Monday, July 16, 2012

How QuickBase Google Contacts Works

QuickBase to Google Contacts is our most advanced plugin yet!  It is actually a whole new webpage which loads your QuickBase contacts push them into your Google Mail's addressbook.

We use your existing QuickBase session to authenticate you against QB.  We use Google's OAuth to authenticate you against Google, and to let you choose between different accounts.  Once this is all setup, QB2GContacts will load your contacts from the configured report and match them against Google Contacts records.  You'll have the chance to select contacts, and twiddle mappings.  Then, click "Go!" and you're done.

We're hoping to use this structure for more applications.  Google Calendar is an obvious example, as is a bulk emailer like MailChimp. 

How QuickBase Form works

QuickBase has an excellent Form Wizard.  If you don't like the Form Wizard, it's pretty easy to code up an HTML form using their API.  But, these approaches have some downsides. 

For one, you need to modify the form on your website.  Many websites are built using a CMS, which makes using the form wizard tough.  Sometimes you've spent thousands of dollars working with a web design firm, and you're not psyched about having to change their work. 

For another, the form has to actually post to QuickBase.  So, your customers get sent to QuickBase instead of your own landing page. You can supply a "return url", which will tell QuickBase to send your customers back to your page.  Which is totally transparent and works...most of the time.  Except if QuickBase is having an (infrequent) outage.  Or you have permissions setup wrong.  Or someone deleted the target database. 

What if you have fields  that you want to record locally and not keep in QuickBase?  Perhaps there's secure information, or a file upload, or voluminous analytical data.  With the form wizard this is impossible, and even with the API it's tough without running server-side code in PHP or ASP. 

QuickBase Form is a simple way around these issues.  It works as a JavaScript plugin, using the popular jQuery javascript framework.  It's simple to install, just copy some boilerplate to the of your HTML document and set up a simple field mapping.  It doesn't change the form or any CSS or HTML. 

It works by intercepting the form's submit.  When you click your forms "submit" button, QBForm bundles the data according to your mapping and submits it to QuickBase.  Then, whether it succeeds or fails, the form is submitted like normal. 

Rebario QuickBase Tools

I've been talking about cloud integrations for a while.  Due to job changes, I had to take a hiatus from it for a couple years.  But, it's back now!

Introducing Rebario, my new company which is focused on delivering QuickBase extensions.  We are currently in beta and looking for beta testers.  We have 3 products:
  • QuickBase to Google Contacts - a system to export your QuickBase contact records to your Google Mail's addressbook.
  • QuickBase Form - an easier way to integrate a website's "contact me" form
  • Change Logger for QuickBase - an extension to log changes to your QuickBase databases

Rebario is built upon a dream I've had for a long time.  It's an SaaS-style service.  That means it's
  • Self-Service - A normal business user should be able to sign-up, install and run the software without having to purchase an installation contract or any professional services
  • Monthly Billing - All billing is automatic, with a simple month-by-month plan.
  • Affordable - Since we don't have a ton of expensive professional services required, we can charge a small monthly fee.  Our most expensive (change logger) is $25/month.  Compare that to the large fees of the professional services firms, which typically run $2000 per application plus a large yearly maintenance fee.

Please come check us out at