"Covers" digital bookshelf app

Hi all, I’m making an app called “Covers” which is essentially an advanced digital bookshelf. Users can add books by entering the name, genre, author and location in their house. For example, "To Kill a Mockingbird, genre: “southern gothic”, author: “Harper Lee”, location: “John’s room bookshelves”.
The user will input these trough text inputs and when they click add it will add it to a large local database. Once all books are added, the user can search by exact name to find the location of the book, or genre, author name and location to find preferred books with a fuzzy search feature. Has anyone got any ideas for databases I can use, and just a general outline of how to create this app? Thanks.

I’ve created something like this and used the barcode scanner to read barcodes from the back of each book and then look up the barcode in the Google Books API.


Something like this might help too @jahaan

Will you be publishing your app for Android, iOS or both?

I actually had a related idea recently, which was to programatically generate book covers for a given Title/genre. There was something very similar for Spotify and I thought it would be fun to do in Thunkable

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Thank you all for the help! Does anyone have a free database I can use that’s suited to this app? I’d like the user to be able to store at least 1,000 books on a device. Everything’s stored locally on a device, and the user may delete their database entirely at any given time. They can also remove a book after searching for it. I thought about what @tatiang said about the Google Books API, but I want a custom database so the user can add, remove and locate books themselves. It’s a relatively simple app, with three main processes: Add, locate, retrieve. Thanks all.

I plan to publish to Android initially mainly as it’s much easier, but I want it to be well suited to both Android and iOS so if I do plan to publish to iOS it’s simple :slight_smile:

Is there a reason you can’t use Firebase? Or just the built-in local database that Thunkable offers?

I’m pretty sure the Realtime DB feature is no more on Thunkable which is the only thing that would really work, and if I’m being honest I have no idea on how to link cloud variables to a firebase account. Also, I’d like the database to be completely local to the user’s device.

If you want the database to be stored on the device and not require Internet access then you have to use a local data source in Thunkable. You can learn how to do that in the Data Sources documentation here: Data Sources - Thunkable Docs.

I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t use that for what you’re describing.

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Thanks, do you know how many values it can store? And how to fully set it up? The video doesn’t provide very much information.

I’m pretty sure Firebase doesn’t have any significant limitations. You’re talking about storing 1,000 rows of data. That’s a small amount of data for any database to hold.

It can be a little hard to find updated info about using Firebase with Thunkable. It’s pretty straightforward in the sense that, for example, if you want to save “hello” at /Users/userId/abcde then you would set cloud variable “Users/userId/abcde” to “hello”.

You can see a very simple use of this here: Cloud variable not storing in firebase - #6 by tatiang

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Thanks so much, just to clarify, you’d name the cloud variable to the directory?

That’s correct. The full path to the property where the value is stored.

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Alright. I’ll keep this discussion somewhat open in case anyone has anything to say, or I have any more questions. This has been very helpful @tatiang and @domhnallohanlon, thanks so much.

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I use a combination of the native local database in Thunkable and Xano as a host database. I have found Xano to be much easier to use than Firebase, there are lots of really helpful videos on Xano explaining how to use it and I have been able to create some quite complex queries.
There is a free version of Xano which I used to build my first app, but I now use a paid version as I have multiple apps.

The issue with the local database in Thunkable is that I haven’t found any way to query the tables unless I know the record number of the specific record I want to retrieve. Therefore, I use Xano for all of the heavy lifting, and store data locally that I need if the app is operating offline.

The only disadvantage I know of in Xano is the ‘listener’ (I think that’s what its called) to automatically let your app know that host data has changed. With Xano, you have to perform a check within your blocks to see if data has changed.

I hope this helps.

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