Limitations of QuickBase - Things that Cannot Be Done Natively

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I am a relatively new QB user and  have invested a lot of time in learning this platform.  Generally it is quite good. But during the course of establishing my app, I came across a lot of issues and in some cases a few bugs that I thought I might as well share with the community. Most of the time we are asked to log a request in User voice where your suggestion is always at the mercy of others as to how the issue is perceived and it takes ages to get a resolution. But I believe that there are certain missing features which should receive QB focus as generic product development.  

I have listed below what I believe are an issue.  But feel free to correct me if I got it wrong and there may indeed be a solution.  Feel free to add your issues too so that QB might have a consolidated view. I would like to acknowledge Mark Shnier for teaching me a few things. Without his periodic help I could have unwittingly added things which should not be there.  
  
No app documentation tool available apart from relationship diagram which is hard to read. 

Record of alerts sent is not available or cannot keep a record of what was sent out?

There is no general option for formatting of a field in the form header such as Project Name

No option to pull a list of provisioned users

No option to filter a field with date logging

Last field in a section can be over stretched unless you add a blank test field next to it.

It is not possible to create a relationship with user field to a table - has to be a text

No other currency symbol could be added other than what is a default setting.  

No option to customised welcome email message or the ability to attach a 'how to' document for new users

Formatting of objects titles in dashboard is not available and these do not keep track of the changes made to names of reports or charts

Complex and long list  of rules for form when handling multiple roles

Connected table cannot receive imported data.

Navigation button not changing the label when page or report name changes

"Ask the user" option in reports results in some undesirable display for a second when report is run

Changing user field to List -User field is not possible

Chart colours are duplicated

Newly introduced tabs needs to have colours determined by user which is laborious. Should be a generic colour scheme provided.  

Unable to save as spreadsheet reports with a grouping included unless that field is repeated in the report itself

Summary reports showing total column is meaningless if I am averaging. Cannot get rid of this column.

Lack of signature option app wide to appear in each alert or notification established than having to add each time

Limitation of 5 filters in reports

Report cannot be sorted unless provided full access to create a report.

User field custom user set is not dynamic or cannot be linked to a group.

Cannot configure the quick add option in the dashboard to link to a different form.  

Unable to extract export of user names in plain English unless another text field is created.

Unable to log a date field.

No activity logs available for auditing

Why do all role get default access to a newly created table created. I end up going through each role to make the table invisible

Search button takes to the wrong form if exact match of the search syntax is made.

Sorting Reports Under "Override role settings by report" not possible.

Dates picked from a table of dates show strange data or numbers in records with blank field Bugs:# QBE005518

Hiding Add New Record  button in a Table unless restricting  the role

Address Field: Unable to make any part of the address field compulsory so that a user may be required to fill in a state without fail.

Filtering on Numerical Values..Numeric fields are not an option for dynamic filters.

No option to control change of record notification when changes made by Admin

Dashboard Printing.. BUG: QBE011270: "Print this Page" option on dashboard not always populating print screen on Chrome. This might have been fixed.

Updating CSV file in a linked table and setting an alert..

Reports cannot be emailed directly to users if they are not part of the domain.

There is no way to re assign a folder to a CSV link table.

Report Group Re Organisation. When moving reports to other groups towards right, it does not quite work as looks like it assumes that I am creating a new report group. bug ID # is 9208.

Dashboard precedence from roles is a pain as this could be different for different users. 

Webhook support is not provided

User Field in QuickBase Connect..When syncing a connected table, all user fields come over as text fields.

No option to see report creation or modified date. 

No option to capture deleted by in a notification if a record was deleted.

No option to have a file attachment field to select multiple files without having to create new fields or new linked documents table

The back up copy would not carry over the sync or connected tables; those would need to be set up again for the connection to work.

Rolled up start and finish dates cannot be shown against a group in timeline reports.

