#1 Glide Alternative for Building Business Apps (With Examples)

October 7, 2022
min read
Lizzie Davis, Growth Marketer, Stacker

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Glide is a low-code tool that lets you build apps, internal tools, and customer portals to simplify processes like bookings, payments, employee communications, and more.  

However, depending on how much you want to customize your layouts or which data sources you want to connect to, Glide may not work for you.

In this post, we take an in-depth look at Stacker, a Glide alternative. Stacker is a no-code tool that lets you create useful apps like CRMs, project trackers, and internal tools without writing a single line of code or worrying about design

Stacker is a great alternative to Glide because, with Stacker, you can: 

  • Bring in data from Excel, Google Sheets, Airtable, and also 60+ other data sources that you may be using to simplify your workflows (e.g., Asana, Dropbox, HubSpot, etc.)
  • Set user roles and custom permissions and decide what information users can view, add, or edit. 
  • Easily build the app’s interface and customize key elements like navigation and layout, without any design or coding skills.  

Let’s look at how you can use Stacker’s features to build apps and manage business processes. 

To see how Stacker lets you create, customize, and launch web apps and front ends within minutes, sign up for our 30-day free trial and start building your app.

Best Glide Alternative: Stacker’s No-Code Platform for Building Powerful and Secure Web Apps

Using Stacker’s no code tool as a Glide Alternative

Stacker lets start-ups, small businesses, and enterprises create useful apps to manage their processes, track projects, and collaborate with clients. 

Here are examples of apps our users have built with Stacker:

1. A real estate client portal: Table Investments is a real estate consulting firm that helps its clients invest in and manage properties in Oklahoma. Before Stacker, Table Investments used Airtable to manage work orders, rental properties, and payments. 

However, they couldn’t easily communicate all their work and updates with one client without letting them see everyone else’s information from the Airtable database. With Stacker, they built a real estate portal that lets clients login to Table Investment’s app and independently see their portfolio statuses and weekly updates. 

How Table Investments Made a Client Portal with Stacker

2. An internal workflow app: Williams Windows is a window and door replacement service in Texas. Mateo, Williams Windows founder, used Airtable to manage job estimates, window pricings, and job statuses. 

However, it was difficult to share this info with their subcontractors (if they wanted to share each subcontractor’s daily task, they'd have to share the entire Airtable database with them and have the subcontractor find their assigned jobs). 

With Stacker, Mateo built an internal mobile app where subcontractors can now login to their unique portal, price their tasks, and easily update their job status. 

How to Create a CRM with Stacker’s alternative to Glide

3. A non-profit portal: Hearts of Hope is a non-profit that supports families of sick children via donor funding. They used Airtable to store donor and status info but found it challenging to communicate grant request statuses to the families. 

To solve this, Melissa, the Web Development & Design Head, considered many options to create a portal but found that customizing the portal would be out of their budget. They chose Stacker to create a portal, and families can now easily submit their expenses, apply for a financial grant, and check the status of their grant request, all from one place.

How to Create a Portal with Stacker’s Glide Alternative

In the next sections, we’ll cover how you can use Stacker’s features to create trackers, CRMs, resource directories, customer portals, and other apps.

Plug in Data From Airtable, Google Sheets, Excel, and 60+ Other Data Connectors

Let’s look at how you can get started with Stacker.

Most businesses store data in tools like Excel or Google sheets. Stacker’s app builder lets you connect to the data source you use and creates a front end based on that data. 

You can do this in three ways:

1. Import data from Google Sheets, Excel, or Airtable database

To sync data from your Airtable database, you need your Airtable API key. In case you don’t know where your API key is, here’s how to find it:

How to find your Airtable API Key

Once you start syncing, Stacker’s automation also preserves any linked records, relationships, and formulas from your databases.  

You can even sync multiple bases with Stacker. 

For example, you can create one Airtable for you and one Airtable for your clients and connect both. One of Stacker’s clients, the Complete DJ Group, runs a top-rated DJ service in Australia. They used two Airtable databases — one to manage their client orders and the other for their contractors. With Stacker, they created a portal for clients where they could access details of their event; and a separate portal for contractors, where they could see their upcoming bookings. 

Once your app is created, Stacker offers a two-way sync: any change in the back-end reflects in Stacker and vice-versa. 

Then, you can even connect to multiple data sources. For example, if you run a recruitment portal from Airtable and collect applicant info in Excel, you can connect both to Stacker. 

To connect data from Google Sheets, you just need to sync the relevant sheet to your Stacker app using our Google Sheets connection wizard. To import data from Excel, you just need a CSV format that you can upload on Stacker.  

You can learn more about how to build apps specifically from Airtable data in this post. 

2. Use Stacker tables

If you don’t have any external data sources or don’t want to use multiple platforms, you can use Stacker tables as a central place to manage all your business processes. This saves time juggling between various tools and saves costs on app subscriptions. 

