Dabble DB

The Dabble Blog

Plays well with others

Dabble has always given you great ways to get your data out via our computer readable exports, but it hasn't been as easy as we'd like for you to edit the data and get it back into your database. To improve this, we've introduced some features that you can use to introduce Dabble to some of the other applications out there.

Entry ID numbers

Some of our more intrepid customers have noticed that Dabble assigns an internal ID number to everything in their database, but they couldn't use these numbers in imports as a key to match their existing data. Well, I'm pleased to announce that now you can now match against these internal Dabble-generated IDs while importing. We at Dabble have been using this feature already as we're developing it, and we think it makes editing your data in a spreadsheet and getting it back into Dabble much easier.


But maybe you don't like our existing entry ID numbers, which aren't necessarily sequential or specific to a category. Old database pros might want an autoincrement field, and so we've added this feature to Dabble. When configuring a text field, there's a new option, called 'autoincrement' that works with your default value. If I type in 'THX-1138,' Dabble will assign 'THX-1138' to the default field of the next planet object I create, and increment the default to 'THX-1139.' This should help our users who depend on sequential values for a particular category, not just for imports but also bookkeeping.


Excel-friendly export

Our CSV export has served us well, but we've always wanted to be able to do an export targeted more directly at the millions of Microsoft Excel users out there. We finally found something that works nicely, and so you can now download data directly to Excel from Dabble. We're pleased with it.



  1. David Thomas says:

    I like the explanation of the new features. Could be very helpful for doing some off dabble manipulation and reloading.

    I was interested in your comment on Excel and having found a way to export data to excel that you like. I would be interesting in knowing more as I have similar needs in a development project (no competition to dabble)


    David Thomas

  2. Luke Andrews says:

    Hi David,

    It's a pretty simple trick actually: Excel can read HTML pages as if they were spreadsheets. Save your data in a [table] in a simple web page, give it an .XLS extension and it will load into Excel. Using a [meta] tag to specify character encoding and adding some inline CSS helps.

  3. James says:

    The Excel thing is interesting. Have you considered that exactly the same format may actually be useful for people who just want to display data from their data sets via an iframe?

    Actually it gives me an idea for a new type of export or page - simply an html table. In the export configuration you could specify the location of a stylesheet the table should conform to.

  4. Luke Andrews says:

    James, we already offer that via the Share link -- you can create a page with your view on it and then embed it in your website.

  5. Jon says:

    This is truly awesome.

  6. Tom says:

    This works great, and saved me a ton of time, allowing me to export 6000+ records, run through regex's to clean up capitalization.

    I have just a few tips to avoid duplicate entries, and getting the import right.
    1. Make sure to export id field in initial export.
    2. If you make a copy of the application to be safe, like I did, make sure to import into the same application you exported from, not the copy. (Dabble generates new id's for each entry in the copied application, so they won't match.)
    3. On import Select the entry ID number for the Key, and and in the column, chose ID for the ID field.
    4. Test your export/import procedure on just a few entries to make sure you got the hang of it before spending time processing all your data.


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