Cannot delete or reactivate a user once created

In reports and charts, there is no option to sort the list of reports or dates created or modified.  I waste  a lot of time in finding the correct report if I not use the search option. Same comment for 'Set how different roles use these forms and Override  role setting by report under Forms setting. A similar issue with all alerts and notifications which can be sorted by do not hold the sort and no date of creation. 
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Arshad Khwaja

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Posted 1 year ago

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QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

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Arshad, thank you for this thoughtful and comprehensive list. I have passed it along to some of my internal contacts at Quick Base and asked that it be forwarded to the Product Development managers.
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Caitlyn

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UserVoice is definitely not well implemented.  I agree with many of these, but I may be able to help with one.

For the "Cannot delete or reactivate a user once created," you can change their role to "none," which will lock them out, assuming the app isn't open to the public.  You can also check or un-check "Show in User Picker" so you do not assign them to new records in your app.  

However, if you would like to reactivate them, you can simply reassign their role and check "show in user picker."  They will maintain all of the same access as before.

This might not work if you give access by groups (we don't use that feature, so I wouldn't know), but has worked well for our purposes.  Hope this helps!
(Edited)
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Gaurav Sharma

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QB provides the ability to delete, denied or approved/ reactive any user if you are a realm administrator.

Thanks,
Gaurav
(Edited)
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Arshad Khwaja

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Thanks. If it was not a case I would not include this user issue. I cannot delete despite being admin appaently at realm level.  This has been escalated. 
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Gaurav Sharma

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Yeah Right. :)
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Michael Barrow

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Arshad, thank you for compiling this list! I did a similar thing for Salesforce 6 years ago when we were still using that platform before we switched to QuickBase in 2015. It ended up being 12 pages long! They were impressed enough that I got a 30 minute conversation with their VP in charge of development. He was effusive in his thanks for so much good feedback. And then ... after 3-1/2 years of waiting, not a single item was knocked off my list. So I respectfully told them I was leaving. And they had the gall to contact me after I gave my notice and ask me which item(s) on my list could they try to implement to keep me. Too little, too late....

QuickBase, on the other hand, iterates much more frequently than Salesforce, and so far over the last 2-1/2 years, I have been very pleased with the updates. Many have been relevant to my app and have saved me time or enabled me to implement planned updates, without the need for extensive coding.

I agree that the UserVoice communication mechanism feels less useful and less relevant to me than it should. And I do not like having my votes limited to some arbitrary number! A good suggestion is a good suggestion, and I want to promote as many good ideas as I can that are relevant to my needs. QuickBase seems somewhat accountable to what we are saying there, but there isn't enough transparency about which suggestions they are taking seriously and planning on doing vs. those that they will not attempt to implement. We never get to know anything until they are done and the feature has been implemented, and for some of the good ideas, it can take 5 to 10 years. This needs to get better!

I would love it if Development showed us on a relative time frame what they are working on and have planned. Obviously things change and time frames might have to adapt. That's programming. But not telling us anything until something is fully implemented is not really good communication. And good communication is more important than ever today in fostering enduring client relationships.
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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Some of you items need additional clarification but in general I don't see anything on your list that cannot be implemented by a user using script.

MB> ...for some of the good ideas, it can take 5 to 10 years
 
With script you can implement new ideas in as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Any web related idea that takes 5 to 10 years to land is due to not trying very hard or at all.  
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Michael Barrow

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I agree! That was kind of my point in saying 5 to 10 years. Everyone has different needs and different priorities. If it takes them that long, clearly their priorities are not aligned with mine, and if enough of us engaged users don't like that and let them know, then they hopefully can realign their priorities with ours. After all, we are the customers.

If I wanted to be a coder, I probably wouldn't have chosen QuickBase as my app building platform. The fact that I did means I really don't want to lead with code. It has its place, but I would argue that if you are constantly needing to implement things in QB with code as a first choice, you are missing out on the biggest strength of QB, which is that it doesn't require coding for 85+% of what we all need to get things done. I've been a coder for 39 years of my life and I see all too often the great expense of code, especially when a small business has changes in its personnel, and the new people don't want to touch the old code. This is a problem everywhere in the business world, and one of the biggest reasons why I chose QB. I don't want to get hit by the bus and have our CEO cursing me under his breath every time he has issues going forward with someone's old F*&%ing code. So, in my opinion, better to not code unless absolutely necessary.

