It’s been two weeks since the Fall 2004 Release of QuickBase. Now that the usual post-release dust has settled somewhat, I want to take a moment to describe some of the features in a little more detail.
When many business users have to deal with lists — whether it’s a task list they need to send around, or a list of project issues, the tool they usually turn to is the one already at their disposal: the spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are fantastic tools, and they make it very easy to quickly bang out a list and send it around by email. For most people, the breakdown happens when you have to change it, or when you’re expecting more than one person to make edits to it. More often than not, this sends many people straight to ‘where-is-the-latest-version’ hell, even if they’re equipped with more advanced geekery like shared network drives.
Here’s why people tell us they like spreadsheets:
- Speed. Nothing beats opening up Excel and hitting the arrow keys to move between cells. Fill down, across, copy columns — there are few better ways to work with your data.
- Simplicity. No need to develop a new mental model — the entire structure is right in front of you, putty in your hands.
- Malleability. When you’re starting out with something like a task list, you’re very often not sure what you’re going to need. There’s no better way to figure that out than to start entering the data at the same time that you’re working with the structure. If you need a new field to track “Contact in Helsinki for this task,” just add a new column. Done.
Spreadsheet create comes from one simple idea: Creating spreadsheet-based lists obviously works for business users. How can we make creating a QuickBase as easy as creating a spreadsheet?