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What do you call a spreadsheet on steroids? A database. Where’s the best place to store a database? Well, on the Internet of course; and here I am going to tell you how to easily create a free online database for your own purpose.

Having your data, and the ability to enter your data, right on the Internet means that you can manage and control your data from anywhere in the world, so long as you have an Internet connection. Why would you ever want to do this? Well, just think of the possibilities.

You could maintain a complete online library of your entire book collection. You could manage your movies and DVDs. Own a small business? Maintain a collection of data about your workers, and correlate that data with a time and labor recording form. This is the beauty of a database — you can maintain an assortment of “spreadsheets”, and then interconnect all of that information in a form that’s easy to search and easy to use outside of the database itself.

If you’ve never really understood what a database is, or the point of one, make sure to check out my description of what a database is So What Is a Database, Anyway? [MakeUseOf Explains] So What Is a Database, Anyway? [MakeUseOf Explains] For a programmer or a technology enthusiast, the concept of a database is something that can really be taken for granted. However, for many people the concept of a database itself is a bit foreign.... Read More . We’ve also covered plenty of advanced database topics as well, such as creating your own hosted SQLite database Learn SQL Or Create A Simple Database With SQLite Database Browser Learn SQL Or Create A Simple Database With SQLite Database Browser Have you ever found yourself in need of a database, but you can't really afford Microsoft Access, and you certainly can't afford to install and operate an Oracle server at home. Whether your goal is... Read More , or how to search your WordPress database 7 Wordpress Database Queries To Search Your Blog For Anything 7 Wordpress Database Queries To Search Your Blog For Anything Running a Wordpress blog or a website isn't really that much of a big deal at the beginning. It's actually pretty simple. You install Wordpress on a webserver, you upload and install a theme, start... Read More using query statements.

No matter whatever your background with databases — beginner or expert — creating your own free Soda DB database will allow you the freedom of having your own database, without the hassle of having to install and maintain one on a server. Soda DB is entirely web based.

Creating a Soda DB Database

Many people that use Soda DB just start by using one of the many templates that you’ll find right on the main page.  However, to start from scratch and build your own database with customized fields, click on the “Start from scratch” link underneath all the database template links.

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When you do this, you’ll see your own personal database design page with a pop-up asking you to set up your email address. It’s important to enter one, because this is the only way Soda DB can save your database design and settings for the next time you want to come back and use your database again.

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Once that’s finished, you can start designing the fields in your first database table by clicking on “Option menu” and choose “Set your custom fields”.

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This will open a quick form where you can go down and customize up to 35 fields. You can define the field as a date, dropdown, textbox, checkbox, and other formats. Then you can type the text that you want to use to customize that field, and then fill out any other formatting options, such as the date format if you select a date field.

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Once you’re finished, you’ve done 90% of the work to create your database. You’ll see your customized fields and formats show up in your database data view.

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You don’t really have to use your online form (available at your secret URL listed at the top of the screen) to enter data, you can do it directly in this data view, just like you can do in a regular database. If you’ve used a database like Access or something similar, then you’ll recognize the icons for each record – edit, remove, etc…

Using Your Soda DB Database

Once you have hundreds or thousands of records in your database, the search form will come in handy. This lets you search through your database using a bunch of different logical comparisons and search fields.

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You can also add additional users to your database, if you want to share it with friends. You can do this under the “Option menu”, and clicking on the “Set your sub-users” menu item. Here you can just add new email addresses for any friends or colleagues that you want to provide access to your Soda DB database.

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Once you save these new email addresses, those people will receive the secret link to your online database. There are actually two URLs to keep in mind. The administrative activities are accessed using the secret URL identified at the top of the database data screen. However, if you want to just access your data-entry form on any web browser, without messing around with database design issues, you can find your “FormOnly” link under the “Option Menu”, under “Set your preferences”.

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Click on “FormOnly Settings” and you’ll see the direct URL. Bookmark it to get to your data-entry form quickly.

