A Beginner’s Guide to Database Application

Clouds and Numbers

 

What is a Database Application?

A database application is basically a computer program that is allowing multiple users to log in, manage and share data. Since the arrival of online database software and software as a service (SAAS) intended for all sizes of businesses, database applications are now accessible an irreplaceable part of business data management.

There is a wide range of uses for database applications. Nowadays, most companies store their data using database applications. Examples of database applications range from basic clients information trackers and tasks lists management to elaborate banking and airline systems.

It used to take a team of seasoned developers and programmers or a comprehensive grasp of programming languages to design database applications. With the current era of citizen programmers, many companies like ours now offer end-users the possibility to design their own database applications without any programming skills.

 

Tips to design your own database applications without programming

A few months ago, I finally put into words the recipe to design your perfect database application by yourself. There are five easy steps: Think, Scribe, Browse, Build and Try. Here is the new and improved version of my recipe.

 

1.  Think!

The first questions you need to ask yourself before starting to build your database application are very simple. What is the essential data my company needs to track? What do I specifically need to know about this data?

For example, almost all B2B or even B2C businesses need to keep track of their prospects and clients information. But the data you need to track about your clients is industry specific and even business specific. When it comes to database application design, we don’t believe in one size fits all. You first need to sit and think about the fields you want to see appear in your database application. Do you need to know the height and weight of your clients? Their age? The number of employees their company employs? Take some time to think about this, it will save you a lot of time down the road.

 

2.  Scribe!

Get the pen and paper and map your database application on paper. What information should come first? What goes where? Do you need sections? This is basic data architecture combine with common sense. For our client tracking application, name and title should probably come first, but maybe not. It all comes down to ease of use. Again, take the time. Draw a few drafts and discuss it with your team.

 

3.  Browse!

Search through the fields dropdown to find what type of field you want for each piece of data. If you need to attach files, are you already using Dropbox or Google Drive or are your files on your hard drive? Do you need to assign each item to a member of your team? Is it important for you to know when a specific item was created or last saved?

Each type of field has specific properties. A text field is best for free-form entries like names or comments. Use dropdowns or trees to give some preselected value choices to your team. Make fields mandatory, read only or write once. Browse through the field and property choices you’re given.

 

4.  Build!

Now is the time to actually build your database application. How exciting! Create and format all your fields and take a close look at all the properties you can select for each field. Remember, with most online database software now on the market, no need for programming skills. If you have a basic understanding of computing, you’re good to go!

 

5.  Try!

Now that your database application is done, play with it! Create a few new items and question yourself on the ease of use of your creation. Your first version may not be perfect. No worries, you can always go back to your database application and customize it some more. We strongly suggest that you roll-out your new database application with a few of your super-users. Remember, introducing change in  team can create waves of discontent. Take things slow and read this article if you find yourself in this situation. I hope it helps!

 

You should now have a better understanding of what a database application is and how you can easily design one with any programming skills. Are you up for the challenge?

 

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Marie-Josee Porlier

Sales Director at Kohezion
Marie-Josée Porlier is the Sales Director and main blogger @ Kohezion. Ask her your questions about the cloud computing industry, online database software, database applications, legacy systems, business solutions and business productivity. She can be reached at mjporlier(at)kohezion(dot)com.
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