How to use CHADDB, a free database for non-profits and churches

When a new product is announced, the word goes out about its features. If the product sounds like a good thing, then you wonder, "What would it be like to use it?" Our new product how-to series answers that question. Each how-to starts out with the basics -- product and vendor name, price, etc. -- and then gets down to business with a short how-to. This how-to was written by Don Parris, CHADDB developer and minister at Oakdale Christian Fellowship. - Jan Stafford, editor

Product: CHADDB -- The Church Administration Database

Category: Church management database

Developer/vendor: Oakdale Christian Fellowship, Charlotte, N.C.

Availability: Java front-end was released in March, 2005. The back-end for use with OpenOffice.org has been available for months.

Purpose: Designed for churches of all sizes, this database could be used by some non-profits as well. Its focus is on managing relationships among members and auxiliaries.

Price: Free


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Screenshots of the test data on OpenOffice.org's Website


Assuming you have OpenOffice.org, MySQL, and JDBC already set up correctly, you can use the menu Tools --> Data Sources to open the data sources dialogue box to configure the MySQL connection.

  1. Run SQL scripts to create an setup CHADDB in MySQL. We recommend creating a database called chaddb_test for testing purposes, and use the test data included with the download. (All test data offered in this example is fictional.)
  2. Complete the General Tab by entering a name for the connection in the Name box; selecting JDBC as the database type; and entering the following:


  3. Complete JDBC tab, making sure that the driver class is com.mysql.jdbc.Driver. The URL should be set to:


    Then, set your MySQL user name, and check the Password required box. You should use "auto_increment" in the Auto-Increment box.

  4. Check the Tables tab. You just need to make sure all tables have a check mark next to them.
  5. Use the Queries tab to create any queries you want. You can create a simple address book query using the "person" and "address" tables, joining them on the "psn_id" field.
  6. Open a document in OpenOffice.org, and use F4 to view the data sources.

    Select the tables or queries you want. To do this, just drag a column header into your Writer document at the insertion point to create a form letter using an address book query.

Don Parris is an ordained minister and an advanced, mostly self-taught user of Windows and Linux. He is the author of "Penguin in the pew" and this tip on migrating a non-profit organization to Linux.

This was first published in March 2005

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