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dbQwikSite 6.0.1 by The Dev Shop

Review

DBQwikSite costs just $79 (or “free” if you use trial pay – more on this later) and comes with ready to use templates, and shopping cart functionality. Is it a bargain or simply too good to be true?

Installation

Installation was reasonably painless, though it did insist on installing a couple of runtimes. It takes around 110mb on disk.

Interface

The program does look a little dated, but nothing too bad. The opening screen has links to create a new project / open a demo project, Create a database connection or even a Database, along with links asking you to help promote the program on social networks, and the trial pay links.

DBQwikSite - Main Page

DBQwikSite - Main Page

I decided to create a new database connection so that I could build an application for the Sakila database. I was pleased to see that it supports SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 / 2005 Express, Ms Access, Ms Excel, MySQL, Oracle, CSV Files, Text Files, ODBC Connection and ADO Connection.

So most modern databases are covered by name except the likes of PostgreSQL, SQLite etc. The fact that is mentions SQL Server 2000 and 2005 by name but not 2008 or 2010 makes me again feel that the program may be a little dated. I would guess though that it should be compatible with newer versions of SQL Server, and indeed may well work with PostgreSQL and SQLite if you use an ODBC driver for example.

I entered the connection details for the Sakila database without any problems, so I opted for a new project.

First thing is to give the project a name and choose between a Database Web Project or a dbQwikSite Design Template Project. I chose Database Web Project.

I selected my Sakila connection and it presented me with a list of Tables and Views with tick boxes for: All, Data, More, Search, Add, Edit, Copy, Delete and Import, along with a “Friendly” name for each table (and view).

The next page asks Host Server settings such as Operating System, Scripting Language (ASP and ASP.Net are greyed out – only PHP or Don’t Know are enabled) Database Type (strange that you can change it at this stage), Domain name and email address.

There are several colour scheme options and a colour scheme editor which allow you to set colours for default text, non-visited-link, visited link, active link, table header, table odd row background, table even row background.

Surprisingly this is the last step – only the Finish or back buttons appear. Hang on though, where do we select field options?

I clicked “Finish” meaning to go back and check later – but then I realised it creates the forms for grid view, add, search etc and you can then edit.

So for example to change language_id in the film table to a dropdown that uses the language table to populate values I need to select the field on the form, select properties, change type from Text Box to List, click “Add” select Dynamic, Select the table (or build a query) and select the ID/Display values and whether to sort ascending or descending.

Having changed the “Add Film” form though, I had to do the same with “Update Film” and “Copy Film”, and I couldn’t even find a Listbox or lookup option for the grid.

Sakila has Foreign Keys setup, so I’m disappointed at how few programs take these and automatically setup lookup fields.

Generated Applications

DBQwikSite - Application

DBQwikSite - Application

Once deployed, the application presents you with a nice looking opening screen with a list of tables – each with links to the data, find, add, import and a control panel – the latter simply provides links to all the above for the selected table.

DBQwikSite - Application Data Screen

DBQwikSite - Application Data Screen

The main data page for any given table has the title along the top, with a row of icon buttons underneath and a sortable grid beneath. It looks quite pleasing, if a little basic.

The last columns have buttons for View More / Edit / Copy and Delete.

It turns out that the trial edition only generates the first 100 pages of your project.

One feature that does look particularly interesting is an Ecommerce wizard – which allows you to collect payments from Paypal, WorldPay, Authorize.net, SecPay, Google Checkout or VCS.

Code / Application Structure

The first thing I noticed when examining the generated files was that for each of the forms for each of the tables there is a CSS file – e.g. actor_add.css, actor_bulk.css, actor_copy.css… etc. Normally a single CSS file allows you to change the general look and feel of all pages rather than just individual ones like this.

The code seems to be largely procedural and has lots of comments though looks tricky to hand-code. Code is reasonably separated from logic though.

Summary

DBQwikSite has reasonable features for only $79 – it is one of the few code generators I have seen that come with shopping cart functionality built in for example, and it comes with a nice selection of well designed templates.

Instead of handing over cash, you can choose to “Pay” using trial pay – where you take a trial of a product and they give the publishers of DBQwikSite money and you get a license. Some of the offers looked quite interesting, but remember that most of these free trials will automatically continue and start billing you if you forget to cancel them. Still, if there’s something you were thinking about signing up for anyway, then you may as well get a bit of free software thrown in!

I do feel it is a little bit fiddly setting lookup fields and so on, and would like to see it set these automatically.

All things considered though, a good package for the price – even if it looks a little dated.

Reviewed September 2011

dbQwikSite Publisher's Website


If you have used this product and have any comments about this review (perhaps we missed a killer feature, or missed some major hole that only manifests itself after prolonged use) then please comment below.

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