You can connect Airtable, Google Sheets, and more to Stacker

3. Import data from other data sources

With Stacker, you can connect to 60+ data sources. For example, you can import data from:

  • Marketing platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, Mailchimp, etc. 
  • Cloud storage platforms like Dropbox and OneDrive. 
  • eCommerce platforms like Shopify. 

Note: Aside from our Starter plan, all of our plans offer unlimited records if you use Stacker Tables to store your data. Glide comes with a limit of 50,000 records in all their plans. 

Set Permissions to Create, Edit, and View Data Based on User-Roles

With Stacker, you can create highly specific custom and granular permissions

You can control which actions users can take at three levels: page, record, and field. 

Control what your users see and can edit

For example, you can set a permission rule which dictates that a logged-in user can view records, and a record owner can create new fields. This way, you don’t overwhelm users with unnecessary data and only show them info that’s valuable and relevant for them. 

Here’s an example of how Zapier used Stacker’s permission systems: They were managing 600+ employees’ data on budget spending in an Airtable database. So if an employee or manager wanted specific budget info, it was impossible to share that information without sharing their entire database with personal employee data. 

With Stacker, they were able to set up custom permission settings to allow every employee to view data that was related to them — and nothing else. 

Stacker’s permission systems help you create one app that can be used by many people without compromising privacy and usability. 

For example, another client, Spedal, offers bike services for food deliveries and uses Airtable to collect customer orders. Because they didn’t want to share the entire Airtable base with their delivery agents (and risk customer info), they would send the order info to delivery agents via text. As orders grew, Spedal was finding this difficult to manage. They used Stacker to create two different interfaces, one for their customers and another for their delivery agents. 

The customer-facing app lets users place, track, and return their orders. 

The internal app lets bikers look at only their customer orders, log the start and end of their order, and confirm delivery. This way, Spedal created multiple apps where different users could perform different actions, all from Stacker.  

Want more detail on how Stacker’s permission systems work? Take a look at this article in our help center

Design Your App Interface from Scratch or Use Our Pre-Built Templates

With Stacker, you can create an app from one of our templates based on where you save your data or create your app from scratch using our easy-to-navigate app builder.

If you store data in Airtable or Google Sheets, Stacker creates a workable app for you in just a few minutes. You can then change the look and feel of the app with our customization options (mentioned below) and grant users login access. 

For Excel and other data sources, you can start building your app using one of Stacker’s templates. 

Choose templates to start building your no code app with Stacker

Regardless of the option you choose, Stacker helps you design professional-looking apps without fretting about pixel sizes, colors, fonts, alignments, and more. All our features are easy to use, so you don’t need to hire any app development or design teams. 

For example, you can: 

  • Add your logo and brand colors to align the app with your brand identity. 
  • Add rows, columns, and tables to organize information clearly.
  • Create nested views to easily navigate pages.
  • Create custom fields to get specific end-user information. (For example, an ‘attachment’ field where users can upload their photos or other docs as identity proof.) 
  • Apply filters to hide or show specific information to certain users. (For example, you can apply a filter in a property app to only show ‘sold’ or ‘offer accepted’ properties.)
  • Add buttons to enable actions like edit, save, or delete or trigger advanced workflows with an integration with Zapier.
  • Preview the app before making it live so that you can check everything’s working as it should be.

Let’s see what different customization options exist in the way data is presented. 

Here’s an example of a CRM that’s hosted on Airtable:

An example of a CRM in Airtable

By using Stacker’s drag-and-drop interface builder, you can take the same data and make it look like this: 

An example of a CRM in Stacker

The Airtable navigation looks cluttered with too many rows and columns compared to Stacker’s CRM, which has a Kanban board display. 

Here, all accounts are organized by their status on the dashboard: Qualification, Proposal, Evaluation, Negotiation, and Closed. Agents can easily find their active accounts and see which stage they have reached and which remain to be completed. 

Sign Up for a 30-Day Free Trial to Test Stacker as a Glide Alternative 

Stacker’s no-code app development platform makes it easy for you to: 

  • Import data from various sources (Excel, Airtable, etc.).
  • Tightly control permission settings so you can have different views for different users. 
  • Create customizable web applications that align with your use case and simplify your workflows.  

Stacker’s SaaS app builder has helped thousands of businesses create apps like employee directories, project management trackers, client portals, and internal tools.

When you sign up for our free trial, you get to use key features and functionalities from all our plans, including that of Pro and Enterprise. Our support team is available if you want to know which plan can work best for you, how you can make the most out of Stacker’s features, and other rollout strategies.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial and test Stacker’s features that let you create web apps without any technical expertise from data stored in Google Sheets, Excel, Airtable, and many other sources. 

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