ToyBase

Toy Library Database

A database for Toy Libraries.

About ToyBase

ToyBase™ is a software package specifically designed for the needs of people who run Toy Libraries, Play Centres, Sure Start Organisations or Resource Centres. ToyBase records information about stock, members, loans and loan history, visits and reservations.

Please take the tour and download the software. The demonstration works forever and ToyBase is free to use if you have less than 500 active Toys and Members.

ToyBase on Windows

Running ToyBase on a Mac

Did you know that you can run ToyBase and other Microsoft Windows software directly on your Mac?  Apple provide a product called Bootcamp  with Snow Leopard and describe the process in this article.  I use a product called VMWare Fusion which does the same job and allows you to run Windows applications side-by-side with Macintosh applications. You will need a Microsoft Windows installation CD and a Microsoft Windows licence in order to install Windows on either of those products.  See their website for details on how to get everything installed. Here is a picture of ToyBase running on a Mac (click to zoom): ToyBase on a Mac!

Upgrading From ToyBase 6.4 to ToyBase 7

ToyBase 6.4 is quite old now and requires:
  1. the defunct Borland Database Engine
  2. to be installed from your original CD
  3. Administrator rights on newer versions of Windows
ToyBase 7 is a much smaller program which can be downloaded from the Internet. You can upgrade v6.4 to v7 by downloading the latest version from our website. Just save the downloaded file onto your desktop - it will be called something like toybase70xx.msi Double-click the file and ToyBase 7 will be installed onto your PC. If there are any warnings after the import please copy and paste the log (Help menu… view log) in to an email and send it to me. You can also find some help online at the ToyBase blog: http://www.toybase.net/blog/categories/install/ The install will create a shortcut to the software on your desktop. This will run ToyBase normally and should be used day-to-day. There is a second shortcut in the Programs menu that will start ToyBase and automatically import your data, pictures, license and settings from v6. The shortcut is called “Import data from Toybase v6”. It can be found in the Start menu: Please have a look around and make sure all of your data is copied over. Notice the backup option has changed now - ToyBase makes a backup for you every morning but expects you to copy them off the computer for safe keeping! If you wish to enlarge your existing thumbnails go to the menu Tools…Toy Thumbnails and click the [Remake] button

If You Have Lost Your ToyBase 6 CD

ToyBase 6 was distributed on CD because it installed a program called the Borland Database Engine (BDE) onto your PC. You cannot run ToyBase by copying the program files onto another PC without also installing the BDE. If you have lost your CD and want to make another, send me an email and I will send you the link so you can download a copy of the CD over the Internet. If you are using Windows XP, Vista or 7 then I suggest you upgrade to ToyBase 7. You will download a file called toybase6408.exe.  This is a ZIP file containing the contents of the ToyBase 6.4.8 CD. You don’t need WinZip installed - just run the program and it will create a folder called c:\toybase6408 on your PC. Inside this folder you will find a program called welcome.exe : Run the welcome program to install the software on your PC. NB ToyBase 7 is much smaller and no CD is required.  The software is downloaded over the internet and the program can be copied easily between computers as it is self-contained.

Sharing Your Data on a Network Drive

Many people want to put their ToyBase data on a Network drive so that many people can use ToyBase at the same time.  This is now possible in version 7.0.95. The procedure for moving your data is described in this article and will probably need to be carried out by your I.T department. Once completed, your setup will look like this:

You will have ToyBase installed as normal on your PC(s) and laptop(s). They will point to a folder on your network containing your database file and your images folder. Each person will use a copy of ToyBase that is running on their computer.  The behaviour of ToyBase is unchanged:
  • you cannot create two toys with the same number
  • you cannot create two members with the same number
  • you cannot book out the same toy to different members at the same time
There is one special case - ToyBase does not lock a Toy or Member record when you edit it. Therefore if two people on different computers attempt to edit the same record, whoever saves their changes last will win and their edit will remain. The edit of the first person to save will be lost without warning. I do not intend to change this behaviour in the short term unless there is a large demand for the change.

ToyBase 7.0.95 Is Ready!

