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Top 6 Database Driven App Builders. These database software solutions do more than store your data – they let you build and build applications to do anything with that data.
Best Database Software For Small Business
I’ve known people who survive on spreadsheets. With a flash, a hiss and a zing (and an arsenal of carefully constructed formulas), life and business move along with ease.
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But there is a limit to how much you can achieve with spreadsheets. If you want to do something with your data, more than just store it, you need a database tool. Although database philosophies may differ, our goal is to present the best database software to help you keep all your business information in one place, create relationships between data, and then build something from those relationships.
Have you ever needed a particular tool for your work, but even after trying dozens of apps, you couldn’t find any that exactly fit your needs? That’s what databases are for. After weeks of intensive testing, here are the six best database app builders.
All of our best app roundups are written by people who have spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it was meant to be and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We are never paid for placement in our posts from any application or for links to any site; We appreciate the trust readers place in us to provide authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full list of how we select apps to be on the blog.
Once you understand the difference between a spreadsheet and a database, you’ll have a better understanding when it’s time to make the switch. In a database, you can query to display only specific related data. Database-driven app builders go one step further, allowing you to build views and dashboards to better understand your data, and even allowing you to build apps for internal use (from forms to automated business processes).
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I’ve spent a lot of time testing, writing, and building apps using no-code tools. For this roundup, I spent dozens of hours researching and testing database tools, importing data, reviewing templates, and creating my own applets. I paid attention to everything from speed and feature complexity to the app’s user interface and learning curve.
Each of the selections you will read about has something unique to offer, but they are all judged on the same criteria:
Because the category is so large, you’ll find that each platform has a unique approach, and the level of technical expertise required to use them also varies. To keep the scope intact, most of the open application building solutions, enterprise suites and business process management platforms were left out, because the core experience and philosophy of this kind of software did not correspond to what it was.
Each of these applications uses different terminology to refer to databases and sheets. For comparison purposes, we will use the following terms: databases (the files), spreadsheets (the pages in the file), and rows (the records or data in the spreadsheets).
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If you’re used to spreadsheets with your business, Airtable is your best bet. It’s still a spreadsheet at heart, but with a collection of powerful features, including building apps. It feels like the gold standard for the category; And the friendly user interface, along with a very intuitive experience and comprehensive help content, will help you make the switch.
The onboarding process is really thorough, helping you through every step of importing data or starting from a template. Plus, there’s a lot of help scattered throughout the app (and outside of it), which gave me more confidence to explore and play than with the other apps on this list.
Setting up new views is a piece of cake. Once you have the data, simply click on the type of view you want to configure in the menu on the left side. I was able to create a calendar, data entry form, and Kanban view from my original content strategy table in minutes, with very little adjustment. There are also light collaboration features: you can mention your coworkers, leave comments on database entries and receive notifications of changes. They’re fine if you want to keep a small team on the same page, but you’ll still have to rely on your company’s communication apps.
The apps section offers even more power, but some tinkering is definitely required. Most apps are easy to create right in your sheets, while some require you to set up a third-party service. You can do things like time tracking or currency conversion right in Airtable, but if you want to build something more powerful and comprehensive from scratch, the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly to developer level.
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Airtable also allows you to create custom dashboards, called interfaces, where you can pull data from all your databases, apply formulas, and see how it all looks at a glance. It’s not as easy to set up as database views, but with a little digging and tinkering, I was able to build what I needed without much hassle.
Overall, Airtable is a polished tool that will make the transition from classic spreadsheets a smooth experience and let you do so much more. You can make Airtable even more powerful by connecting it to , which lets you do things like create calendar events from new Airtable records, or create new Airtable records from form responses.
If you like Trello, you’ll feel right at home in Infinity. The interface and navigation, right down to the way you can edit rows in your sheets, feels like Trello with a bunch of extra database features. It’s uncluttered and intuitive, so you’ll find it easy to jump on.
Infinity is a solid database tool with automation, dashboards, multiple views, integration with other apps and a small set of them, and a strong support section to help you get the most out of it. I like the fact that you can access multiple databases directly from the left side menu and then create and nest views within them as folders.
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It’s like a less cluttered Airtable, but also a little lighter in terms of features. But at the end of the day, the reason Infiniti made this list is because of its pricing model. Depending on how many users you have and how much storage you need, you can pay a fixed price once and have access to all features and support forever. In the future, if you need to upgrade, you will only pay the difference between the tier you are on and the tier you want to move to.
Making a long-term commitment to a platform can seem risky. What if the developers stop updating it? Fortunately, Infiniti has a public roadmap showing what’s been implemented and what’s in store for the future. You can take a look and judge if the app is moving in the right direction. There is no free trial, but you can test the functionality in the templates section. When you preview each, you’re looking at a built-in version of Infinity, and you can get an idea of most of the features there.
If you have a lot of data and know you’ll need a tool for the long term, Infinity’s combination of features and pricing model can maximize your money. Make the most of it with Infinity integrations, which will let you do things like create new Infinity items from calendar events or to-do tasks.
Podio is like a corporate alternative to Airtable, but that’s not the only difference between the two apps. In addition to everything you’d expect from a database platform with application features, Podio invests heavily in team collaboration and project management. There is a feed and activity log page for each workspace, where you can see what has changed recently, and see comments, updates and requests, all on one page.
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If you are a manager, there is a calendar so you can keep track of how projects are going, a tab to see how employees are doing in terms of workload, and an overview of tasks on the immediate horizon. It’s a really powerful tool to keep everyone in
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