Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Simultanious record editing in Quickbase

Simultaneous record editing by multiple users literally makes a mess of the data. There is no need to even talk about the importance of its compliance, let’s better find out what is going on within the system. This time its Quickbase.

To check out the handling of this issue in Quickbase I decided to choose their Task Tracking pre-built application.

So, let’s take a look. To edit the record I opened task #23 in IE and changed Task and Priority field values. In addition I also attached a file to find out how simultaneous record editing works in such type of fields.

In Firefox I also edited Task #23: changed Task, Priority, Status fields and attached other file.

Take a look at the edited fields. Quickbase highlights the changes with a pink color. But this method is not always working properly, as it should.

In Firefox Task field in not highlighted (in spite the fact I changed Pre to Post), let alone Attach file, which was not highlighted at all in both browsers (IE and FF).

Let’s start with the most interesting point of the try and check what actually will happen while saving changes.

As I saved it in IE the process ran smoothly and without any errors, as I had expected.

But saving the changes in Firefox the following massage popped up on the screen:

Faced problems:

  1. The system doesn’t recognize or simply doesn’t show the user who has changed this very record just before him. So there is no opportunity to coordinate actions with another user…

  2. Quickbase has not tracked my changes in Task and Attach File.
    This is what happens. I should say though the other information is ok. I can see which value is in the base now and which one I’ve chosen, there is an option to edit and save the changes or just cancel it and leave it as it is.

Next step is saving and checking the result:

Frankly, I didn’t expect such a surprise. The system didn’t save Task field editing at all! (it is probably a bug within Quickbase concerning such field type tracking in Firefox). The attached file was saved successfully, but without any notification about the change of the value.

There is the other mode within Quickbase. It’s Grid Edit, which is used in case you need to edit the data in the table (you do that similarly in Excel). It won’t be out of place to check how the thing are concerning simultaneous record editing.

Firstly I decided to edit Status column values of 2 records in IE:

The next step was the change of Status value only in the first record and the Task value in the second one (in other browser, of course):

Let’s try to save these changes. In IE first:

So, in IE everything is ok. What about Firefox?

The system notified me, there is no possibility to save changes and offered conflict resolution. The thing is for each conflict situation the system successively asks what change should be saved (yours or already saved one).

Depending on results of your choices the data is saved in the base.


Quickbase developers had taken into consideration the problem of simultaneous record editing.

It can also be seen that the logic and work of grid editing differ – by grid editing the system knows who has changed the record at the same time you did. But somehow it doesn’t work in record. One can assume it was written in different periods of time or different specifications.

The single record editing track mode should also be improved. When editing the records all changes should be marked, not selectively as it is now, without even mentioning that I have lost my data change once.

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