Editing Database Records

When you are in the database design view, you can manipulate individual records using the different record tool icons in each row.  The icons from left to right are Edit, View, Delete, and More Options.

sodadb8 What are “More Options”? Well, you might be surprised to learn that you can also copy individual records to your computer clipboard, export it to a CSV file, print it, send it to someone via email, and more depending on what the data record actually is.
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For example, if the data is a GPS coordinate or name of a city, you can click on “View on map” to see it on a Google Map.

Using SodaDB Templates

Many people aren’t very keen on designing their own database, so thankfully Soda DB includes a decent library of pre-existing database templates that someone else created. These templates include some really cool things like book or movie collections, to-do lists, a weekly planner, an animal shelter database, a time sheet, and more.

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All you have to do is click a template, rename the database in your “Option menu”, “Set Your Preferences” and “Your database name”, and the database is yours to use however you see fit. Below is a template I imported for a weekly planner database.

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A noteworthy feature: just because you only have one email address doesn’t mean you’re tied to just one database. You can actually create as many as  you like, tied to (protected by) a single email address. You can see all of the databases you’ve created under the “My other forms” tab.

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These are just a few simple examples of how you can use Soda DB — either by building a database from scratch or by importing templates — as your own web-based database for holding and managing thousands of records. This power is right at your fingertips and it’s absolutely free.

Do you have any need for your own online database? Does Soda DB fill that need? How do you intend to make use of it? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!

  1. Salome Magerstein
    February 20, 2016 at 12:31 am

    AND what I forgot to mention - I have created a COMPLETE set of forms in the GRUBBA database, which, according to the developer would be IMPORTED into the SODA DB - but when I tried to import my forms, ONLY 1 IMPORTED and multiplied ALL my entries in the CUSTOMER database 6 (SIX) times !!! THAT IS A HORRIBLY UNSTABLE application !!! Just as an after thought, maybe the developer had a couple of drinks too many and fed his "application" the SODA instead of the OTHER way around !!!!!!!! nee - Ik is wel da weg en niet een happy chappy !!!!

  2. Salome Magerstein
    February 20, 2016 at 12:24 am

    i would NOT go for this application - NO ability for UNIQUE records and the RECORD ID does not keep a proper count. NOT SOMETHING I WILL PROMOTE OR EVEN SUGGEST TO ANYONE I LIKE - to those I HATE ---- YES !!!!!!!!!!!

  3. David Mackintosh
    January 30, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I tried making a list of personnel on Sodadb. It says you can restrict editing so people can only edit their own records. But after logging out as admin and logging back in with a dummy account name I was able to edit all records in the database. The developer did not reply to my query.

    I would love to find a simple online database where people can maintain some basic information about themselves.

  4. Vidit J
    October 13, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Is there anyway to make something like this available offline?

  5. Glen P
    October 11, 2013 at 2:45 am

    Can you query multiple tables with this SQL or are you still limited to 1 table?

  6. Glen P
    October 10, 2013 at 5:38 am

    The author starts out by comparing the differences between spreadsheets and true databases but then the rest of the article describes Soda DB as beomg one "sheet". That's not really a database, but just a glorified spreadsheet. One can accomplish the same thing in Google Docs. A real database is a series of interconnected spreadsheets, with the columns relateable to each other, hence the name, "relational database". All I get from this description is that SodaDB has cool spreadsheet features, but I fail to see the "database" nature. Am I missing something? Can you link different "databases" (which are really just single spreadsheets in this article), or they all just standalone objects - not very relational, and not very database-esque.

    • michael
      October 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      yup, I totaly agree with you. The author just use Soda DB as a sheet. What I need is how to connect to my website as a normal database

    • Ryan Dube
      October 11, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Mostly the ability to query thousands of records via SQL calls:

      "Use advanced search queries
      With Sodadb you can use advanced SQL-like queries. It looks a bit daunting at first glance, but bear with me, it's much easier than you might think. And the rewards are high. "

      There's a tutorial on the tutorial page that shows you how to accomplish this.

  7. Saumyakanta S
    October 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    How can I use this soda DB to host wordpress ?

    • Ryan Dube
      October 11, 2013 at 12:52 am

      As far as I know, it isn't advanced enough to do that.

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