Dan, you are clearly a brilliant guy and a great resource to this forum. But most of your responses to these questions read like you are fighting a current by swimming upstream. It's not pragmatic or even desired by the vast majority of QB administrators to add gobs of code to their apps to get basic functionality to work. Sometimes it's absolutely necessary and appropriate. But that shouldn't be the rule. That's what we are all fighting for with our UserVoice suggestions. Coding can be fun, but nobody wants to support it later, especially when it's been written by someone else who understands it a lot more deeply.

Code can be implemented quickly by someone like you who really knows what they are doing, but its cost of maintenance and support over its lifetime will consume way more time than 5 to 10 minutes. That's why I want a robust platform that doesn't require me to code for every little thing. I think that is basically QB's mission. Why do you seem to be fighting that?

I'm sincerely asking this in a very respectful way. You are a great resource, but you seem to have an attitude about people wanting to do things simply without code. Creating code is simple, especially for someone like you, but it is indeed not simple at all to support it indefinitely. That's its achilles heel.
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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In today's world "coding" is an essential skill as essential as reading and writing. The backlog of features AK enumerated will still be here years to come as the current product development pipeline (including intaking and prioritizing suggestions via UserVoice) leaves so many requested features on the cutting room floor.

What do you think you are doing when you write formulas? It is "coding" albeit at more simplistic level. You are simply not going to benefit from the bounty of features that are flooding into your browser without using coding (mainly script).
(Edited)
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Michael Barrow

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I work for a small business, and I am the single resource for creating and supporting our QB app on which we run our entire company. The big issue for small business is cost. Not just direct costs but all costs. Above all, the skill that affords the highest degree of success in my environment is pragmatism. I weigh all the costs of every decision I make, not just how much time it will take me to bang out a working app today. Having said that, I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I'd rather pay QB a nominal monthly fee to do the heavy lifting for me. If I wanted to lift heavily, I'd be working as a coder. I've done that for decades, but I'm tired of that and I just want to focus on making my business better and more profitable. As such, I think I am a very typical QB customer. The overhead costs of supporting code are staggering compared to the effort to create it. That is why I avoid it as a first choice for anything. QB helps me do that most of the time. I am addicted to the speed at which I can implement changes in our business processes on the QB platform without code. As soon as I think I need code for something, it causes me to pause and thoughtfully ask myself if it really is necessary.

Formulas in QB are very well encapsulated and quite different from Javascript which needs to bring in and reference different external libraries from different sources that will change to different version numbers and potentially break things as QB iterates its environment. I have purchased well-developed 3rd party code that has already broken, not due to anything the programmer did wrong but due to QB making changes that no longer played nice with the old code. That's complexity, and you don't get that when writing formulas directly in QB.

I'm not against code, but I am definitely against unnecessary complexity. As Joseph Tainter pointed out with regard to society and civilizations, complex systems tend to fail catastrophically. Same goes for applications. I've watched so many applications fail over the years due to being designed and implemented in overly-complex ways that usually involve way too much code. I'm not being an ideologue, I'm just trying to be pragmatic ... and profitable for the long-haul.
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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>Javascript which needs to bring in and reference different external libraries from different sources that will change to different version numbers and potentially break things as QB iterates its environment

This is much less true today than when you may have been an active programmer. Today the browsers are crammed with features that used to require libraries and the overwhelming trend is for this feature growth to continue at an increasing rate. Moreover, QuickBase itself has already loaded most of the libraries you would commonly use for some enhancement or has them defined as a AMD module you just require. Additionally, there are so many powerful abstractions available today in JacaScript, HTML and CSS and so many external APIs that you are just locking you self out of the benefits they bring if you do not avail youtself. Haven't you noticed how short most of code solutions are? That's because of the abstractions and conciseness they offer.

