Earlier today, Intuit QuickBase published a post, Taking QuickBase With You on how I've used this tool at BusinessWeek, McGraw-Hill, and some of my other previous CIO/CTO positions. If you've never used this tool, I suggest giving it a trial. If you've ever built a web application or a light-weight workflow, you'll see its potential very quickly. The Intuit post talks about how I've used QB to kill spreadsheets and build light weight work flows, but for my technical audience, let me share some technical basics:
- Basic web applications start with entities and tables, then forms (for data management) followed by reports. Quickbase makes this easy; create a table, and it will create some of the basic forms and reports for you. Also, your basic tables can be created directly, by uploading spreadsheets, importing MS project files, and other options.
- Quickbase has some advanced field types beyond just your typical text, numeric, and date types. Predecessor fields can be used to create project plans with dependencies. Url fields link. File attachments let you include and version files.
- Quickbase also acts like a spreadsheet; calculated fields operate on fields within the same row - something that can be quite cumbersome to implement in an RDBMS.
- For basic use cases, relationships between tables simplify DB Joins by allowing you to aggregate information from child tables into the parent table and also look up information from the parent table and utilize in the child table.
- The APIs are mature, so if you need to extend the application you have many options.