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Syncing Multiple Apps

  • 1.  Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 17:13
    Our company has multiple work groups who have each created their own apps for project management. Is there a way to sync project information from their apps into one single app. Our Directors are wanting a single place to go for project information overview, which could also be used for invoicing purposes. Any ideas?

  • 2.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 18:34
    Strategically, the first thing to determine is the data aggregation that makes sense to your directors. For our business, sales territories roll up to business units - and a common sales territory unique ID exists in every application. We summarize data at the sales territory level in each application (by count or sum) - and then sync that table across to the central dashboarding application - and then summarize to business unit as needed. This serves two functions - one it limits the size of the sync tables, and two, it optimizes quickbase�s single thread architecture (If you build table relationships to the children apps, you combine everything into one server process and kill performance - so direct table relationships are a big no no).

    At this point, if you need the ability to quickly drill down or jump to the underlying data in a child application - use formula-text fields that feed a variable to report in the child application - or formula URL fields. (Same as above, using report links will hurt performance)

  • 3.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 18:42
    Okay that makes sense. If we wanted to pull e.g. Work Order #s and project name from each project management app to the central dashboard app, we could pull it directly into the same table? If so, would it automatically sync or do we need to do a manual push? 

  • 4.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 19:47
    Can employees create a unique work order # or project name in each application? If the work order #s were setup so that there are no duplicates, there is a fairly straightforward way to merge the data tables from the separate apps. The syncs could be set up to run every hour or every day. The table merge could be set up to run via a simple notepad batch file (and windows task scheduler).

  • 5.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 21:42
    Yes every WO is unique and set as the key for all of their apps. Notepad batch file? I think that falls way outside of my IT skill set. Looks like I have some homework to do.

  • 6.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 21:45
    What you are wanting to do is not a casual undertaking.  It is in fact quite advanced due to  not controlling the process from the start to have a common app for project management and using form rules or different forms by Role to account for departmental differences.

  • 7.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 21:53
    Yes I'll have to come up with a work around. Worst case is doing a manual import from the apps to the central dashboard. At least then I get it on one table. It's still miles better than the process we have now. I appreciate all the input!

  • 8.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 22:18
    OK, so a Plan B can be to use saved table to table imports. They are very fast and powerful.

    So that technique involves making a single Admin record to hold some Formula URL Buttons which are each steps in your central app.

    So for example

    Button 1 Purge all tables in your Central App
    Button 2 Import all Projects from Department 1's app into Projects
    Button 3 Import all Tasks from Department 1's app into the central app.

    Then similar pair of buttons to import the projects and tasks from each of the department app.

    The planning challenge here (which is not insurmountable) is that the Key field of the Projects  table is Likely to not be unique across applications, unless you are very lucky in your planning.

    So each month when its time to consolidate, someone (probably you) just pushes say 10 button and in literally a minute the app is purged and refreshed.

    What I have done  in similar multi step reloads is to have each respective URL formula button also update the current date and time  onto the single Admin record and for good measure I make a nice green checkmark if the button has been successfully pushed that month. 
    So you just push the buttons and get a checkbox and push the next button.

    In my app I even have the very last  button update a field which triggers an email notification which emails the manager that the app has been reloaded.

    I can show you a demo of that if you like and what a saved table to table import looks like.  Contact me off line via the gmail address on my website.  QuickBaseCoach.com 

    The point is that ongoing synching is technically difficult, but pushing even 10 buttons mindlessly at month end is easy.

  • 9.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-29-2017 04:33
    The batch file is as simple as the formula url button.

    Here�s an example:
    start iexplore "https://intermetro.quickbase.com/db/b...

    And you just save that in notepad with a .bat file extension. If you don�t want to go that route, setting up formula url buttons in Quickbase can accomplish the above if your merge process is daily or monthly with someone simply logging in and pressing the buttons.

    If you read a little bit about table to table imports and the RunImport API you might have what you need - not that much work. When you do the table to table imports (it�s the third radio button option on the import screen) - there�s a merge option which sounds like is well suited for your application.

  • 10.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-29-2017 04:36
    I pushed that link and it complained of an an invalid app token

  • 11.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-29-2017 04:47
    I didn�t want to provide a real app token as that would give access to my app. Was trying to show the syntax.

  • 12.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 18:45

    Kevin's answer is spot-on for large data sets.

    Two other alternatives are:
    • Build cross-application relationships.  In Quick Base, you can build a relationship between any two tables - even if they are in different apps.
    • Use a reporting tool like Tableau or Power BI to aggregate data.  This approach is especially good if either a) you want to include data that is NOT in Quick Base in your dashboards OR b) you want a better mobile experience.  If you use a tool like Tableau, you can view the charts you create in Tableau from your Quick Base dashboards.
    I run a firm that helps people adapt and adopt SaaS.  Feel free to reach out to me here.


  • 13.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 18:53
    Unfortunately a reporting tool doesn't work as we're trying to 1) further process the data for billing 2) link it imported T&E and 3) push the WOs to our time keeping tool.

    Which is also where I'm running into problems with using the relationship feature. Each project management app has a relationship to our financial app which houses the client table, SL #s etc. Those pull into their apps and becomes part of their WO table. What I'm looking to do is merge all of the WO tables, from all of the apps, into one single table which would populate any new WOs being added to their apps. From what I'm understanding, simply creating a relationship won't allow me to do that. Please correct me if I've misunderstood. We're all new to QB.

  • 14.  RE: Syncing Multiple Apps

    Posted 12-28-2017 19:01
    I do not believe what you are looking for, can be done without hiring a QSP (Quick base Solutions Provider) to write custom script.

    The alternative is to start a Task Force to create a single app which will meet the needs of all departments and do a one time merge of the data all into one app.