Personally, I'm happy to see Lotus Approach is not yet dead among PC users. I think it is still the best database of its kind. In fact, there is no other database of its kind.
But I stopped using it when I discovered that, in Windows 7, some functionality was lost -- like the fact that all the explanatory text was missing from popup windows (like notices of field input errors).
I had a very sophisticated custom database, with many forms, macros, repeating panels, and tables (including alias tables), and such windows and messages were of great importance.
And to my frustration, IBM was insisting that I pay several hundred dollars (if not a thousand or more) for the "IBM Passport Advantage" in order to get the final 6 Fix Packs for SmartSuite, most of which were for Approach -- AND upon reading what they fixed, I discovered that Approach was unreliable without the Fix Packs: that query returns could not be counted on to be accurate and complete, among other things. I found this outrageous, because I'd paid 2-3 times for upgrades over the years, and I just ended up with a program which wasn't providing the basic function it promised (though it typically appeared to provide this function).
BUT now, I'm using SmartSuite again, believe it or not -- Approach and more, because some good soul has posted the IBM fix packs (and the entire 9.8 SmartSuite CD contents) on archive.org. (I know, you probably thought I was going to say the IBM has made all the fixes available now that support and development is officially discontinued for Lotus SmartSuite. But no. IBM still keeps the fix packs behind a crazy-expensive paywall.
I am hoping, however, that IBM will allow archive.org, at least, to continue making this software available free of charge. To get the entire Lotus SmartSuite, and the final, final version (via the final cumulative Fix Pack), go to:
https archive.org / details / LotusSmartSuite99
Please note, that it is'nt apparent that the final fix pack (6.1) is included, unless you click the 'show all' link. At first glance, the page appears to be offering only the contents of the last Lotus SmartSuite retail disc release. But it includes that, and the final cumulative fix pack from IBM
Visit the appropriate IBM page to learn about the user-reported bugs fixed by the fix pack(s). My experience tells me that the fixes include more than those bugs too, because my window text problem is fixed as well, and it’s not mentioned in the text document.
In any case, it’s a vital update for Lotus Approach, and includes some fixes for 123, and Word Pro too.
The greatest problem for users of SmartSuite today, I think, beyond document sharing limitations, is the lack of support for OpenType and Unicode.
But if those limitations don't pose problems for you, and you've installed IBM Lotus SmartSuite Fix Pack 6.1, then personally, I see no reason why people (esp sole proprietors, etc) ought not use Lotus Approach, and other Lotus SmartSuite programs. (And remember, Lotus Approach can serve as a front end to many, many different types of databases. Likewise, those database tables created with Approach could be accessed with many other front ends too, like MySQL. This is one of the things that make Lotus Approach so much more versatile (and in a way, safer) than MS Access.