Easy to use programs to create searchable database
February 25, 2021 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to work on a little database project using google forms & sheets, but I'm finding that it has limitations in terms of some specific things that I want. I'm pretty tech savvy but I'm no programmer.

Here's the basic overview of what's going on: I want a musician/artist to be able to fill out a web form with their info, and an educational organization to be able to search the database that form populates to find artists it wants to hire to do workshops etc. Just connecting the artist with the organization. Some things I haven't been able to figure out in google forms/sheets:

How the artist can go back and edit their info should it change.

How the search form can search specific fields in the sheet.

Nested checkboxes on the artist input form, e.g.
- Dance
- Music

I'm wondering if this is possible in google sheets or if there are better programs I should be using. I'm volunteering to do this for a nonprofit, i.e. not getting paid. Thanks for your help.
posted by transient to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A content management system will do this. I know you're not getting paid but can the organization afford something like Wix? It has this capability: https://support.wix.com/en/article/filtering-content-based-on-user-selection
posted by dawkins_7 at 2:56 PM on February 25, 2021

Best answer: This looks like an interesting solution as well - keep everything in google forms/sheets and then use this just for searching and filtering: https://www.x-ref.se/english/applications/search-google-sheets/search-google-sheets.html
posted by dawkins_7 at 2:58 PM on February 25, 2021

Best answer: A google form can be designed to be edited after submission.

Airtable may be a possibility.

Here are some open source alternatives to Airtable.
posted by oceano at 3:04 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This sounds like a CRM (customer relation management) in a way.

I'm a trained full-stack developer, and this is simple CRUD (created read update, delete) stuff. Basically, you create a membership system, where every artist would register, and their login ID is linked to the info they entered, and they can edit their own stuff (with reasonable undo) and no more. Then the institutions, with their own login ID, would be able to search the table and filter based on their criteria of the stuff the artists entered into the table. Two or three tables, a couple forms, nothing too special. No more than a couple days for a full-stack webdev.

If you have to spin your own version, I guess you can do it in Google forms feeding data into Google sheets, or just Google sheets by itself. I guess it depends on if you want artists to be able to see other artists, or is that restricted to verified institution personnel.
posted by kschang at 5:11 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for your suggestions. I think maybe a CMS might be the right route. Any particular recommendations for free options that would have this functionality? Thanks again!
posted by transient at 11:38 AM on February 27, 2021

Best answer: I think Drupal could do all this pretty easily.

You could create an Artist content type and add a field (probably using Taxonomy for tags) for your Dance and Music and similar checkboxes.

You can set up search using the built-in Views feature; users can choose options from those Music and Dance fields to find the artists they want.

If you want to let an artist edit their own entry, I would recommend letting them create a user account; once they've got a user account, you can easily set permissions so they can edit their own Artist page. (Note: be sure to set up a Captcha on the user signup form, or you'll get tons of spambot accounts.)

Things like user accounts are built in to Drupal, which is why a CMS (like Drupal, or Wordpress) is such a great time-saver.

I hope that helps!
posted by kristi at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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