I am presently using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel on SharePoint so that I can share stored data and allow data input with users. I need to add simpler input forms, process documentation, attachments, analytics-light and storage as well. I also would like to have mobile data input and retrieval. Retool seems to offer what I need and as there will be less than 10 users, the pricing seems affordable.
I'm looking for any recommendations of this or alternate software.
Dom here, co-founder of Five, a low-code company.
The first question I'd ask is this: do you want to continue using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel as your database? If yes, then indeed Retool is a great choice because it connects to Google Sheets and lets you build a front end on top of it. An alternative could be AppSheet, which belongs to Google and does the same as Retool.
My advice, however, would be not to use a spreadsheet as a database. I won't go into all the reasons for this. But a spreadsheet is not designed to support web applications. At some point, it will either become very slow or you will struggle with data integrity, especially if you have ten users reading & writing data concurrently. That's why I'd look for an online database application builder.
Now, this is where I'm biased, given my role at Five, but here's what Five lets you do:
You can create your own MySQL database straight inside Five. So instead of storing data in a spreadsheet, you store it in a web-hosted MySQL database. You can import CSV files into your database, so your existing data won't be lost. You can then build the front end on top of the MySQL database. The advantages: you get something that is scalable and won't break in the future. And MySQL is open-source, so even if at some point in the future, you won't go elsewhere with your application, your data is portable.
Hope this helps and as I said, think about the right back end for your application first. :)
Hi Brian! Based on your requirements, I’d strongly suggest giving Retool a try. It excels at having the pre-assembled components library which lets you put together apps in a breeze. It scales with your needs and the medium plan should be quite sufficient for a while. I’m helping companies with their use of Retool as part of my business: www.blackholeconsulting.net
Hope this recommendation helps! Cheers, Stephan