Thursday, May 11, 2006

Online Databases Start Sprouting Everywhere

I'm going to post a lot more on this in a bit but Rick's post
fiat volpes: Library Thing pushed me a little ahead.

It used to be that the first thing developers created with their databases were the local things that made them happy. One of my first mentors was introduced to FoxPro by building a hockey pool and come on - admit it - your music collection is likely in a FoxPro table somewhere.

But now, in 2006, it's expanding greatly. Open tools and databases like Ruby on Rails are making it easier and easier for developers to build online shareable databases.

Sure, Google introduced GoogleBase but many think it's just a way to compete with CraigsList. To be honest, I'm not that impressed with it.

But I AM impressed with DabbleDB.

No, it's likely not going to be the solution for mission critical tools but the ability to create online databases, share them, filter them and more takes the concepts found in Backpack and the other 37Signals stuff and then makes them THAT much more cool. I can create an online database in a few minutes and then share it with other users who can then read, write or even build their own (all security controlled).

What's even better? You can get a free account for a month to try it out. But even so, it's pricing isn't that bad - $5/month for 3 applications.

The terminology takes a bit to get used to:

Applications -> Databases
Categories -> Tables
Entries -> Rows

But the UI is really cool - they do have a video but I think I'll be doing my own soon
Now what's missing?

Reports - do you really need reports on an online database? Absolutely. but hey - it's got an XML feed which means all it will take is for a tool to read in the XML and then produce the necessary reports.

Performance - I haven't completed full tests on Dabble but will be soon.

Validation - it's hard to do custom rule validation but I'm sure that will be coming soon.

So now, you can build your databases and then share it directly over the web. Instantly.

Why isn't there a similar solution for FoxPro that uses West Wind, AFP or ActiveVFP being created?

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