Simon Willison’s Weblog


Weeknotes number 100

19th September 2021

This entry marks my 100th weeknotes, which I’ve managed to post once a week (plus or minus a few days) consistently since 13th September 2019.

I started writing weeknotes to add some accountability to the work I was doing during my JSK fellowship year at Stanford. The fellowship ended over a year ago but I’ve stuck to the habit—I’ve been finding it really helpful as a structured approach to thinking about my work every week, and it occasionally helps motivate me to get things done enough that I have something I can write about!

Datasette Desktop 0.2.0

My big achievement this week was Datasette Desktop 0.2.0 (and the 0.2.1 patch release that followed). I published annotated release notes for that a few days ago. I’m really pleased with the release—I think Datasette as a desktop application is going to significantly increase the impact of the project.

I also sent out an issue of the Datasette Newsletter promoting the new desktop application.

Datasette Desktop for Windows

I did a quick research spike to investigate the feasibility of publishing a Windows version of Datasette Desktop. To my surprise, I managed to get a working prototype going with just half a small amount of work:

Electron claims to solve cross-platform development and it seems to uphold that claim pretty well!

I’m still quite a bit of work away from having a release: I need to learn how to build and sign Windows installers. But this is a very promising first step.


I’ve started thinking about how I can enable Datasette Desktop users to configure plugins without having to hand-edit plugin configuration JSON (the current mechanism).

This made me take another look at a small library I released a couple of years ago, json-flatten, which turns a nested JSON object into a set of flat key/value pairs suitable for editing using an HTML form and then unflattens that data later on.

>>> import json_flatten
>>> json_flatten.flatten({"foo": {"bar": [1, True, None]}})
{'[0]$int': '1', '[1]$bool': 'True', '[2]$none': 'None'}
>>> json_flatten.unflatten(_)
{'foo': {'bar': [1, True, None]}}

It turns out a few people have been using the library, and had filed issues—I released version 0.2 with a couple of fixes.

TIL this week

Releases this week