.

If you do want to use a cloud drive, safest method is to have local copies of the databases in 'Documents' (NOT in the cloud drive folder) and sync them with a copy held in the cloud drive. See the Synchronisation Scenarios section for more information.