ORIGINAL: Chief Rudiger
I too have baulked at the amount of info in the editor, and the look of the database behind it, and am afraid of the mistakes I’ve made and how they'll affect the game.
However, I am a technician working for my city's local government roads authority, managing street lighting, and we have an inventory and job management package that is a lot worse to look at than the Estab Editor. Similar to the Estab Editor, the street lighting package allows you to manipulate the database through a graphic user interface, which should make everything user friendly. The GUI is usefully if you want to look at each lamp post/job in detail, but for making sense of all the wood-for-the-trees we use a third party SQL based report generating package which pulls info out of the database onto a excel look-a-like report whose fields you specify. This can be exported to Excel proper and manipulated. Edits can then be merged with the database.
So, say for example you want to look at what faults have been reported against a certain type of lamp post, say really old steel ones, you would point your report at the inventory database and tell it to find all the old steel poles, then look at the job database and find all jobs raised against those poles. You would then specify the report fields as pole location, age, manufacturer, and job date, person who did the job, and cost of the job. Your report would not include the mountain of info associated with each to the poles, or the jobs, and help you get a better idea which old poles are becoming a maintainence nightmare etc. With the Estab editor, you would restrict your report fields to what was pertinent to your query, say having one report to check all the Force details are correct, another to check weapon details etc.
The package we use if called R&R Report Works, but I don't think you'd get it for cheaps, or on any torrent site. I also don't know how to point it at databases other than the default, but I believe it is possible and will have a try. I think many accountants use a similar kind of reporting package, I think called "Crystal". MS Access can produce similar report, if you know what you're doing with it, which I don't, but that might be a better solution seeing as most people have it.
What is it you want exactly? Once the reported bugs are ironed out, maybe me, The Plodder and DanO can get something going that is a bit more intuitive than Excel. An application to sort or provide different views of the Estab data wouldn't be too hard to code up if we're three devs working on it. Detail it a bit and hear what Dave has to say and I think we can get something done.