Weeknotes: SBA Covid-19 PPP loans, Datasette talks, Datasette plugin upgrades
9th July 2020
This week I’ve mainly been exploring Small Business Administration Covid-19 loans data, pitching some talks and upgrading some plugins for compatibility with Datasette 0.44+.
SBA PPP Covid-19 loan data
On Monday the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department released detailed loan-level data for loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program as part of their Covid-19 response.
They released the data as a zip file full of CSVs on their Box account (the first time I’ve seen Box used for this kind of government data release).
The most interesting file in there was
foia_150k_plus.csv—a file containing 661,218 loans over $150,000. So I loaded it into Datasette and published it at https://sba-loans-covid-19.datasettes.com/loans_150k_plus/foia_150k_plus
My Twitter thread has more commentary on things I found exploring the data, and my sba-loans-covid-19-datasette GitHub repo describes the exact steps I went through to create the Datasette instance (using csvs-to-sqlite and sqlite-utils).
Pitching some talks
I haven’t done any public speaking in a while, and the pandemic means I’m not going to be giving any in-person talks for the forseeable future... so I spent some time pitching talks to remote events.
I’ll be speaking at Django London on July 14th and I have a few other submissions in the pipeline.
I’m also attending (virtually) the SRCCON journalism conference next week. They asked me to put together a short video introduction to Datasette, which I’ve embedded below. I’ll be hanging out and talking to anyone who’s interested in learning more about the project, or who can help me figure out what direction to take it next.
Datasette 0.44 broke some of my existing plugins due to a change in how it handles ASGI lifespan events. I’ve upgraded the following this week:
- datasette-configure-fts 1.0—a plugin for configuring which columns in a table are enabled for full-text search.
- datasette-edit-tables 0.2a—tools for renaming tables and adding columns. This isn’t particularly useful yet but I’m excited about its potential.
- datasette-media 0.3—a plugin for serving media from disk based on paths served out of the SQLite database.
- datasette-search-all 0.3—a plugin providing a mechanism for searching all FTS-enabled tables at once, discussed here previously.
sqlite-utils 2.11 is the first release of
sqlite-utils that was entirely written by someone else! Thomas Sibley added a new
--truncate option for emptying a table (safely within a transaction) before populating it and made an improvement to how transactions work generally.
Thomas inspired me to start thinking more carefully about how transactions should work with the library.
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