Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Weeknotes: Still pretty distracted

Not a lot to report this week. U.S. politics continues to make it extremely difficult to focus on anything substantial.

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Weeknotes: datasette-export-notebook, PyInstaller packaged Datasette, CBSAs

What a terrible week. I’ve found it hard to concentrate on anything substantial. In a mostly futile attempt to distract myself from doomscrolling I’ve mainly been building some experimental output plugins, fiddling with PyInstaller and messing around with shapefiles.

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APIs from CSS without JavaScript: the datasette-css-properties plugin

I built a new Datasette plugin called datasette-css-properties. It’s very, very weird—it adds a .css output extension to Datasette which outputs the result of a SQL query using CSS custom property format. This means you can display the results of database queries using pure CSS and HTML, no JavaScript required!

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datasette-css-properties (via) My new Datasette plugin defines a “.css” output format which returns the data from the query as a valid CSS stylesheet defining custom properties for each returned column. This means you can build a page using just HTML and CSS that consumes API data from Datasette, no JavaScript required! Whether this is a good idea or not is left as an exercise for the reader. # 7th January 2021, 7:42 pm

Weeknotes: A flurry of not-quite-finished features

My Christmas present to myself this year was to allow myself to spend a week working on stuff I found interesting, rather than sticking to the most important things. This may have been a mistake: it’s left me with a flurry of interesting but not-quite-finished features.

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Replicating SQLite with rqlite (via) I’ve been trying out rqlite, a “lightweight, distributed relational database, which uses SQLite as its storage engine”. It’s written in Go and uses the Raft consensus algorithm to allow a cluster of nodes to elect a leader and replicate SQLite statements between them. By default it uses in-memory SQLite databases with an on-disk Raft replication log—here are my notes on running it in “on disk” mode as a way to run multiple Datasette processes against replicated SQLite database files. # 28th December 2020, 7:51 pm

Weeknotes: Datasette internals

I’ve been working on some fundamental changes to Datasette’s internal workings—they’re not quite ready for a release yet, but they’re shaping up in an interesting direction.

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Building a search engine for

This week I added a search engine to, using the search indexing tool I’ve been building for Dogsheep.

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This week I launched—the new official project website for Datasette.

[... 1956 words] (via) Datasette finally has an official project website, three years after the first release of the software. I built it using Datasette, with custom templates to define the various pages. The site includes news, latest releases, example sites and a new searchable plugin directory. # 11th December 2020, 4:11 am

Weeknotes: github-to-sqlite workflows, datasette-ripgrep enhancements, Datasette 0.52

This week: Improvements to datasette-ripgrep, github-to-sqlite and datasette-graphql, plus Datasette 0.52 and a flurry of dot-releases.

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New for AWS Lambda – Container Image Support. “You can now package and deploy Lambda functions as container images of up to 10 GB in size”—can’t wait to try this out with Datasette. # 1st December 2020, 5:34 pm

Datasette Weekly volume 4. Datasette Office Hours, Personal Data Warehouses, datasette-ripgrep, datasette-indieauth, Datasette Client for Observable and more. # 30th November 2020, 11:02 pm

Datasette Office Hours (via) I’ve decided to try running Datasette Office Hours every Friday. If you’d like to chat with me over Zoom about the project for 20 minutes for any reason at all you can grab a slot here using Calendly. # 30th November 2020, 11:01 pm

Datasette 0.52. A relatively small release—it has a new plugin hook (database_actions(), for adding links to a new database actions menu), renames the --config option to --setting and adds a new “datasette publish cloudrun --apt-get-install” option. # 29th November 2020, 12:56 am

datasette-ripgrep: deploy a regular expression search engine for your source code

This week I built datasette-ripgrep—a web application for running regular expression searches against source code, built on top of the amazing ripgrep command-line tool.

