Dabble DB

The Dabble Blog

Archives: December 2005

« November 2005 · January 2006 »

Bay Area Meet?

I’m going to be in San Francisco for the last few days in December. Does anyone want to meet for dinner, demos, and Dabble discussion?

Update: Scoble is organizing a geek dinner in Palo Alto - I’ll be there.


Hey, we’re one of the runners up for Beta of the Year over at the Museum of Modern Betas. We’re in great company: del.icio.us, Measure Map, and Google Base (among others) were also on the runner-up list. And congrats to Writely for taking the top spot.

Here’s hoping for “Launched App of the Year” in 2006 ;)

Dabble Clip #2: Column Menus

Robert Scoble linked recently to a post by the Excel 12 team on context menus in pivot tables. Seeing sorting, grouping and filtering options all lined up in a menu like that reminded me that it was time to post some more shots of the Dabble UI. I’ll explain what’s going on below.

Read the rest of this entry…

Ob Buzz

For those of you who, unlike me, don’t obsessively track every mention of Dabble on the net:

There’s a detailed review of Dabble at Brian Benzinger’s Solution Watch. Brian highlights some of our favorite features, like the pervasive undo link, the rich variety of exports, and the flexible system of saved views. And it’s great to see him get so much value out of the system without even getting into the more advanced features like linked entries, lists, backreferences, and migration. That’s exactly what we were hoping for: an incremental exploration of the available power rather than being paralyzed by featuritis up front.

Brian also links to the LispVan video, which has been surprisingly successful: it’s had thousands of downloads, and people seem to connect with it in a way that they don’t with static descriptions, screenshots, and tutorials. We’ll definitely be doing more screencasts in the near future.

More buzz from Patrick Logan (”This blows Ruby on Rails a bit out of the water…. should be a fundamental building block of those office applications you wish you had but would cost too much to develop”) and Chris Petrilli:

To put it to the test, I decided to implement my company’s internal asset database, currently stored in an Excel spreadsheet.

5 minutes.


So, that under the belt, I decided to also add our evaluation systems into it, and track all the equipment that goes in and out of the organization for evaluation by customers.

5 minutes.


That’s what I like to hear, Chris, that’s what I like to hear.


So WordPress had neglected to notify me of about 300 comments posted in the last month or so. Since most of them were spam, that’s largely a good thing, but there were also 20 or so genuine comments in there that have been languishing in moderation-land. These have now been released; sorry ’bout that. We certainly didn’t intend this to be a one-way conversation. Herewith a few quick replies…

Alan: yes, “next thursday” is ambiguous (so is “thursday”, for that matter, if it’s currently Friday), but as long as Dabble takes a consistent position on what it means, I think the convenience of having it there outweighs the confusion of having it make the unexpected choice some times. The choice is explicit, after all: it’s converting to a fully specified date, and you can always check to make sure it got it right (and yes, this would work better if it used AJAX to do it instantly on unfocus).

Nima: Dabble so far has a fairly simple permissions system: effectively, you can restrict individual users to read or read/write access on specific categories of data. You can also hand out URLs to read-only exports/reports (HTML, PDF, RSS, etc) if someone should only see a very narrow, filtered view of the data, like a client getting to see work logs for their project.

ChonqQing: the purpose of inverse fields is to automatically track two-way relationships. So a Person might have a “Projects” field, and a Project might have a “People” field. Adding John to the Foo project’s list of “People” should also add Foo to John’s list of “Projects”. Removing Bar from John’s list of Projects should remove John from Bar’s list of People.

Randy: lots of good points, thanks. As for export to Excel: we currently do CSV, so that’s at least partly covered. For web services, we’ve built some quick and dirty APIs to start with, and are still trying to decide on a long term approach. One appealing option is the Atom Publishing Protocol. Comments welcome.

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