I am building an internal database application for Joomla using Fabrik. I'm interested to know if there are any alternatives to Fabrik for me to use. Maybe some of them have more options? In my case, I am making an ERM/CRM (database for company with clients, cases etc etc what my directors required). What would you use in this case?
I've used Fabrik for a few projects in the past but for my most recent project I ended up using ChronoForms.
I've used ChronoForms in the past but until recently didn't realize that it's capable of so much more than creating a custom "Contact Us" form. You can easily create lists with Multi-Record Loader, I found those to be more flexible than Fabrik lists. You also have much more control (only if you want to) over how the UI elements are rendered in HTML.
I would also consider using Joomla MVC for coding a custom component from scratch, as suggested by others here, but I am not personally very strong with PHP, so I voted that out for now.
I will advise you to make your own component using Joomla MVC and framework.
The learning curve may be big but then you will have absolute freedom to make any change or development you may need.
I told you as a user and admirer of fabrik.
I did lots of development using it but eventually you realize that the dependence on fabrik and its learning curve ultimately not worth it and it is better if you invest your time learning the native way to develop components with Joomla.
If your project is small, maybe, but for a thing as big as a ERM/CRM I will definitely do it as I told you.
I have made various apps in Fabrik like payrolls, CRM etc. I have also done what you have asked "database for company with clients, cases etc" in fabrik only. You have to dive into deep in case of Fabrik, because Fabrik is not what people expect a drag and drop application builder. It is full custom application builder providing full feature to interact with your any other joomla components like K2, virtuemart etc by creating forms using their existing tables. The other important thing I like in Fabrik, you can schedule your email, custom queries by using cron feature.
You can get simple forms every where but no feature of ajax elements requesting updated data on the fly like in Fabrik.
Zoo is another alternative. You can use Chronoforms and ChronoConnect. It isn't easy to setup. Chronoforms can't natively do "Join" on databases like Fabrik can. Here is a link to an example of Chronoforms & Connect together.
I would use CiviCrm: the main logic is implemented and it can be tuned like you want it. Main reason for me is that there is a team that keeps coding new versions and keeps the whole thing up to date, all based on a use history of years. Main reason not to do this: it is a lot of work to get it running inside Joomla, and you need to get used to the detailed level of customising that is expected.