Easy app making with Ninox and your Excel skills

by | Jun 10, 2021

Businesses are always looking at how they can automate tasks and make better use of their resources. No-code platforms in the cloud provide a perfect way to do this. They allow individual users and business-focused teams to quickly and easily deliver capabilities that previously required more involved IT projects. In this blog, we’ll show how easy app making, is made possible with Ninox and Squirrel365 combined. We’ll share how you can build apps to automate workflows and integrate business systems. All without writing a single line of code.

You can also watch our on-demand webinar Building no-code apps with Ninox and Squirrel365 for an easy-to-follow demonstration by Donald MacCormick — CSO, Squirrel365.

Ninox and Squirrel — a match made in heaven

The Ninox cloud database and Squirrel365’s spreadsheet-driven web-app creation capabilities, provide a powerful no-code combination. Non-technical users can access information and processes, and create remarkable web-based apps to streamline business workflows.

Squirrel lets you create web apps that read data from Ninox. You can present information to end-users and allow them to take actions to:

  • write updated or newly created data to Ninox.
  • trigger some other workflow process.

What can you build with Squirrel and Ninox?

With Squirrel, you can build apps in minutes or hours rather than days or weeks using nothing but your spreadsheet skills. For a general overview of how Squirrel works, check out our Infection Rate Calculator example in How to make a calculator app with Squirrel365.

The examples below show some of the possibilities when you underpin the power of Squirrel with a Ninox cloud database.


Example 1: Financial Summary Dashboard

Financial summary dashboard

This dashboard was built by adding a few components (charts, tables…) to the Squirrel canvas, and binding them to the Squirrel spreadsheet. Ninox Read Connections were then used to dynamically load data into the spreadsheet from the Ninox database. In addition, a Ninox Write Connection lets users add comments to the dashboards. Learn more about connections in our Knowledgebase article Ninox connections.


Adding comments to Squirrel365 project and Ninox database


When comments are added to Squirrel, they get saved back to Ninox, allowing them to be seen by other dashboard users.

Comments are saved to Ninox from Squirrel365

It’s also possible for users to save particular combinations of inputs as scenarios, which they can return to later. See How to save scenarios with Ninox and Squirrel365.


Example 2: Toys of Our Childhood App

Toys of our Childhood app built with Squirrel365

The Ninox data for this app stores values for customers, product, quantity, and price for each order.

Ninox data that is used in Squirrel365


The raw data is loaded into the Squirrel spreadsheet from the Ninox database. Then, by using basic spreadsheet functions, the data is grouped by product and filtered by customer. The user can select different customers from the dropdown to change which summary is displayed. Not only can you see orders grouped by product, but you can go deeper and click on a particular product for individual invoice details.

Updating order quantities in Squirrel365 app

Clicking on a particular invoice in the table allows the user to update order quantities. The update affects the chart and tables in Squirrel, but it also updates the invoice details in Ninox. So, you have the ability to both navigate your data and make fixes along the way.


Example 3: New Tool Customer Order Gift Marker Business App

Searching and updating Ninox data in Squirrel365 project

This example gives you the ability to both search and update data in the Ninox database.

You can set up your Squirrel project to search orders for an individual customer, e.g. “Bob”. And with another Ninox connection, Ninox Update, you can then update items to be marked as gifts by clicking on the Mark as Gift button.

Writing data back to Ninox from Squirrel365

Not only will this update the data in the Squirrel table, but it also writes back to Ninox keeping everything updated.


Example 4: Squirrel365 CRM

Squirrel365 CRM example

You’re now looking at a single-page CRM example that is fully interactive. You can choose to look at data by lead, opportunity, customer, and churned. And you can search for individual customers.

If you click on a customer, you see all their details. If you want to progress a customer from a lead to an opportunity, just hit the Progress button.

You can edit details in the edit section, and watch the charts and tables update as you go. You can even add a new lead into the system which will write back to the underlying data in the Ninox database.

Creating a New Lead in Squirrel365 CRM project

This example, and the preceding ones, give you an idea of the workflow capability you can build into your apps with Squirrel and Ninox. All built with the spreadsheet way of working that you’re familiar with.


How to build with Ninox in Squirrel

Learn how to build a version of Example 3, the New Tool Customer Order Gift Marker, from Squirrel’s CSO Donald MacCormick in Building no-code apps with Ninox and Squirrel365. If you want to skip straight to Donald’s helpful how-to section, you’ll find it at 19:24 minutes in.

Donald shows you how to:

  • select your Ninox connector
  • bring in your data
  • add components to the canvas
  • set up filters from a worksheet that is specifically loaded with spreadsheet logic.

You’ll learn how to set up a Squirrel project so that when a user enters a value in the Text Input box, the table in the app will bring back data from Ninox for that value, e.g. orders for people named Bob.


The power of Squirrel and Ninox

Squirrel365 lets you take a spreadsheet, create an app, publish it, and make it available to the world, all within a matter of minutes.

The logic of the spreadsheet gives you huge flexibility over what you can build. And it’s just a case of using filters and triggers to interact with the Ninox data.

With Squirrel and Ninox you can:

  1. read data from Ninox databases dynamically into the Squirrel spreadsheet.
  2. map the data in the spreadsheet to user interface components.
  3. use control components in the interface to push data back into Ninox such as the ‘Add new lead’ button in the CRM example.

You can do all of this with clicks, not code. Using just your spreadsheet knowledge is the easiest way to make an app.

Visit our Showcase to see and interact with some of the examples above. You can download them and even put them into PowerPoint.

You can also try out the power of Squirrel and Ninox for yourself with our 30-day free trial.


Squirrel365 at IBIS 2023

Squirrel365 at IBIS 2023

The Squirrel365 team attended the IBIS 2023 conference in Arizona. Read the round-up of the event and how Squirrel was involved.