I’m Derek and I’m in the process of setting up a little company for the purpose of making small electronic devices for a niche community. I’m also generally the sort of person who hates having to put serious engineering work into building my tools, when I’d rather put that effort directly into my actual projects and products.
One thing I’ve been in desperate need of is a manufacturing database of sorts. Something where I can keep track of everything I’m building, all the way from component inspection through shippable end products. I’ve never been comfortable fumbling around in office-suite DB-like apps (e.g. Libreoffice Base), and have always wanted something easy to make work for me.
The lowest friction option here was always just to use and abuse spreadsheets. That’s what so many people do now, for similar reasons. They offer the greatest flexibility and usability for editing data in a tabular format. However, what I’ve always really wanted was something that combines the benefits of a spreadsheet with the power of a database to actually create relationships across the data.
What drew me to Baserow was the way it attempts to accomplish this, the fact that I actually can self-host, and that it gives me an API. While the majority of my use is just via the web interface, I have written a utility that uses the API to import calibration data from my products directly into Baserow.
For getting data out of Baserow (e.g. to my label maker software for labeling products), I’m still doing that with copy-paste to a spreadsheet template. Eventually I’m probably going to need to write an API-based tool for that too, but I wish I didn’t have to.
While I’m generally pleased with what Baserow offers, I feel like there’s this constant struggle between “keep the tool simple” and “give the tool powerful features.” Like I get the benefits of merging a spreadsheet with a database, in exchange for getting versions of both that are simplified down so far that its seriously harms the utility of either.
I’m really looking forward to the post 1.13 releases, and have high hopes that they’ll start to bridge these gaps.