QuickBase, the defacto standard for developing Business applications for the Web.
Updated January 07, 2021

QuickBase, the defacto standard for developing Business applications for the Web.

Surya Avantsa, MS, PMP, DTM. | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Quick Base

QuickBase is being used at a federal agency that I worked at, for their core business activity. It helps the management and the staff alike be able to track their cases across all the 5 major departments within the organization. It also helps the public file their legal cases with the agency electronically thus reducing the time and improving the accuracy of the filing.
  • QuickBase is a SaaS product. Therefore, it eliminates the need to have a dedicated department full of people to manage/administer servers for databases, websiites, web applications and so on and so forth.
  • It helps application developers get started with application development right away, without having to install any other software.
  • With an extensive point and click system for application development that still encompasses almost ALL types of programming situations, it makes it easy and quick for developers to build solutions by focusing on the business needs rather than the nitty gritty details of the implementation of the small programming components.
  • QuickBase is based on HTTP API calls and because of this, one can build custom applications using languages such as Java, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, .NET etc so that the custom application can be the front-end while QuickBase is still the database and the backend as a service, including email as a service.
  • There are several third party products that work as an extension of QuickBase. I have personally used Exact Forms Plus to be able to generate documents based on data coming from QuickBase applications. This is possible because of the HTTP API calls that come with QuickBase This makes QuickBase extremely extensible.
  • Webhooks is a major extension of QuickBase that allows "triggers" to handle your business processes across a variety of other 3rd party SaaS products as well.
  • Automations (now integrated with Pipelines) go beyond webhooks. They use drag and drop, drop-down select type of coding with wizards such that one can't go wrong. It improves the productivity of the application developer by at least 100x
  • There have been several areas for improvement that QuickBase has collected over the years from their users via uservoice. Many cool features have been implemented.
  • However, I still feel that they should either get rid of the limitation or expand the number of form rules one can use in a form that has formula fields. Currently it is at 20!
  • I want QuickBase to seriously consider increasing datastorage at reasonable expense for developing applications that handle large transactions.
  • Get FedRamp certified. Get FedRamp certified. Get FedRamp certified. Do whatever is necessary for that. But don't move to AWS for that. Amazon is a monster. Stay away.
Like I mentioned in the pros of using QuickBase, this product can shred the amount of time one needs to design, build and deploy web applications, with as little infrastructure as you can. At the federal agency I worked, we migrated from an Oracle Forms based case tracking application to QuickBase. As a result, the cost to hire and maintain Oracle DBAs, Unix System Administrators was totally eliminated. QuickBase takes care of it all!
So as application developers, we could move quickly from requirements gathering to systems design to development, testing and deployment in weeks as opposed to months and years for each component. We didn't have to worry about load balancing, maintaining our servers or maintaining our platform etc.
At one of my previous jobs in 2008, we evaluated QuickBase and Salesforce and recommended QuickBase because it was much more functional and inexpensive than Salesforce. Over the years, both these companies have improved their offerings. Still I feel QuickBase has more features than Salesforce. Although Salesforce scored one big advantage...FISMA approval for Federal Government clients and I sincerely hope QuickBase will get there soon too. Because the Federal government deserves better.
  • Building and deploying business applications faster
  • Improving our ability to drive insights from our data
  • 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
About building and deploying applications faster, I have previously mentioned and I still stand by it, that unlike development in languages such as .NET, Java or ROR, QuickBase is must faster. With features such as Sandbox (including optional mandating it), the task of deploying to production is a matter of a few minutes, not several hours even with CI/CD tools like Jenkins.
Report building in QuickBase is great, but it can be done even better. Tools like Tableau are still being used in conjunction with QuickBase because QuickBase reports look clumsy, even if they are informative.
As QuickBase is an online low-code development tool, it does not lend itself to version controlling and retrieving previous versions, etc. Therefore collaborating with other teams is pretty much limited to sharing ideas and code fragments, rather than collaborative application development. The recent audit logs are helpful for tracking what the users are doing but not much granularity in what each admin has done, in terms of which field they created or edited, which form was created, etc. So team collaboration is non-existent in QuickBase for the most part.
In the last 12 years of using QuickBase, I have solved, built and deployed multiple applications including applications that track software development efforts, Reusable Component Catalog for UiPath in QuickBase and so on.
QuickBase would like to think or have customers think that this is a citizen developers' tool. But I beg to disagree with that because, one needs to have knowledge of relational databases, the concepts of normalization, the need to normalize, how relationships work, how the summary fields, lookup fields work, etc to be able to develop a meaningful and useful application that can be maintained in the future.
I have first-hand experience developing applications for some DC Govt agencies where they had "citizen developers" such as administrative assistants, finance managers, and human resource managers develop applications only to have me come in and redo them "correctly." As an example, when you had to modify the name of a person, the systems developed by the citizen developers were such that one would have to modify the name of the person in 8 different tables, all in the same application! But I designed the systems so they can change the name in just one Employees table and the lookup fields would take care of effecting the change across the applications.
Thus, I would strongly recommend that businesses should consider having experienced professional programmers who have experience and education in developing applications do the job.
I have maintained several QuickBase applications, across several of my client organizations. The best way to make changes to an existing QuickBase application is to use the Sandbox feature. If you are creating new reports, you SHOULD do it in the existing production application. But if you have to make changes to the table structures, relationships, forms etc, you should create a Sandbox from the production application, migrate some data from the production version or otherwise, make the changes necessary, test it and rollover the Sandbox to production.

