I needed this little write-up done asap; since I have already (kind off) launched this product. I will write another post later today or tomorrow detailing what I have done so far in terms of launching the product, sales, etc. In this post, I’ll talk a little bit about the application first.
What is it?
Databased is a self-hosted (for the time being) database application which allows non-technical users to manage and maintain an online database. It wraps around a MySQL database and allows users to create databases, tables and records. It uses role-based user management and ties in directly with MySQL’s users and permissions (meaning each Databased user has a corresponding MySQL user). Some other features include version control (the application keeps track of changes to records over time and allows users to restore previous value) and support for relational data. For more details about the application, please have a look at the Databased website.
Why do I need this?
For the past years I have built several web applications and big web sites. And especially when it came to web applications, building a decent back-end to manage the data within the application was typically not a priority (this was especially true when “business people” rather then developers were running the company). Since the developers had access to the data (be it through the command line or some SQL tool), whenever something needed changing, one of these developers was summoned to make the required changes. It was often fairly late that a general consensus was reached and everybody agreed a decent back-end system allowing easy access to certain parts of the data would be a good idea. In these situations, I found myself thinking: why isn’t there something we can install on our servers which would give instant (restricted) access to the application’s data so developers don’t have to be bothered with making arbitrary changes to this data? I have searched, but did not find. The best I could come up with were one or two hosted services, but nothing self-hosted.
Like I mentioned, I have searched the Interwebs left and right, but found nothing that met my requirements (which were: self-hosted, save and secure, good and clean code, user friendly, nice and shiny). We’ve tried this with phpMyAdmin which obviously doesn’t fit the bill in terms of looking nice, plus that phpMyAdmin has the tendency to throw nasty error messages when you’re doing something MySQL doesn’t like (like deleting a table with foreign key references). We wanted this tool to handle all the nasty bits, rather then spit out a generic error which would make non-technical users pull out their hair.
So the only competition I can come up with are the following:
- actual developers
- back&.com (SaaS product)
Then, there are quite a few SaaS products aiming at online database and/or application development, however none of these seem to integrate with existing databases: