Re: Life Cycle
@TerryB you bring up some great questions, here.
When it comes to sharing the application you build, it depends on the system. Some, like Filemaker, have a server edition and a combination of free mobile app and web client, so the system looks a lot like the traditional client/server architecture under the hood.
Other systems, like QuickBase, are all in the cloud. The application you create and the database that supports it are both in the cloud, to be accessed by any folks who have access.
In general, there's a distinction between the edit/create function and the user function so you can keep the two separate. I can't imagine a database app that allowed anyone to change the code!
As for exporting data to use with a third-party report generator, that's highly variable. Some systems will happily export a file, others are riding on a SQL database that you can access from any app you'd like, and some are closed systems. It's definitely a question to ask aggressively when you're in the purchase cycle!