These are chat archives for frictionlessdata/chat

7th
Feb 2019
Tim Wisniewski
@timwis
Feb 07 10:32

Hey folks, I wanted to share a project idea I've been thinking about for a while because it seems like it intersects with frictionless data.

In Philly's city government, we'd often come across datasets where the "source of record" was an excel spreadsheet or an MS Access database. It was usually that way because the maintainer didn't have any IT support, or the system wasn't important enough to get capital funding for a proper application, and they didn't know any better alternatives.

Surprisingly enough, neither did we. Apart from building a custom application, the choices were either prohibitively expensive or SaaS products that may not be around in a year or two. And lock-in/lack of portability made those significant concerns. Ironically, we found ourselves looking for the "Microsoft Access of 2019"...

I tried to imagine what an ideal solution for this would be: something we could give department users that would let them build and maintain a relational database without being heavily technical, and under the hood it's just a vanilla, say, postgres database that they're building. Which we could easily access, which could be built on top of if they ever outgrow this tool, etc. Imagine AirTable on top of postgres, or djangoadmin that also lets you add tables/columns.

I put together a very basic proof-of-concept a year & a half ago but I'd love to brainstorm more on how this could work if anyone's interested.

Carl V. Lewis
@carlvlewis
Feb 07 10:33
Checking this out. Thanks, Tim!
Tim Wisniewski
@timwis
Feb 07 10:38
Hey Carl! Sure thing. There's also a little "landing page" where I tried to articulate the benefits a bit better. It's framed as if it's an upcoming SaaS product, but it's a facade :P
Rufus Pollock
@rufuspollock
Feb 07 14:29

@timwis :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :smile:

I tried to imagine what an ideal solution for this would be: something we could give department users that would let them build and maintain a relational database without being heavily technical, and under the hood it's just a vanilla, say, postgres database that they're building. Which we could easily access, which could be built on top of if they ever outgrow this tool, etc. Imagine AirTable on top of postgres, or djangoadmin that also lets you add tables/columns.

I put together a very basic proof-of-concept a year & a half ago but I'd love to brainstorm more on how this could work if anyone's interested.

This is awesome Tim and would love to brainstorm - here was the “Data Explorer” POC i built around 2012-2014. http://explorer.okfnlabs.org/ and https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer

As you can see it was based on Prose in UI (and i talked a lot with prose dev when building - i actually hacked on it next to him at a sprint weekend in DC)

Note that unfortunately Data Deck does not currently work as token has expired for github login - here’s a post about it http://okfnlabs.org/blog/2013/03/18/progress-with-data-explorer.html

Tim Wisniewski
@timwis
Feb 07 14:38
Oh wow, that's awesome. Reuse of recline too, nice. The PR I made to prose was pretty similar hah:
example: https://prose.io/#CityOfPhiladelphia/community-health-explorer/edit/gh-pages/_data/2016/top_10_cities.csv
Rufus Pollock
@rufuspollock
Feb 07 14:39
Great minds think alike!
Tim Wisniewski
@timwis
Feb 07 14:51
Well here's some initial brainstorming. What's the best way to talk through it? I'm happy to pop up to the coworking space you mentioned, or we can do it via gitter/issues if you prefer async.