How my junior-high drafting class comes in handy for QuickBase app design…

In junior high, we had rotational “experience” classes to learn new skills, not related to books. We had typing, home ec, woodworking and drafting. One thing I remember about drafting (besides the smell of ammonia) was how many different drawings of one object we had to do to get the different perspectives needed to truly represent the object.

Fast forward many, many years… One of our customers was talking about “integrating” QuickBase with a document management system. These folks use QuickBase for project tracking, and for them that involves lots of different types of documents, like permits, drawings, change requests, etc. Their main challenge with using QuickBase to manage these documents is that each time a project needed another type of permit, for example, they would add a new field. Or if a project had five document fields and one project needed six documents, then they would have to add a field.

So, we explained with an example from our pre-built apps (“Manage a Project” under Project Management) that they could have a document library (a table that stored documents as records) that was related to projects. Each project could have as many documents as needed (no adding fields!), and any new type of document could be added via adding an entry into the multi-choice “type” field in the document library (no adding fields!).

After reviewing this, the client said … “Duh, that’s just like our notes table.” They knew the concept, but couldn’t see it from their current perspective. It is really amazing sometimes how hard it is to crane our neck around and look at a problem from a new angle?

P.S. I still use the wooden cutting board that I made in woodworking that netted my only C in junior high. I bet the folks that made an A on that project don’t still use theirs!