Note: This review was performed based on the publicly available free edition of Ragic which is not feature limited. In the spirit of disclosure, the author has performed work in the past under contract to OutSystems, who is listed as the maker of a competing product.
- Requirements: Web browser, Internet access
- Price: Free for limited usage, up to $6,500 for a private server with unlimited usage
- Additional Information: Product Web site
Who is it for?
Ragic is designed for people who are not programmers, but who would like to get something similar to a spreadsheet on the Internet as an online application.
What problem does it solve?
There are plenty of times where a business user might want to take a spreadsheet and put it in an online environment for other people to work with. Ragic makes this as easy as possible, whether starting from scratch or by importing an existing spreadsheet.
- Ease of Use: Working with Ragic is very easy, and very similar to a basic spreadsheet application, so business users will feel right at home.
- Price: Ragic's pricing is very nice, starting at free for an account with limited storage and databases.
- Security: Ragic allows you to create users and groups and limit access to applications, this is a nice feature.
- Excel Import: Ragic can import an existing Excel document with a very simple wizard.
- Limited: Ragic's functionality is very limited. For example, fields can only have three formats (test, number, and dates).
- Slightly Buggy: I found a number of non-critical bugs in my testing. For example when adjusting field formatting, no example showed in the "Example" area.
- Easily Overlooked Features: There are a few places where the interface displays features in a place where a typical user would not even know that they are available.
Bottom line for business
Ragic falls into a very interesting middle-ground for application development and online collaboration. On the one hand, it wants to be as easy as possible for a business user to get their work done. On the other hand, it needs to be feature rich in order to enable applications to do what they need to do.
Ragic shoots for simplicity over features, and hits the mark quite well. Compared to products like AlphaFive and Agile Platform, both of which are quite capable of producing spreadsheet-like applications and are quite easy to use, Ragic is magically simple. It is also easier than Microsoft Access and Google Apps.
Indeed, Google Apps is really Ragic's closest comparison. While Ragic terms the creations "applications" they feel more like online spreadsheets. This is not a bad thing at all; the spreadsheet metaphor is widely understood and is a perfect fit for a lot of cases. But if your goal is to get a basic, spreadsheet-like skeleton up and then start adding all sorts of fancy widgets to it, it is not happening. Ragic just isn't designed for that kind of use. Indeed, sharing a Google Apps spreadsheet could be just as easy.
This isn't to say that Ragic is useless, far from it. For the busy professional without easy access to an IT department, Ragic is a great choice for self-help. But it will likely not satisfy developers and power users of Excel will probably feel a bit constrained.
Have you encountered or used Ragic? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Justin James is an OutSystems MVP, architect, and developer with expertise in SaaS applications and enterprise applications.