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  • 1.  Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 11-24-2021 16:40
    Has anyone developed in all 3 platforms? Can anyone give insight on the where they fall short of QB, or perhaps any advantages? I love working in QB, but was recently asked why not just Smartsheet or Powerapps. I didn't have an answer, since I have never used them!

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    Mike Tamoush
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  • 2.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 11-24-2021 16:46
    Edited by Mark Shnier (Your Quickbase Coach) 30 days ago
    Power apps is from Microsoft.  I had the opportunity to be presented with a comparison of QuickBase versus Power apps and the conclusion that Quickbase came to when they did a controlled test giving sample problems to power users to solve was that the power users were unable to solve problems with Power Apps. Power Apps is much more oriented to hard-core programmers and not what we in the QuickBase world would call empowered knowledge workers.  In other words regular people - maybe a little bit smarter than the average :) ....  but most of us who use QuickBase are not real programmers. 

    I don't know much about Smart Sheets.

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    Mark Shnier (YQC)
    mark.shnier@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 08-31-2022 14:01

    I know this is an older thread, but thought I'd post in case someone else comes across it and is curious.

    I am a relatively new Quickbase user; we have also been using Smartsheet for a little over a year.  The biggest difference for me is that QB is a relational database; Smartsheet is not.  You can do cross-sheet lookups (via a formula), but no record picker functionality.  Also, the Smartsheet forms are somewhat limited.

    There are definitely some things I like about Smartsheet; for certain things it is easier to accomplish than in QB.  I'd say for the average non-technical user, Smartsheet is easier to pick up on.  It is much more like Excel, although with much enhanced capabilities in certain areas.  Sounds like Power Apps is on one end of the spectrum, Smartsheet on the other, and QB in the middle.  We are going to continue to use SS for some functions.

    I come from a database development/programming background; I am working on an app now that definitely needs the relational database capabilities of QB.  I had originally hoped to develop it in Smartsheet but quickly realized it wasn't going to work.

    One advantage of Smartsheet is that you don't need a paid license for users to access your "apps"; they can add data and make changes with just a free license.  You only need a paid license for anyone who is going to create workspaces/sheets (the SS version of apps & tables).



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    Jennifer Marquette
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  • 4.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 09-01-2022 01:14
    Jennifer,

    Quickbase is now offering "per usage" licensing in addition to "per user" licensing. For many of my apps, there is a set of users who only use it to clock in and out, or to update a ship date and Airway Bill Number, or to look at the home page, or some other very limited interaction. The "per usage" model saves a lot of money for those users. It's not free like Smartsheet, but it is pretty low cost.

    Another thing about Smartsheet - it is WAY better at adjusting dates for tasks in a project. At my old company, we used Smartsheet for scheduling installations and just imported that information into Quickbase for a "read only" view.

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    Edward Hefter
    www.Sutubra.com
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  • 5.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 09-02-2022 16:19

    As a Citizen Developer, I've tried many different "low-code" platforms including Salesforce, Power Apps, Quickbase, and a few others. With the goal of creating applications that make it easy for the end user to be better at their job. In order for me to do this effectively as a citizen developer, it must be easy to organize the data based on how "my business does business". 


    I found it easy to build an application on the Salesforce platform - but found it impossible to create an app that allows me to organize the data based on how "my business does business". Salesforce applications make me feel like I'm wearing a "straight jacket" when it comes to organinzing/working with the data in a meaningful way. 


    I'm a big Power BI user (Desktop and Online service) so I tried Power Apps. I found it very hard to create an app – there are alot of moving parts (canvas apps, model-driven apps, dataverse, etc) - and all the moving parts may have additional costs - if you want to take advantage of the of the more advance "no code" features….then you may have to have the "premier" level capability – then any end users who need to view the data must also have the "premier" level.


    I found that it is actually easier to embed a Power BI report within an Quickbase record form vs a Power App record form. Just like my Salesforce app building experience -  "don't color outside the lines", use about 15% of the functionality and get about 10% user adoption. (remember I'm cititizen developer - more advance coder could increase the numbers).


