Dabble DB

The Dabble Blog

Archives: March 2008

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Return of the son of the demo

In March 2006, we got a last minute invite to do a 7 minute long demo of Dabble DB at the Under the Radar conference in Mountain View. When we took Best in Show at the conference, we realized that the demo might be a pretty good one, so we recorded it to put on our website. The response was overwhelmingly positive: apparently it was linked to so frequently that it still shows up as #4 in the google results for the demo. How do you follow that? Well, for two years, we didn't. The product evolved and improved weekly, but the demo stayed frozen in time, 7 minutes of early 2006 preserved for the ages.

Enough is enough: there is finally a new, improved, and elongated demo up at dabbledb.com. Elongated? Yes, although I tried my best to get this new demo under the 7 minute line, it just wasn't possible: we've added too much cool stuff to Dabble DB in the last two years to make it fit. So please, watch our new 8 minute demo and let me know what you think in the comments.

Page turner.

It has been a while since I last asked how you are using Dabble DB.  I am especially interested now that you have been using Pages for a number of months.  Send me an email if you have a story to share.


Dabble DB hits the road.

There are some great conferences this month that have the people of Dabble DB packing their suitcases.  If you are doing the same, find us and say hello!

Avi is speaking at SXSW Interactive and QCon and will be attending NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference.  Andrew will be joining him at SXSW and NTC. 

Checking the right boxes

In any database system, or even an intelligent spreadsheet, it helps to give your computer hints about what kind of data you're working with. In Dabble DB, this takes the form of field types and selecting one informs Dabble whether you're working with, for example, numbers, money or geographical locations. We already support lots of different data types, but starting this week, we've added some new field types. And we've made some of the existing types smarter.

Better choices for choices

Re-order your choices First off, our choice fields just got a lot smarter. You can now re-order your existing choices any way you like, at any time using a spiffy new drag-and-drop menu. After you add a new choice you can move it to the top of the list or somewhere in the middle. You can also now edit your choices with the changes applying to existing entries. So now when your boss says that "incomplete" sounds too negative -- can you please change that to "in progress"? -- it's not a problem.

Radio buttons The other new feature for choice fields is to present them with radio buttons instead of drop-down menus. With radio buttons, choices are shown beside a circle, each on a separate line, with the selected choice's circle filled in.

Radio buttons Radio buttons make it easy to show a few choices clearly. Sometimes though, you only really need two choices -- a basic "yes" or "no". Many of our customers have requested the option to use checkboxes in these situations, and we're happy to provide them as a new field type on their own.

Checkboxes combine very nicely with our Edit Column feature (for spreadsheet-style editing), making it easy to change many entries at once without cumbersome drop-down menus. On longer forms, checkboxes are more usable and efficient for your users. And lastly, you can create attractive table reports by using icons to show checkbox data instead of words.

Clean up your links

Web link labels For a long time, you've been able to put web links and email addresses into text fields using a special formatting option. Well we've now broken them off into their own separate types. Better still, we've added the option to label links and addresses. You can use a default label for all entries (the proverbial "Click here" for example), or use a custom label and write a meaningful phrase to identify each particular link. No more long, indecipherable map URLs.

One-click dialing

One-click dialing
To complete this contact information circle, we've finally added a phone number type. We still have some plans up our sleeves to make this a rich feature, but as a starting point, this field type will give you one-click dialing for your contacts if you're a Skype user. Support for mobile phone dialing is also forthcoming.

Smarter configuration

Finally, all of this comes part and parcel with an overhaul of field configuration itself. Because there are now 15 different field types, we decided it was time to split the configuration in two parts. Selecting a field type is now one screen, and once you've made your choice, the window rolls up to reveal options for that particular type. (Of course you can still change the field later by going back to the list of types.)

You can find a video showing the new field configuration on our help pages.

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