There are pitfalls just like in any other application development environments. They can be aggravated in QuickBase, because of how quick it is to do something with QuickBase. Just as you can do several productive things quickly, you can even make mistakes very quickly (probably why it is called Quick Base.) So the best way to handle deployments is to have a plan.

I always have had a living document for the deployment plan, that I would start right after I create the Sandbox. Through out the development/maintenance phase, I keep documenting everything that needs to be done at the time of deployment. Otherwise, it is very easy to lose track of the tasks you need to do, leading to grave errors. At the end, it is extremely easy to review the deployment plan document and quickly estimate how long it is going to take to deploy and deploy it without errors and in a timely manner.

One note of caution to QuickBase administrators: NEVER delete the connection between the production application and your sandbox. You WILL lose all the changes made in the sandbox.
If you want to track something, such as a business process, use QuickBase. For all other type of business applications, where you might want to have a custom user interface, you should still use QuickBase, because you can't find a better product that can act as a Backend-as-a-Service.
However, due to the limitation of the amount of data that you can store in QuickBase, avoid using it for applications that involve large transactions processing.

Quickbase Feature Ratings

Integrations and Governance

  • The Box
  • Exchange
  • Gmail
  1. With "The Box", it was fairly easy. You just set up the software and drop .CSV files there and when you setup QuickBase to trigger an import whenever a file is just created or modified etc, it runs that import job.
  2. With Gmail, however, you are not supposed to have MFA. That was an issue that I overcame by setting up mail forwarding select emails to another Gmail account without MFA. Then QuickBase was able to get the mail messages from there.
  3. Normally Exchange should be straightforward but different organizations have different email policies that are so stringent that it is impossible to set up with QuickBase. I had to get in touch with the "IT" who after the initial resistance came around and helped us out to have QuickBase read emails from the OWA online. With that, I was able to set up triggers for approval and rejection of invoices by the customer.
I was able to integrate QuickBase with UiPath so UiPath bots can write to QuickBase using QuickBase HTTP API Calls from UiPath's HTTP Activity. Even embarked upon a venture to develop a UiPath reusable component that others can use to interact and perform the CRUD operations with QuickBase.

