Quickbase empowers companies to effortlessly see, connect, and control even their most complex projects. Business users are able to collaborate with IT to create powerful business solutions quickly. However, IT leaders need confidence that this app development happens in a safe and secure manner. That’s why Quickbase protects your sensitive data with a secure, flexible, no code governance model managed by IT.
The job of serving those IT governance needs, however, is never finished. As market dynamics and government regulations change, IT’s approach to data governance evolves as well. And that is why we are excited to announce the release of a powerful new set of capabilities in our continuous evolution in our data governance approach: Application Lifecycle Management.
ALM enables businesses to safely plan, create, test, and deploy business-critical apps in Quickbase. The first features released under the ALM umbrella – Solutions and Versioning, allow users to snapshot and roll back the schema of an entire solution, consisting of related apps and pipelines. This allows app builders to manage multiple apps as a single unit, providing flexibility for specific projects or reporting needs.
Here are some best practices for versioning and examples of how to best leverage this new feature.
What are Solutions?
Solutions in Quickbase are a way to manage a collection of apps and/or pipelines within a account. By grouping related resources together, Solutions give you a new option to manage as a whole and collaborate with the right stakeholders. With the new versioning capability, you can create backup snapshots of all the apps and pipelines within a Solution, ensuring that you have a restore point if needed. If you're looking for more info, check out our Empower session on Application Lifecycle Management.
Where to start
Start by defining your Solution. We recommend adding in a solution, apps, and/or pipelines whose schema (a digital plan that shows how your data is organized) you want to always keep compatible. If a pipeline is using fields from an app and you worry that changes in the app schema may impact the pipeline – this would be a good reason to bundle them into a Solution.
Driving value with Solutions
Now that you have your Solution, what’s next? Here are our tips for maximum value:
Regularly back up versions:
If your team makes frequent changes, it might be a good idea to make back-ups every day or every couple of days, this way you will be able to restore to a precise moment in case you need to.
If you have some formalized process for releasing changes periodically, we recommend you make a back-up version right after a release.
Try to document what each saved version includes in the description. This might help you decide which version to roll back to if you need that later. For example, documenting that you just added a dashboard, or you made changes to a loop in a pipeline, could be useful.
Check for quick fixes
When you identify an issue and consider rolling back to a version, check if the issue can quickly be fixed in production. Some issues are fast and easy to fix, and in those cases, we recommend you stick to a regular approach. If you cannot identify the origin of the problem or you know a resolution will take too much time, this is a good moment to decide to roll back.
Roll back with caution
Be careful when you roll back! Especially in case there are many builders making changes in the Solution. Make sure you understand the impact a roll back could have. Will some tables or fields disappear with the rollback? Are other users working in a different area? Is there a risk you delete some of their work? Rollbacks can be a powerful tool to quickly remove problems, but they can also be risky - especially when many people work in the same Solution. If that is the case for your team, this might be a good call to make a process for making schema changes to your Solutions and documenting them. This will reduce the risk of issues upfront and will help you with understanding the full impact that rollbacks may have on the schema.
Validate Data Integrity
While backup versions primarily focus on preserving the schema and structure of your apps and pipelines, it's crucial to validate the integrity of your data after performing a rollback. Ensure that the data remains intact and unaffected during the restoration process, especially in edge cases where data might be impacted.
Make sure to communicate with all relevant stakeholders, other users building in the Solution, or administrators. Communicating about the timing and nature of the rollback helps to eliminate confusion and panic if users notice any changes.
Encountering challenges when making changes is common with all software. Best practices from the world of software development apply to safe and frictionless Quickbase development as well – especially helpful with more complex Solutions and bigger teams.