By Matt D'Angelo, business.com Writer | Updated May 24, 2019
A platform as a service (PaaS) is typically targeted to software developers building custom applications using a stack of tools and servers. Caspio targets a different audience: Its PaaS will feel familiar to Microsoft Access users. The platform is designed for creating basic databases, providing data entry forms and generating reports. You accomplish all this with a point-and-click visual development tool that requires little to no coding.
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Caspio is fundamentally different from other PaaS providers we reviewed. Other tools well known to software developers, such as those that integrate development environments and version control applications, are not part of Caspio's software development process. Some PaaS providers give developers some control over servers or server abstractions, but Caspio does not.
Caspio does for PaaS what Microsoft Access did for databases: lowering the barriers to entry in application development. Caspio appeals to developers accustomed to working with graphical user interfaces and wizard-driven development. It will likely also appeal to line-of-business managers who cannot wait to get onto an IT development schedule and do not want the challenges of outsourcing department-level database applications.
Caspio had a solid online reputation, with a B+ Better Business Bureau score and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Facebook. We interacted with Caspio via live chat, and its sales support mirrors the quality cited in various online reviews. Representatives helped us learn more about Caspio's services without pushing for a sale.
The Caspio pricing model is based on a fixed price subscription, but it has a customization option as well as several add-on services. The Caspio Professional plan costs $249 per month and includes unlimited users, applications and access to standard features. The monthly subscription also includes phone support. Data storage is limited to 7GB under this plan, but data transfer is unmetered.
If the Caspio Professional plan is not right for you, the Basic plan may be a better option. This plan includes five DataPages, 2GB of storage and 500MB of data transfer for $59 per month. You can add on more services as needed for a fee. For example, each additional DataPage costs $6 per month, data storage costs $5 per 100MB, and data transfer costs $12 per 100MB per month.
- Languages: This is a low-code platform.
- Database integration: Caspio provides tools for working with data in its own platform. Application builders working with Caspio start with tables, views and data entry pages, known as DataPages. Tables are basic relational tables with a simplified set of data types, such as text (255), text (64000), number, date and time, and yes/no. If you need more control over data types, such as to specify variable character length, or need to work with floating-point numbers, this may not be the right platform for you. The table design interface makes it easy to implement lookup tables without coding and even supports cascading lookups to allow you to drill down to finer-grained entries – e.g., from countries to states to cities. The Caspio designers clearly made some decisions that limit a developer's options, but they also provided commonly used functionality without the commonly required coding. Views are standard relational views over tables; these are useful for joining rows from multiple tables and filtering results of one or more tables.
- DataPage types: Caspio supports a variety of DataPage types. A Submission DataPage is used for data entry. In addition to providing basic form layout and saving data, developers can trigger actions after data is submitted, such as sending a notification email, or dynamically redirect the user to another page based on the user's input. Reports are implemented as DataPages as well. These pages include interactive search forms, summary result output, and an optional detail page for a single record selected from the summary results. Caspio also provides chart, calendar and HTML DataPages. In addition to the basic tables, views, forms and reports, Caspio supports localizations and style formats that can be used throughout your application. If you create localizations for one application, it is easy to export it from the source system and import it to additional applications.
- Support: Caspio provides various support options depending on your plan. Professional plan members have access to community support, online documentation and videos, live business support, eight-hour response time, consulting services, and up to two expert consulting hours per year. Advanced support includes 24/7 emergency support and service-level agreements.
Because Caspio is a low-code platform, it's significantly less flexible than other PaaS solutions. If you will be writing custom application code, integrating additional services like search and message queues, or working with large teams of developers who must coordinate software development, then you will probably find a better fit in another PaaS.