Relationships between tables in mysql database on server side
Image: yurich84/Adobe Stock

Is your business looking for an easy way to create database applications, without having to worry about writing complicated code? If that sounds like you, you might want to invest a bit of time with a new platform called NocoDB.

NocoDB claims to be an Airtable alternative, and it can be deployed to your network via a Docker container. What’s special about NocoDB is that it offers a very user-friendly means of creating database-driven applications with point-and-click simplicity.

I’m going to show you how to deploy NocoDB with the help of Docker so you can get started building your first database application.

SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

NocoDB can be deployed on any desktop or server machine that supports Docker. I’ll be demonstrating on Ubuntu Server 22.04, but you can use whatever operating system you choose.

How to install Docker

The first thing we’ll do is install Docker on Ubuntu Server 22.04. To do that, log into your Ubuntu instance and add the necessary repository with the command:

curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg

Next, add the Docker repository with:

echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg] $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null

You’ll next need to install a few dependencies with the command:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg lsb-release -y

Update apt and install the Docker engine with:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli -y

Add your user to the docker group with the command:

sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Finally, make the system aware of the changes with the command:

newgrp docker

How to deploy NocoDB

Before we deploy the container, we need to create a directory to be used for persistent data. Create this directory with:

mkdir ~/nocodb

You can place that directory wherever you want or need it. I placed it in my home directory for simplicity.

Finally, deploy NocoDB with the command:

docker run -d -p 8080:8080 --name nocodb -v /home/jack/nocodb:/usr/app/data nocodb/nocodb:latest

Notes: If external port 8080 is already in use, go with a different port and make sure you edit the path to the nocodb directory you created.

How to access the NocoDB UI

Once you’ve deployed the container, you’ll need to give the services enough time to spin up. After a few minutes, open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER:8080 (where SERVER is the IP address of the hosting server).

You should be greeted by the NocoDB welcome page (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. NocoDB has been successfully deployed.

Click Let’s Begin and you’ll be prompted to create a new user (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The New User creation window.

Type an email address and password and then click Sign Up. You will then be taken to the My Projects page (Figure C).

Figure C

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The My Projects page means you’re ready to build your first application.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully deployed the NocoDB platform. You now have the power of a very easy-to-use no-code database app-building solution. In my next entry, I’ll walk you through the steps of creating a simple note-taking app.

If you are interested in learning more about Docker, you can check out the following resources in TechRepublic Academy:

Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.