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8 Web Databases for Tracking, Collecting and Recording Data

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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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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