ToyBase 7.0.95 is mainly a housekeeping release but it contains some essential work that had to be done before I can get back to adding new features. Changes:
  • if you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 then ToyBase will now attempt to put its database in the correct folder for your user and so Windows will never complain about the database being ‘read only’. See the linked article for more details
  • your I.T. department can override ToyBase and tell it to store the data anywhere that they choose (for example on their network drive)
  • as a New Year gift I have increased the number of records that can be created in the free demonstration from 200 to 500 active toys and members.  This should be more than enough for small organisations to use ToyBase for free and for larger organisations to thoroughly try the software before they commit to a purchase.
  • optimised the Publish Catalogue to Website option so it only uploads images that have changed since the last publication
  • if you attempt to create a toy but you don’t have any categories you will be directed to the Toys…Create Category menu instead
  • I have added these currencies to the Tools…Options menu:
  1. Australian Dollars
  2. Euro
  3. Indian Rupee
  4. United States Dollars
Bug fixes:
  • some people were not deleting the ‘import v6 data’ shortcut which was included for a quick upgrade and import of data from v6 to v7.  ToyBase now asks you to confirm that you want to import your old data.  I consider this a bug because it should not have been so easy for a user to re-import their old data.  The import icon has been moved from the desktop into the Start menu
  • the folder icons were missing in the Tools…Backup menu - they are now put on your PC when you install ToyBase
  • apostrophes can now be included in your Organisation Name of your Licence. I have had to remove some in the past but this has not been a problem for the last few versions of ToyBase
  • when you click on links that take you to the toybase.net website, all the links now point to the new pages and not to the old site.  All the old links will continue to be redirected to the new pages and so you will not notice the transistion
    The application icon has changed from a blue cube to a blue index card holder:

    To get the new version, open ToyBase and hit the Help…Check for updates menu or click download.

    Locate the Folder Containing Your ToyBase Data on Newer Versions of Windows

    When ToyBase is running on Windows 95, 98, Me or XP it stores your data in this folder:
    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\toybase.net\ToyBase\home
    This folder is not recommended to be used under Windows Vista or Windows 7. It will work if the PC is yours and your user account is an Administrator as you have complete access to your hard drive. However this may not be the case if you are using a PC supplied by your I.T. department. In this case ToyBase will store the data here:
    \Users\YourName\AppData\Local\toybase.net\ToyBase\home
    This change was made in ToyBase version 7.0.95.  If you installed an earlier version of ToyBase (e.g. 7.0.94) on Windows 7 then you will find the data in the old location above.  ToyBase will detect this and put a warning in the log.  If you choose to do so you can use Windows Explorer to move your data folder from the old to the new location.  Only do this if you are confident with Windows Explorer and how data is stored on your PC!  Or ask your I.T. department to do this for you. If ToyBase running on Windows Vista or 7 should find both an old and new data folder then it will warn you with an error message in the log (and on the home screen) and use the new data folder.  You should choose one or the other and delete the unwanted copy. Then  take a look at the ToyBase log - it will tell you all the folders where ToyBase looked for your data and the choice that it made.

    Changing the Location of Your Database File - Perhaps to a Network Drive

    ToyBase 7.0.95 allows your I.T department to move the database file to a folder of their choice - perhaps to a network drive for backup or security purposes.  To do this you need to know about Windows Explorer, Windows paths, and INI files. ToyBase will store its database file and stock images in the location of your choosing.  The location needs two sub-folders:
    • data
    • images
    ToyBase will try and create these but depending on file permissions it would be safer if you make them.  For example if you have a network drive mapped to N: and you want to store the data in N:\ApplicationData\ToyBase then create these folders:
    • N:\ApplicationData\ToyBase\data
    • N:\ApplicationData\ToyBase\images
    Once you have made the folders follow these steps:
    1. Start ToyBase
    2. Locate the folder where ToyBase currently stores its data (see this article for more information). The quickest way is the Tools…Backup menu and click the yellow folder next to the line ‘Your data is always stored in this folder’.  Or you can look in the Help…View log menu
    3. Find the toybase.ini file in the config folder ‘…toybase.net\ToyBase\home\config’.  If this file does not exist just go to the Tools…Options menu and hit the [Save] button to create it
    4. Close the ToyBase application
    5. Open the toybase.ini file and locate the [System] section
    6. Add a new line DataBasePath=
    7. Write the path where you want ToyBase to store its data (e.g. N:\ApplicationData\ToyBase)
    8. Save and close the toybase.ini file
    The next time you start ToyBase it will create an empty database file in the folder you chose.  If the users already have data then you should copy the existing database file (which has the extension .abs and is named in the Tools…Backup menu) into your new folder.  You can also copy the existing images from the local c: drive (in the images subfolder of the path you discovered above) to your network drive. Start ToyBase, choose Help…View Log and you should see an entry that ToyBase is using your new folder. Have a look at the Toys…View menu to see that ToyBase has found the old records and their pictures.