Check back in six months or a year and that list of things that QuickBase does not do natively will be substantially unchanged unless script is used for a solution.
(Edited)
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Arshad Khwaja

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Michael I am grateful for your comments and lending the support.  I agree with you on the lack of transparency on part of QB in terms of new initiatives and what makes up their development list.  

I fully agree with your comments on the need for a code free platform. I don't want to name here but I got into a situation when I resorted for a coded solution in my app and I ended up with half baked solution which I never used because I paid for that in advance in good faith.  This goes to explain how you place yourself at the whims of code creator.  

I should have mentioned in my original note about the lackadaisical QB support function that leaves much to be desired. By being based in Australia I have only 2 hour window to ask a question or receive an answer because this supposedly internationally used platform cannot afford to have 24 hours support desk. Sometimes it takes several days for me to get an answer.

I still don't receive my alerts or notifications on the day and time I want because I have to align these to US timings. I brought this to the attention of Director Development but to no avail. I still don't have time zoned option for other parts of Australia so the date time stamping is inaccurate for someone in Perth. 

I sincerely hope that QB takes these views into view constructively and gives us a action plan to address most issues.  

  
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Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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Let's review some forum questions from the last week or so ...

  1. JavaScript Numbering Code
  2. Export userlist
  3. reCAPTCHA
  4. HighCharts SPA
  5. File Attachment Copy
  6. PDF Embed
  7. Tab Switcher
All solved with a tiny amount of JavaScript and impossible to do using native features. No external JavaScript libraries were used and each solution took about 15 minutes to implement - not 5-10 years of languishing on UserVoice waiting for QuickBase staff to review, prioritize and implement the requested feature.
(Edited)
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Drew

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This is a good list, and there are a number of pain points here that many of us share.

Overall, what I would like to see Quickbase do is combine this community support portal and the uservoice page into a SINGLE UNIFIED COMMUNITY PORTAL.  It would be awesome if the same feed that showed questions showed new suggestions in the uservoice.  Or if people could choose to tag a forum discussion(s) to a uservoice suggestion.  I would think it would help quickbase as well when they are looking at user suggestions to see the conversations people have had related to solving those problems in the first place.  Put it all into one 'community voice' platform.    

On your list, I would question one thing, before speaking about it generally:

'It is not possible to create a relationship with user field to a table - has to be a text'

Unless I'm not understanding what you mean here, you can do this - I do it all the time.  One of the most powerful tools I use in my apps is a custom 'users' table where the primary key is a user key.  In other tables, I create a formula-user field called 'User-Current' with a simple value of user().  I then create a relationship between the 'users' table and those other tables based on that 'User-Current' value (among others).  It's an extremely useful way of customizing reports, having people cover for other people that are sick, etc etc.

'Changing user field to List -User field is not possible'

There are ALL KINDS of weird things that happen with user fields and list-user fields.  Creating report filters can be a nightmare sometimes.  The simple filter of :

"USER-LIST field - contains -  Value from USER field" should be simply understood by quickbase, but it often isn't.  I often have to duplicate a single user field into a formula List-User field just so i can use it properly in a report filter.  Very annoying, especially as it's so simple to implement in a formula.  

Relationships based on user fields and list-user fields provide so many real-world solutions to questions i see all the time in this forum.   
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Arshad Khwaja

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Thanks and you have suggested an excellent amalgamation of UV and this forum.  Frankly some of the senior members in this forum are best placed to provide a quick feedback on what is bothering most people as they endeavour to resolve these. 

In regards to user field, I was merely trying to use an employee table (user field as the PK) and connected it through from another app as I did not want to create a employee repository again.  In this scenario I was not able to use a user field as it was  being connected as text field. 
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Gaurav Sharma

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>I was not able to use a user field as it was being connected as text field.

Arshad, you can convert that text field into the user field as I've also faced the same situation in one of our applications.

Try to create a formula-user field and use this formula- ToUser([Your User Field])

Then, use this field and it will solve your problem.

Regards,

Gaurav
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Arshad Khwaja

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Thanks.  I resorted to the same solution.