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Datasette Client for Observable (via) Really elegant piece of code design from Alex Garcia: DatasetteClient is a client library he built designed to work in Observable notebooks, which uses JavaScript tagged template literals to allow SQL query results to be executed against a Datasette instance and displayed as inline tables in a notebook, or used to return JSON data for further processing. His example notebook includes a neat d3 stacked area chart example built against a Datasette of congresspeople, plus examples using interactive widgets to update the Notebook. # 24th November 2020, 6:53 pm

Weeknotes: datasette-indieauth, datasette-graphql, PyCon Argentina

Last week’s weeknotes took the form of my Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data talk write-up, which represented most of what I got done that week. This week I mainly worked on datasette-indieauth, but I also gave a keynote at PyCon Argentina and released a version of datasette-graphql with a small security fix.

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datasette-graphql 1.2 (via) A new release of the datasette-graphql plugin, fixing a minor security flaw: previous versions of the plugin could expose the schema (but not the actual data) of tables in databases that were otherwise protected by Datasette’s permission system. # 21st November 2020, 10:21 pm

Implementing IndieAuth for Datasette

IndieAuth is a spiritual successor to OpenID, developed and maintained by the IndieWeb community and based on OAuth 2. This weekend I attended IndieWebCamp East Coast and was inspired to try my hand at an implementation. datasette-indieauth is the result, a new plugin which enables IndieAuth logins to a Datasette instance.

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Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data

I gave a talk yesterday about personal data warehouses for GitHub’s OCTO Speaker Series, focusing on my Datasette and Dogsheep projects. The video of the talk is now available, and I’m presenting that here along with an annotated summary of the talk, including links to demos and further information.

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Intent to Remove: HTTP/2 and gQUIC server push (via) The Chrome / Blink team announce their intent to remove HTTP/2 server push support, where servers can start pushing an asset to a client before it has been requested. It’s been in browsers for over five years now and adoption is terrible. “Over the past 28 days [...] 99.97% of connections never received a pushed stream that got matched with a request [...] These numbers are exactly the same as in June 2019”. Datasette serves redirects with Link: preload headers that cause smart proxies (like Cloudflare) to push the redirected page to the client along with the redirect, but I don’t exepect to miss that optimization if it quietly stops working. # 12th November 2020, 1:44 am

Datasette 0.51 (plus weeknotes)

I shipped Datasette 0.51 today, with a new visual design, plugin hooks for adding navigation options, better handling of binary data, URL building utility methods and better support for running Datasette behind a proxy. It’s a lot of stuff! Here are the annotated release notes.

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Weeknotes: incremental improvements

I’ve been writing my talk for PyCon Argentina this week, which has proved surprisingly time consuming. I hope to have that wrapped up soon—I’m pre-recording it, which it turns out is much more work than preparing a talk to stream live.

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OCTO Speaker Series: Simon Willison—Personal Data Warehouses: Reclaiming Your Data. I’m giving a talk in the GitHub OCTO (Office of the CTO) speaker series about Datasette and my Dogsheep personal analytics project. You can register for free here—the stream will be on Thursday November 12, 2020 at 8:30am PST (4:30pm GMT). # 23rd October 2020, 3 am

Dogsheep: Personal analytics with Datasette. The second edition of my new Datasette Weekly newsletter, talks about Dogsheep, Dogsheep Beta, Datasette 1.0 and features datasette-cluster-map as the plugin of the week. # 19th October 2020, 4:38 pm

Weeknotes: evernote-to-sqlite, Datasette Weekly, scrapers, csv-diff, sqlite-utils

This week I built evernote-to-sqlite (see Building an Evernote to SQLite exporter), launched the Datasette Weekly newsletter, worked on some scrapers and pushed out some small improvements to several other projects.

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Building an Evernote to SQLite exporter

I’ve been using Evernote for over a decade, and I’ve long wanted to export my data from it so I can do interesting things with it.

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evernote-to-sqlite (via) The latest tool in my Dogsheep series of utilities for personal analytics: evernote-to-sqlite takes Evernote note exports en their ENEX XML format and loads them into a SQLite database. Embedded images are loaded into a BLOB column and the output of their cloud-based OCR system is added to a full-text search index. Notes have a latitude and longitude which means you can visualize your notes on a map using Datasette and datasette-cluster-map. # 12th October 2020, 12:38 am