One specific bot that I developed in UiPath, writes day to day posted transactions from Credit Card websites in such a way that in QuickBase the duplicates are automatically never inserted by the bot, even if the bot sees duplicate transactions because it runs daily.
App Tokens and User Tokens from QuickBase are pretty powerful in combination with roles and permissions. Using these within the UiPath bots, I was able to make sure the data is inserted in a controlled and secure manner. In other places where I designed and developed QuickBase applications, we used SSO. In a Federal organization, I had used the "Everyone on the Internet" role that allows the large customer base to be able to add/modify their own data in a controlled manner. I had even implemented a custom user management and password management module within QuickBase that has all the regular provisions such as Registration, Login, Forgot Password, Auto-signoff after 8 hours of usage if the user has not signed off, etc. These measures not only saved the client money for user licenses across the world but also made sure they are in compliance with Federal security standards.

Using Quick Base

75 - Business Development, HR/Accounts Receivables, IT Functions such as Code Review, Law Firm Case Tracking
1 - People with extensive IT background, including 3GL, 4GL as well as low code platforms like QuickBase and RPA technologies such as UiPath.
  • Time And Material
  • CRM
  • Code Review
  • Accounts Receivables and Invoicing
  • Asset Management
  • UiPath Code Review
  • Documentation of Reusable Components in UiPath
  • Building UiPath SDK for QuickBase
  • Learning Management Systems for Schools
  • We are working on a Time and Material application for our organization, which would have taken several months, if it were not for Quickbase and its low code powerful platform
  • When we want to put together a small app for conducting Code Review, QuickBase is always the first choice, because we could build the app in 5 minutes. Not weeks.

Evaluating Quick Base and Competitors

Yes - When we were evaluating a platform for SaaS/PaaS for Project Management, we looked into JIRA that was already being used in the organization and felt the need to look at other platforms, such as QuickBase and SalesForce. This was in 2008. At that time SalesForce was more expensive and had ready-made applications for CRM and not Project Management. Moreover, QuickBase was extremely intuitive to use unlike SalesForce and JIRA and thus QuickBase replaced JIRA by overcoming SalesForce!
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Positive Sales Experience with the Vendor
  • Analyst Reports
  • Third-party Reviews
Product Features: Back in 2008, it was a development platform where you can develop any type of application if the existing templates are not good for you. Whereas SalesForce was just a CRM tool. It was only in the last 5 or 6 years that SalesForce became an application development platform.
Besides, ever since QuickBase was spun off as a separate organization, they have invested heavily in product improvement. They added excellent features such as:
1. Webhooks
2. Actions (aka Triggers)
3. Automations (now integrated with Pipelines) and integrations with third-party file storage services, email services, third-party API based products such as Zapier and so on.
The trend is going toward low-code. While QuickBase is already a low code product, there are other features QuickBase can incorporate such as drag and drop coding like in UiPath, diagram coding like in Appian/Pega and so forth. Personally I feel it is a bit too much to do all that. But since that is the trend the world is going toward, I think QuickBase (and me too) need to think on those lines.

Quick Base Support

Although I had a great experience with QuickBase support in the past, these days, they do not respond quickly. I end up with too many hide and seek games like situations for more than 2 to 3 days. And finally, when they do come to help, they typically end up stating my situation is not something QuickBase can handle when in reality it is the individuals who can't handle it.
Quick Resolution
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Less knowledgeable
Problems left unsolved
Not kept informed
Need to explain problems multiple times
Support doesn't seem to care
Slow Initial Response
Yes - Bugs are acknowledged immediately but they handle them on their own timeline, once a month. Not too bad.
When I lost some data and I raised a support case for restoring the data, QuickBase support did a phenomenal job of restoring the previous day's copy on a very short notice.

Using Quick Base

It is good for most applications. But not when you want to have custom buttons with custom labels. When you want a custom UI, it is nearly impossible. You have to use other tools such as 3/4GL languages or PAAS application development platforms such as Bubble.io
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Feel confident using
  • Building tables, relationships, formula fields, forms, automations
  • Building Datarules is easy and works excellently well.
  • Security and permissions is a little cumbersome and unpredictable.
Yes - Not too well. The UI is confusing and unusable.