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8 Web Databases for Tracking, Collecting and Recording Data

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8 Web Databases for Tracking, Collecting and Recording Data

    There are many applications on the web that are made for collecting and storing data. Today we’re taking a look at a bunch of different web-based databases that you might find useful for everything from client records to details about the vaccinations each of your thirteen dogs have had in the last few years. Whatever tickles your fancy.

    Blist

    Blist‘s goal is to fool you into forgetting that underneath the glossy interface, there’s a relational database that the average user doesn’t know much about. I’ve always though that a great interface with average features is better than an app with great features and an average interface. I’m not talking aesthetics, either—but if something is designed well enough that it saves me both time and stress, I’m happy.

    In terms of interface, Blist works somewhat like everyone’s favorite basic database, the spreadsheet. Displays are filtered using what’s called a lens—that and the form designer make it clear that Blist’s goal is to create “the database for the rest of us.”

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    Wufoo

    Wufoo isn’t so much about a database that you populate: it’s a service that allows you to create quite attractive HTML forms so you can collect information from visitors to your site, without needing to learn a programming language to do it.

    The advantages of an easy-to-use form designer is obvious in business when you wish to collect as much information from customers and clients as possible. In your personal life, a variety of applications exist but my favorite was when a friend used a web form to allow his Gmail contacts to fill in their address book entry for him after he lost their phone numbers.

    Zoho Creator

    Zoho Creator basically allows you to create simple database applications using a flashy AJAX interface and a lot of wizard goodness. It comes with plenty of templates, so you don’t need to start from scratch. There are free options, though they’re pretty limited—on the free Personal account, you can only create up to five applications, but that may suit your needs for a long time to come.

    Some of the best features of Zoho Creator include the ability to embed your application in your Web site, and if you’re an advanced user, you can go beyond the wizard-style database designer using Zoho’s Deluge scripting language.

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    Coghead

    Coghead is another offering that allows you to visually build web applications and goes far beyond simple forms. Of course, without becoming a programmer you can’t create any new web app that pops in your head, but Coghead makes it possible to realize quite a broad range of applications—especially databases for a variety of purposes—using the simple power of drag and drop.

    Coghead also has start applications, like Zoho’s templates, including issue trackers and a CRM that you can expand on. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

    Coghead features a great visual workflow editor that allows you to add functionality beyond data capture without using a scripting language. This is an excellent choice for those who want powerful business-oriented applications with a certain level of complexity but aren’t interested in programming at all.

    Dabble DB

    Dabble DB is another easy database application builder, with a reputation for being quick and easy to use—you can have a finished application ready in minutes flat. I didn’t have any trouble getting an app ready in minutes with the other web sites I tried, but Dabble DB’s process did seem to flow a little faster even if it didn’t quite have the same aesthetic pizzaz.

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    If you’re looking for a free service, give Dabble DB a skip. The only free option makes your content Creative Commons and visible to everyone and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you’re looking to build a database application chances are it’s to store private information like your friends’ or clients’ contact details.

    TrackVia

    TrackVia has a strong focus on taking your spreadsheets from Excel or what have you, and allowing you to turn them into powerful databases with its web service. It then allows you to create web forms and run email marketing campaigns from within its web app, so it’s got a very strong emphasis on business.

    Furthering the suspicion that TrackVia is not for the personal user is the fact that there are no free accounts on offer. The cheapest plan with a monthly fee of $30 does offer quite a bit of room for your money—150,000 database records and 1 GB of file storage.

    WyaWorks

    WyaWorks is certainly not the prettiest web app on the block, but it has a slightly different focus on essentially the same thing that many of these start-ups are tackling: WyaWorks is about creating database applications for collaboration.

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    That focus on collaborative work is a definite plus and could be a selling point for many businesses, but for anyone to take it seriously, the programmers behind this app need to put more thought into the way it looks. The design is bad, but the interface is worse—if there’s one thing that this thing needs, it’s a coat of paint and a more usable and intuitive layout. Nobody would buy products from a handwritten catalogue, after all, and the web is no different (especially when you’re after business customers).

    FormAssembly

    FormAssembly is a form designer with a bunch of great features that are useful for the personal user, the business user and everyone in between. It provides email and RSS notifications, statistics including graphical charts and Excel export, as well as e-commerce features such as PayPal and Salesforce integration. You can use FormAssembly for just about anything that involves forms, including order forms.

    While the focus on form designer apps is to get information from others, there’s nothing stopping you from using a FormAssembly or Wufoo form as a pseudo-database where you use the form to create records yourself.

    There is a free version, though your forms will be ad-supported and there’s no auto-responder, secure forms nor file upload. In short, the features that business-oriented users will want to shell out for—I think the free plan works fine for the average user.

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    More by this author

    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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