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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 February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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