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Happy 20th Birthday Blackwell Idealist

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Posted by Geoffrey Miller
Nov 16, 2015 at 11:23 AM


The date of the .exe of my version of Blackwell’s Idealist database manager (version 3) is 17 November 1995, and so is twenty years old tomorrow. In that time, I have used the program on a daily basis, through every version of windows up to 7. It has never crashed and I have never lost a single piece of information, out of the thousands of records stored. I have often thought of migrating to another program, but the beauty of Idealist is that it just works, and keeps on working.

So Happy Birthday Idealist, and thank you.



Posted by MadaboutDana
Nov 16, 2015 at 12:46 PM


It was - still is, clearly - one of the great DBMS. When we first launched our business, our entire (networked) in-house admin system was built on Idealist. Not the target use case, no, but the simple scripting and extreme speed of the application meant that combined with Word’s mail-merge facilities (for producing invoices, orders, confirmation forms etc.), this was perfectly feasible. We kept that system running for about 10 years before finally migrating to FileMaker Pro (which didn’t need Word).


Posted by Lawrence Osborn
Nov 16, 2015 at 01:45 PM


Just checked the date of my version of Idealist 3: January 1999 (which I suspect makes it one of the last builds of that version). Definitely one of the great programs. Still going strong on a 64-bit version of Windows 10.


Posted by MenAgerie
Nov 16, 2015 at 05:35 PM


I fondly remember Idealist - I must have had it around that time 95 or 96, I think I got it free in a magazine. Is there a copy of it to be had on the interwebz?


Posted by Geoffrey Miller
Nov 16, 2015 at 06:21 PM


Although not particularly active of late, there is a blog devoted to Idealist where the original set-up files (plus the manual) can still be downloaded:



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