    I started using Quickbase around 2004 - as an alternative to Sharepoint. I'm a big fan of Quickbase - Very easy take to build an app that has gives context to data. "Color outside the lines" - 


    The area I would like to see improved is reporting. Quickbase reporting is good – for an app that is built to solve a "specific business problem" or even a Project Management app – reporting that hovers around the 1,000 foot view. But for the business reporting that focus at the 50,000 foot view – Reporting that may require querying data from multiple Qbase Apps or even external sources – becomes more of a challenge. Power BI has helped and the Quickbase connector within Power BI works great. I'm sure that for a platform that allows its customers to "Color outside the lines" - to build apps that are effective and actually get used – comes at the cost of how much and how fast changes can be made.


    It would also be great to see more blog posts and videos that focus on "Ideas to help make your app awesome!"  Promoting and sharing "some great tricks on customizing the forms but the dashboards and homepage will always be lacking."


    The Quickbase platform provides a solution to build simple or complex apps that your end users will actually use. 



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    Brad Elmore
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  • 6.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 09-02-2022 10:02
    I was in the same position as Mike about a year and a half ago.  Jennifer is spot on about Smartsheet and I actually have an end user that uses it.  It fits a specific niche and it was easy for them to learn and distribute it to a couple other users.  I would recommend it for a specific use case but would have a hard time recommending it for any large or "real" database needs.

    PowerApps has a great marketing team so it is easy to fall into their worm hole and think that it can easily do everything they say it can.  In reality we went with QuickBase for a few reasons.  The first is the lower cost entry point.  I'm able to purchase a license from QB and quickly add 20 users for one price.  This made it much easier to present during my annual budget meeting.  PowerApps is an add on and requires a license for each user which can quickly become expensive.

    I am also not a programmer and learn code as I go.  In my opinion PowerApps has a steep learning curve and requires a lot more programming knowledge that I was comfortable with.  Microsoft bills it as "low code" but I think that is a huge stretch.  It is also difficult to implement if you are trying to do something that isn't part of Microsoft's vision, so to speak.  A lot of solutions that they market, and even train with, seem to fit too perfectly.

    QB on the other hand is a little easier to learn from scratch.  However, I recommend that you have a very good understanding of database design because QB is a relational database program which means key fields, relationships, and tables.  The community though is fantastic to learn from and it seems like the QB community is much more willing to share knowledge but also share it so everyone can understand what they did.

    The one short coming with QB is its "fit and finish".  It doesn't have a fancy interface that we see with other companies today, and reports are difficult to customize.  I always say it is very plain but it works.  Once you get started and comfortable though you can learn some great tricks on customizing the forms but the dashboards and homepage will always be lacking.

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    David Semitekol
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  • 7.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 09-02-2022 10:10
    I just wanted to Chime in to agree with David about PowerApps.  I don't have personal experience, but I believe Quickbase Management where they related an experiment they did with new users to Quickbase and Power Apps, several years ago.

    They provided a typical business problem to solve and the users were able to figure out Quickbase to develop an app, but in their experiment users were not able to figure out Power Apps given basically unlimited time.  I think you really need to have a programmer background to use Power Apps.

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    Mark Shnier (Your Quickbase Coach)
    mark.shnier@gmail.com
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  • 8.  RE: Powerapps vs Smartsheet vs Quickbase

    Posted 09-03-2022 00:20
    I have experience developing in all three. 
    • Power Apps is one piece of the collection of tools required to build an app. You build the user interface in Power Apps, the data source is separate (maybe SharePoint or SQL Server (requires premium license), automations are created using Power Automate, reporting using Power BI or another tool that draws from the data source. Because you can choose your tools and you are starting from a clean slate, there is a lot more flexibility. It's also much harder to develop - because you are starting from a clean slate.
    • SmartSheet is great if you are working with flat files but it's not a relational database so if your data has a structure, its going to have limited utility. It's easy to set up sheets but relating them to each other and developing pretty dashboards takes time to learn how to do.
    • QuickBase doesn't require you to build a user interface from scratch so that makes it easier to develop apps. It's the only relational database among the three so you can design whatever data structure you need. I'll assume the audience here knows all of QBs other great features...


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    Alison Fisher
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