Quick and easy to use, but can allow people with a bit of knowledge to be dangerous
November 08, 2018

Quick and easy to use, but can allow people with a bit of knowledge to be dangerous

Katherine Valentine | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Quick Base

Our company uses Quick Base in our Electronics business group to manage data for medium to very large projects (i.e. months or years to finish, and a budget of over a million dollars for design). At a high level, this data includes scope, schedule, budget. We sometimes also use it to track details for parts of the project that have lots of things to keep track of, so it doesn't get lost in a mess of spreadsheets.

There are two main reasons we use Quick Base rather than another solution: 1) It is easy to give access to companies we are collaborating and still have peace of mind that all the data is secure, unlike a solution hosted internally and 2) The needs of our project rapidly change, and only Quick Base allows us to adapt to that change quickly enough.
  • Quick Base is easy to change, allowing us to adapt to our clients' changing needs. It's even so easy that sometimes project managers can make the changes themselves, rather than relying on a person dedicated to software development.
  • We don't have to worry about hosting and security. We can simply use it and share it with collaborators without going through all the red tape of exposing an internal server to outside parties.
  • The features of Quick Base allow us to do almost everything we need natively, so there's rarely a need to build custom solutions or hire third-party developers.
  • The biggest missing feature I run into is a lack of an ability to run a report across multiple tables, like you can with a SQL database. You can add lookup values to child tables, it's true, but that doesn't help you run a report that includes all records from both the parent and child tables, even if some parents have no children.
  • The second biggest feature I wish QB had is a way to intercept deletions and other actions of that sort. You can react to those actions (which is great!), but sometimes we want to prevent deleting records in specific cases, or would like to "archive" them instead of deleting outright.
  • It seems some formulas get cached and will have stale values, which makes it difficult to test if everything is working properly, especially if you're using formula fields to manage access.
  • It is a burden to manage access for a lot of users across many apps, especially if you are trying to balance giving access to those who need it and removing access from those who don't, so you can keep license fees down.
Quick Base absolutely lets us build, deploy, and update custom business applications faster and easier. This is one of the main drivers for us to use Quick Base. We do set up some custom built applications using ASP.NET and Access when we need a very customized solution, but the time it takes to build anything in either of those systems is an order of magnitude longer. We often use Quick Base even when it doesn't have every feature we would like, because otherwise we would be unable to deliver anything at all in the necessary time frame.
We have not used any other products like Quick Base, only products that have different strengths and use cases (like ASP.NET).
My experience is that anyone with a rudimentary understanding of relational databases can hack together something that will work, but it is often very messy, and they eventually hit a point where they can no longer manage it. At that point, a technical expert has to come in and refactor it, which can take longer than building it properly to begin with. If a technical person with the training to properly plan and organize an app builds it to start with, then it is generally possible for a non-technical person to make tweaks as needed, perhaps with occasional consultation with a technical expert.

I would guess that 90% of our development is by technical experts, not non-technical "citizen developers".
  • Building and deploying business applications faster
  • Improving collaboration across one or more teams
  • Solving a specific business challenge
  • Building and deploying an application (or multiple applications) that meets our exact needs
We absolutely have built and deployed business applications faster than alternative methods we've used in the past, as described. It has also greatly improved our ability to collaborate, as has also been mentioned. We often do not end up with an app that exactly meets our needs, and we could get a better customized solution using another platform, but it is generally close enough that it's not worth the extra time and expense to go another route.
I often end up in meetings with project managers and/or clients who look at the app and say it is great except it needs to also track X, Y, and Z. By the time they are done talking amongst themselves, I've already added the fields they are asking for. It has frequently blown people away, as they are used to a much longer cycle between a request for a change and seeing the change implemented (assuming it ever happens at all!). It's great to be able to talk to someone, understand what they need, spend a minute or two making a change, then ask them to refresh the page and confirm it meets their needs.

There have been other times where it was much more difficult to do an update, but that is usually because of a poorly designed app or poorly understand and articulated requirements. Quick Base is not a panacea to poorly designed apps, unfortunately!
For us, Quick Base gets used when we want to collaborate across companies (or even distant offices internally), when we have a need for a database come up on very short notice, and/or when we expect the needs of the application to frequently change. Quick Base allows us to manage all of those things easily, and we have not found another solution that does so.

We don't use Quick Base if there are very complicated rules for data integrity, relationships, triggers, etc. We also don't use it to generate complex reports, although the data often resides in QB.