FileMaker

I tend to have a love/hate relationship with FileMaker Pro. It certainly has a lower learning curve than a program like Access or using a full-blown relational database with SQL query commands etc.

While that ease of use often generates poorly-thought out databases, and I've had some nightmare experiences with FileMaker developers who can dink up a web-based system but don't really understand the logistics of deploying that to multiple sites over dial-up internet speeds (me? bitter? :) -- when I discovered that XML access has been available "for free" since 2001, I couldn't help but be impressed.