opens software development to all
PostgreSQL is the relational database upon which Agilebase is built. It changes who gets to build software.
At the heart of Agilebase is a database called PostgreSQL.
It is a robust and reliable relational database. Whatever the size of your data or level of use, PostgreSQL can manage it.
Using PostgreSQL, Agilebase can help anyone with a web browser and an idea to build a CRM system. They do not need to know how to code. Users boost their careers while the businesses that employ them use their staff’s expertise in new ways.
To understand how PostgreSQL makes this possible, we must go back to the beginning. What is a database, and why did Agilebase choose this particular one?
What is a database?
A ‘relational database’, to use a more precise term, is easy to explain. It provides a store of structured data and ways to work with that data.
Structured data is data that is well-defined. It’s a collection of a known set of fields, each of which has a specific type. For example, a store of contacts might have ‘forename (text)’, ‘surname (text)’, ’email address (text)’ and ‘date of birth (date)’. Each contact in the database has those fields.
Part of the structure is the relations between different things. Say you have a store of companies. That may contain fields such as ‘company name (text)’, ‘date of incorporation (date)’, ‘annual turnover (number)’. In a relational database, you can relate companies and contacts. In other words, each contact belongs to a company, and a company can have many contacts. This structure is ideal for making Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems. You can also make larger systems called Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP systems.
Any company data that needs a solid structure fits well in this database. Invoices, staff training records, and inventory, bills of materials, staff employment records, projects and tasks all work well.
There are other types of database. A graph database works well for systems such as social networks. In social networks, connections between things are important. And there are many connections. NoSQL is a less structured system used in large web applications, but it is less relevant to end users.
For our purposes, relational data is perfect. Each store, or ‘table’ in database parlance, is like a spreadsheet. It has column headings representing fields (‘forename’, ‘surname’) and rows. Each row creates a record of a single thing.
Building spreadsheets to manage your data before migrating to Agilebase is smart. It is a great way to grow knowledge, test ideas, and build successful applications. Many organisations run their entire businesses on databases created with Agilebase.
Now that we know what a database is, why did we choose PostgreSQL to power Agilebase? There are many other options, from Microsoft’s SQL Server to MySQL or Oracle.
PostgreSQL is an admirable example of modern software. It can trace its lineage back to the early 1970’s and the ‘Ingress’ system. But it began life in 1986 at the University of California, Berkeley. Every year since then, it has grown in capability and community.
For those interested, a brief history is here.
A vibrant community
A large part of PostgreSQL’s success is because it is open source. But unlike other open-source projects, it uses a less common, more permissive license. Businesses can use PostgreSQL without worrying about intellectual property or legal issues. For PostgreSQL, it provides a vibrant community of open-source developers.
Popular online discussion forums, blogs, and a volunteer community span the globe. Frequent conferences and meet-ups are common.
Many companies provide PostgreSQL with commercial support. You can check out a list here – https://www.postgresql.org/support/professional_support/
You can access many PostgreSQL additions, extensions, and tools. Many are open source and others you must pay for. Citus Data, for example, is owned by Microsoft. It lets you scale up databases across many servers. That allows you to support huge datasets.
PostgreSQL has a reputation for reliability and robustness. That is vital. Our customers store important, business-critical information in it.
Each new release includes performance enhancements and optimizations. These improve the speed and efficiency of your database. PostgreSQL 14 is the version Agilebase runs at time of writing. It can be 50% faster than the previous version.
PostgreSQL is well known for being effective at scale. Whatever your size of data or levels of use, now or in the future, PostgreSQL can handle it.
What does Agilebase add?
Agilebase is changing how to build software – and who gets to build it. You can harness the immense power of the PostgreSQL database without knowing how to code.
It provides a beautiful, easy-to-use web interface for users. It allows people to create their own applications. There is also a lot behind the beautiful graphical interface to make it easy to build large applications.
In any large application, there are views that depend on other views (which depend on other views). One view may calculate the cost of supplying services to customers. That might feed into a profit calculation. That may feed into a monthly profit and loss view, plus a similar annual one. It’s common for one view to feed into dozens or even hundreds of others.
Let’s say you add a field to the underlying cost view, to add another cost factor such as overtime labour. Now you need to delete all the other dependent views, then rebuild them afterward in the right order. Agilebase takes care of that. It rebuilds and tests all views in the background, following the change, automatically.
What sets Agilebase apart is that it opens software development to all. Anyone with a web browser and an idea can build a CRM system.
Agilebase partners and Agilebase’s built-in learner progression programme guide you through the process. You start with the basics and work up to full applications. You go from a citizen developer to a software architect.
Users can boost their careers and the businesses they work for empower their staff. What’s more, development teams become a lot more diverse. They become a reflection of people from all areas of the business. One-third of Agilebase’s ‘software architects’ are female, almost double the IT industry average.
That is not yet equal, but it’s a step in the right direction. No other database we are aware of can make equality a reality.