Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Datasette 0.45: The annotated release notes

Datasette 0.45, out today, features magic parameters for canned queries, a log out feature, improved plugin documentation and four new plugin hooks.

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Weeknotes: cookiecutter templates, better plugin documentation, sqlite-generate

I spent this week spreading myself between a bunch of smaller projects, and finally getting familiar with cookiecutter. I wrote about my datasette-plugin cookiecutter template earlier in the week; here’s what else I’ve been working on.

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datasette-block-robots. Another little Datasette plugin: this one adds a /robots.txt page with “Disallow: /” to block all indexing of a Datasette instance from respectable search engine crawlers. I built this in less than ten minutes from idea to deploy to PyPI thanks to the datasette-plugin cookiecutter template. # 23rd June 2020, 3:28 am

A cookiecutter template for writing Datasette plugins

Datasette’s plugin system is one of the most interesting parts of the entire project. As I explained to Matt Asay in this interview, the great thing about plugins is that Datasette can gain new functionality overnight without me even having to review a pull request. I just need to get more people to write them!

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Weeknotes: Datasette alphas for testing new plugin hooks

A relatively quiet week this week, compared to last week’s massive push to ship Datasette 0.44 with authentication, permissions and writable canned queries. I can now ship alpha releases, such as today’s Datasette 0.45a1, which means I can preview new plugin features before they are completely ready and stable.

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Datasette: A Developer, a Shower and a Data-Inspired Moment (via) Matt Asay interviewed me over Zoom last month. This captures a lot of my thinking around open source really well: “Datasette is aggressively open source for a bunch of reasons. Most of them are very selfish reasons.” # 18th June 2020, 11:32 pm

How much can you learn from just two columns?

Derek Willis shared an intriguing dataset this morning: a table showing every Twitter account followed by an official GOP congressional Twitter account.

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Datasette 0.44: The annotated release notes

I just released Datasette 0.44 to PyPI. With 128 commits since 0.43 this is the biggest release in a long time—and likely the last major release of new features before Datasette 1.0.

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Weeknotes, I guess

What a week. Hard to work up the enthusiasm to write about what I’ve been working on.

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Weeknotes: Datasette 0.43

My main achievement this week was shipping Datasette 0.43, with a collection of smaller improvements and one big one: a redesign of the register_output_renderer plugin hook.

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Serving photos locally with datasette-media. datasette-media is a new Datasette plugin which can serve static files from disk in response to a configured SQL query that maps incoming URL parameters to a path to a file. I built it so I could run dogsheep-photos locally on my laptop and serve up thumbnails of images that match particular queries. I’ve added documentation to the dogsheep-photos README explaining how to use datasette-media, datasette-json-html and datasette-template-sql to create custom interfaces onto Apple Photos data on your machine. # 26th May 2020, 3:53 pm

Using SQL to Look Through All of Your iMessage Text Messages (via) Dan Kelch shows how to access the iMessage SQLite database at ~/Library/Messages/chat.db—it’s protected under macOS Catalina so you have to enable Full Disk Access in the privacy settings first. I usually use the macOS terminal app but I installed iTerm for this because I’d rather enable full disk access to a separate terminal program than let anything I’m running in my regular terminal take advantage of it. It worked! Now I can run “datasette ~/Library/Messages/chat.db” to browse my messages. # 22nd May 2020, 4:45 pm

Using SQL to find my best photo of a pelican according to Apple Photos

According to the Apple Photos internal SQLite database, this is the most aesthetically pleasing photograph I have ever taken of a pelican:

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Weeknotes: Working on my screenplay

I’m taking an Introduction to Screenwriting course with Adam Tobin at Stanford, and my partial screenplay is due this week. I’m pulling together some scenes that tell the story of the Russian 1917 February Revolution and the fall of the Tsar through the lens of the craftsmen working on the Tsar’s last Fabergé egg. So I’ve not been spending much time on anything else.

