A client/boss comes to you and says I need a new business application to do x

Lets assume that

  • It has been thought out ie there is monetary value in doing something
  • It is an internal business app
  • It has some sort of data storage eg CRUD app - Create Read Update Delete of data
  • The company are relatively technical or have aspirations to be so
  • It is multi user (I’m commonly looking between 2 and 50 users)

What are the risks in doing nothing?

  • People getting stressed as manual processes are too hard. Commonly I’ve seen many many spreadsheets with 1 or 2 people holiding it all together, so the risk is that if they leave, it all falls apart

  • Mistakes happening as copy and pasting between different systems


In order of complexity and cost

  • do nothing
  • tweak what is there already eg spreadsheet
  • buy an off the shelf new solution eg SaaS product
  • look for open source solutions
  • build a new application using high level tools eg no code / low code
  • build a new application using high level framework of choice eg ASP.NET Core / PHP Laravel / Ruby on Rails

Historical Background

MS Access forms over data..


  • PHP / MySQL / HTML on Linux
  • deployment using FTP


  • ASP.NET / MSSQL / CSS / JS on Windows Servers then Azure then Linux VM’s on and off cloud
  • Wordpress hosted on proxmox hypervisor for performance and costs
  • Nginx for reverse proxy
  • Kestrel for webserver
  • Dapper and Polly and high perf SQL and resilience
  • git for source control / github
  • functional programming for solving complex state and simplifying code
  • async for performance
  • azure CLI for deploymnet ie fully automated build of VM’s
  • fully custom authentication and authorisation for asp.net cookie
  • uploading large files in http
  • serilog for logging
  • Razor page templating
  • PWA
  • Bootstrap
  • jQuery
  • Postmark for email sending
  • DNSimple for DNS
  • Docker/K8s (and when not to use it!)


  • Python for data processing and interacting with Google Spreadsheets
  • Postgres and PHP for custom mapping
  • cron for recurring jobs
  • Google Drive API for storage
  • Custom CSS for front end flexbox, Tailwind
  • Excel dashboard for simple reporting connecting to live azure db


No Code

Low Code

  • MS Power Platform ($20 per month per user)
  • Google App Sheet (similar to above)



over time I’ve gone from simplicity, to very complex, and now back to the simplest possible thing with the least amount of code possible.

https://matt-rickard.com/bell-curve-ideas gives some great quotes eg

Spreadsheets should be replaced by real software. Beginners/Experts: Spreadsheets are often more maintainable, more usable, and more extensible than most software projects.

## StackOverflow of Developers 2022


2023 options

Database centric

Databases store information, but we need a way (code) to create a UI to do things with that info

High Code

  • Node
  • React
  • Express
  • ASP.NET Core / MSSQL
  • Python Django
  • Flask
  • Next.js
  • PHP and Laravel
  • LAMP

Low Code

  • MS Power Apps - part of power platform which includes power bi
  • Google App Sheet - taken over from App Maker
  • Mendix
  • [Zoho]https://www.zoho.com/creator/pricing.html?src=hdd)

  • Retool
  • Illa-builder - open source alternative to retool
  • Budibase - open source alternative to PowerApps, Mendix and OutSystemes… code is opional. 18.2k stars on GH
  • AppSmith - needs code
  • Tooljet
  • [airplane.dev]

Spreadsheet centric

Spreadsheets give a UI over information, so users can present, CRUD and organise data. But this is at the expense functionality …

Spreadsheet vs Database ultimate guide

  • Google Sheets
  • Excel online

The simple explanation is that spreadsheets just make it incredibly easy to build simple reports, data entry tools, processes, and even automations, without any advanced technical knowledge.


  • Airtable allows for easy data processing (no code!), but with a database underneath. Focus on data management
  • monday.com manage and streamline workflows. (no code). Focus on work and CRM management


Previous Articles

2020-05-16 I tried writing this


think about CRUD apps resell other people stuff? stand on the shoulders of giants make plugins

https://retool.com/ Comments him writing to customers Rohan email re dot net rocks

## Options


PHP Laravel