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Is there a way to distribute a basic searchable database for Mac OS X computers targeting only the software included by Apple with the computers? I need to distribute a phone number listing that I'd like to be filterable by state, area code, etc, hopefully as something a bit more user friendly than a huge flat text file.

However, while I can use Macs, I don't consider myself a power user and don't know what options I have available. I'd like this to be either a data file or an existing OSS executable that can be run directly from the optical media. Do any Mac power users have suggestions?

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There is no guarantee of any default XLS, CSV, or TAB DB viewer other than a simple plain text editor. No default Excel, Numbers, or even just an Excel Viewer. The XML viewer is only installed if Developer Tools is installed.

You mention an executable. Python exists by default on all Macs, so you could use that to write a special DB browser program. You could wrap the DB inside the app so that it is one file drag-and-drop.

If you want to only distribute the DB and no app, make it HTML, possibly AJAX-y so you can filter and sort. For example, a small TiddlyWiki file could have a table (DB) of a few hundred to maybe even a few thousand records, and have fairly advanced functionality thanks to javascript.

OS 8 and 9

Different OS, I don't think you can distribute one file across X and pre-X OS's. I think you'll need two application. I doubt the browsers available for OS 8/9 can run the Javascript in a TiddlyWiki.

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Yeah, that's the conclusion I was reaching myself, which is why I'm hoping I just don't know about a simpler solution. Re: OS8/9, would something like Hypercard work for this? I vaguely remember fooling around with it in my younger days. Does it contain database and search capabilities of any kind? – Oesor Nov 24 '10 at 19:42
After looking over Tiddlywiki, something like it could be useful. Is there any way to convert structured data into its tiddlers, or is it something that would need to be maintained by hand? – Oesor Nov 24 '10 at 19:48
You could make a template table with filler data, then use another program (sed/python/perl) to find that table and replace it. – user31752 Nov 24 '10 at 20:59

For the Mac OS X computers and a phone number listing, I'd use the Address Book. You can import the list on one computer, turn it into a group, and then export it out as an Address Book archive or vCard and then import it back into the other computers. Search by State, Zip, etc. For free you get the ability to do address labels and the like.

For the OS 8 and 9 computers ... ah, geez ... going strictly by memory you should have Outlook Express on these machines and that program has its own address book which should be able to import a formatted text file (tab delimited probably).

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I don't want to distribute all the numbers to end users' contacts, I want to distribute the ability to search for a particular (i.e. local) number. – Oesor Nov 24 '10 at 19:44

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