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Datasette table diagram, now with a DOT graph (via) Thomas Ballinger shared a huge improvement to my Observable notebook for rendering a diagram of a collection of Datasette tables. He showed how to use the DOT language to render a full schema digram with arrows joining together the different tables. I’ve applied his changes to my notebook. # 8th May 2020, 3:23 am

Weeknotes: Datasette 0.41, photos breakthroughs

Shorter weeknotes this week, because my main project for the week warrants a detailed write-up on its own (coming soon... update 21st May here it is).

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How to install and upgrade Datasette using pipx (via) I’ve been using pipx to run Datasette for a while now—it’s a neat Python packaging tool which installs a Python CLI command with all of its dependencies in its own isolated virtual environment. Today, thanks to Twitter, I figured out how to install and upgrade plugins in the same environment—so I added a section to the Datasette installation documentation about it. # 4th May 2020, 7:23 pm

github-to-sqlite 2.2 highlights thread. I released github-to-sqlite 2.2 today with a new “stargazers” command for importing users who have starred one or more specific repositories. This Twitter thread lists highlights of recent releases and links to a live Datasette demo that shows what the tool can do. # 2nd May 2020, 10:16 pm

Weeknotes: Archiving coronavirus.data.gov.uk, custom pages and directory configuration in Datasette, photos-to-sqlite

I mainly made progress on three projects this week: Datasette, photos-to-sqlite and a cleaner way of archiving data to a git repository.

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Weeknotes: Datasette 0.40, various projects, Dogsheep photos

A new release of Datasette, two new projects and progress towards a Dogsheep photos solution.

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Using a self-rewriting README powered by GitHub Actions to track TILs

I’ve started tracking TILs—Today I Learneds—inspired by this five-year-and-counting collection by Josh Branchaud on GitHub (found via Hacker News). I’m keeping mine in GitHub too, and using GitHub Actions to automatically generate an index page README in the repository and a SQLite-backed search engine.

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Weeknotes: Hacking on 23 different projects

I wrote a lot of code this week: 184 commits over 23 repositories! I’ve also started falling for Zeit Now v2, having found workarounds for some of my biggest problems with it.

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datasette-clone

I released a fun little Datasette utility today: datasette-clone.

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Goodbye Zeit Now v1, hello datasette-publish-now—and talking to myself in GitHub issues

This week I’ve been mostly dealing with the finally announced shutdown of Zeit Now v1. And having long-winded conversations with myself in GitHub issues.

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Zeit Now v1 to sunset soon: no new deployments from 1st May, total shutdown 7th August. I posted a thread on Twitter with some thoughts. Zeit Now v1 remains the best hosting platform I’ve ever used given my particular tastes. They’ve handled the shutdown very responsibly, but I’m sad to see it go. # 4th April 2020, 5:32 am

Weeknotes: Covid-19, First Python Notebook, more Dogsheep, Tailscale

My covid-19.datasettes.com project publishes information on COVID-19 cases around the world. The project started out using data from Johns Hopkins CSSE, but last week the New York Times started publishing high quality USA county- and state-level daily numbers to their own repository. Here’s the change that added the NY Times data.

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Making Datasets Fly with Datasette and Fly (via) It’s always exciting to see a Datasette tutorial that wasn’t written by me! This one is great—it shows how to load Central Park Squirrel Census data into a SQLite database, explore it with Datasette and then publish it to the Fly hosting platform using datasette-publish-fly and datasette-cluster-map. # 26th March 2020, 11:56 pm

Weeknotes: Datasette 0.39 and many other projects

This week’s theme: Well, I’m not going anywhere. So a ton of progress to report on various projects.

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datasette-publish-fly (via) Fly is a neat new Docker hosting provider with a very tempting pricing model: Just $2.67/month for their smallest always-on instance, and they give each user $10/month in free credit. datasette-publish-fly is the first plugin I’ve written using the publish_subcommand plugin hook, which allows extra hosting providers to be added as publish targets. Install the plugin and you can run “datasette publish fly data.db” to deploy SQLite databases to your Fly account. # 19th March 2020, 3:40 am

Weeknotes: COVID-19 numbers in Datasette

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, gets more terrifying every day. Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) have been collating data about the spread of the disease and publishing it as CSV files on GitHub.

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