Simon Willison’s Weblog


25 items tagged “alex-garcia”


sqlite-jiff (via) I linked to the brand new Jiff datetime library yesterday. Alex Garcia has already used it for an experimental SQLite extension providing a timezone-aware jiff_duration() function - a useful new capability since SQLite's built in date functions don't handle timezones at all.

select jiff_duration(
) as result; -- returns 179.966

The implementation is 65 lines of Rust.

# 23rd July 2024, 3:53 am / sqlite, timezones, rust, alex-garcia

datasette-pins — a new Datasette plugin for pinning tables and queries. Alex Garcia built this plugin for Datasette Cloud, and as with almost every Datasette Cloud features we're releasing it as an open source package as well.

datasette-pins allows users with the right permission to "pin" tables, databases and queries to their homepage. It's a lightweight way to customize that homepage, especially useful as your Datasette instance grows to host dozens or even hundreds of tables.

# 9th May 2024, 6:29 pm / plugins, datasette, datasette-cloud, alex-garcia

I’m writing a new vector search SQLite Extension. Alex Garcia is working on sqlite-vec, a spiritual successor to his sqlite-vss project. The new SQLite C extension will have zero other dependencies (sqlite-vss used some tricky C++ libraries) and will work using virtual tables, storing chunks of vectors in shadow tables to avoid needing to load everything into memory at once.

# 3rd May 2024, 3:16 am / c, sqlite, vectors, alex-garcia, embeddings


datasette-plot—a new Datasette Plugin for building data visualizations. I forgot to link to this here last week: Alex Garcia released the first version of datasette-plot, a brand new Datasette visualization plugin built on top of the Observable Plot charting library. We plan to use this as the new, updated alternative to my older datasette-vega plugin.

# 31st December 2023, 5:04 am / plugins, visualization, datasette, observable, alex-garcia

Annotate and explore your data with datasette-comments. New plugin for Datasette and Datasette Cloud: datasette-comments, providing tools for collaborating on data exploration with a team through posting comments on individual rows of data.

Alex Garcia built this for Datasette Cloud but as with almost all of our work there it’s also available as an open source Python package.

# 30th November 2023, 9:59 pm / collaboration, projects, datasette, datasette-cloud, alex-garcia

Weeknotes: the Datasette Cloud API, a podcast appearance and more

Datasette Cloud now has a documented API, plus a podcast appearance, some LLM plugins work and some geospatial excitement.

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Geospatial SQL queries in SQLite using TG, sqlite-tg and datasette-sqlite-tg. Alex Garcia built sqlite-tg—a SQLite extension that uses the brand new TG geospatial library to provide a whole suite of custom SQL functions for working with geospatial data.

Here are my notes on trying out his initial alpha releases. The extension already provides tools for converting between GeoJSON, WKT and WKB, plus the all important tg_intersects() function for testing if a polygon or point overlap each other.

It’s pretty useful already. Without any geospatial indexing at all I was still able to get 700ms replies to a brute-force point-in-polygon query against 150MB of GeoJSON timezone boundaries stored as JSON text in a table.

# 25th September 2023, 7:45 pm / geospatial, gis, sqlite, geojson, datasette, alex-garcia, tg

Weeknotes: Embeddings, more embeddings and Datasette Cloud

Since my last weeknotes, a flurry of activity. LLM has embeddings support now, and Datasette Cloud has driven some major improvements to the wider Datasette ecosystem.

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Introducing datasette-litestream: easy replication for SQLite databases in Datasette. We use Litestream on Datasette Cloud for streaming backups of user data to S3. Alex Garcia extracted out our implementation into a standalone Datasette plugin, which bundles the Litestream Go binary (for the relevant platform) in the package you get when you run “datasette install datasette-litestream”—so now Datasette has a very robust answer to questions about SQLite disaster recovery beyond just the Datasette Cloud platform.

# 13th September 2023, 7:28 pm / plugins, sqlite, datasette, datasette-cloud, litestream, alex-garcia

Datasette 1.0a4 and 1.0a5, plus weeknotes

Two new alpha releases of Datasette, plus a keynote at WordCamp, a new LLM release, two new LLM plugins and a flurry of TILs.

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Introducing datasette-write-ui: a Datasette plugin for editing, inserting, and deleting rows. Alex García is working with me on Datasette Cloud for the next few months, graciously sponsored by Fly. We will be working in public, releasing open source code and documenting how to build a multi-tenant SaaS product using Fly Machines.

Alex’s first project is datasette-write-ui, a plugin that finally lets you directly edit data stored inside Datasette. Alex wrote about the plugin on our new Datasette Cloud blog.

# 16th August 2023, 1:48 am / plugins, datasette, datasette-cloud, fly, alex-garcia

sqlite-utils now supports plugins

Visit sqlite-utils now supports plugins

sqlite-utils 3.34 is out with a major new feature: support for plugins.

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sqlite-vss v0.1.1 Annotated Release Notes (via) Alex Garcia’s sqlite-vss adds vector search directly to SQLite through a custom extension. It’s now easily installed for Python, Node.js, Deno, Elixir, Go, Rust and Ruby (“gem install sqlite-vss”), and is being used actively by enough people that Alex is getting actionable feedback, including fixes for memory leaks spotted in production.

# 20th July 2023, 5:48 pm / sqlite, annotated-release-notes, alex-garcia

Making SQLite extensions npm install’able for Node.js, and on for Deno (via) Alex Garcia figured out how to get his “pip install X” trick for distributing compiled SQLite extensions to work for Node too! Now you can “npm install” 10 of his extensions, including sqlite-regex and sqlite-xsv and sqlite-http and sqlite-html and more, and attach them to a node-sqlite3 or better-sqlite3 connection. He’s bundled them for Deno too!

# 29th March 2023, 10:13 pm / node, sqlite, npm, deno, alex-garcia

Introducing sqlite-vss: A SQLite Extension for Vector Search (via) This latest SQLite extension from Alex Garcia is possibly his best yet: it adds FAISS-powered vector similarity search directly to SQLite, enabling fast KNN similarity lookups against a virtual table that feels a lot like SQLite’s own built-in full text search feature. This write-up includes interactive demos using Datasette called from an Observable notebook, running similarity searches against an index of 200,000 news headlines and summaries in less than 50ms.

# 10th February 2023, 10:53 pm / sqlite, datasette, observable, alex-garcia, vector-search

Making SQLite extensions pip install-able (via) Alex Garcia figured out how to bundle a compiled SQLite extension in a Python wheel (building different wheels for different platforms) and publish them to PyPI. This is a huge leap forward in terms of the usability of SQLite extensions, which have previously been pretty difficult to actually install and run. Alex also created Datasette plugins that depend on his packages, so you can now “datasette install datasette-sqlite-regex” (or datasette-sqlite-ulid, datasette-sqlite-fastrand, datasette-sqlite-jsonschema) to gain access to his custom SQLite extensions in your Datasette instance. It even works with “datasette publish --install” to deploy to Vercel, and Cloud Run.

# 6th February 2023, 7:44 pm / pip, plugins, python, sqlite, datasette, alex-garcia

sqlite-jsonschema. “A SQLite extension for validating JSON objects with JSON Schema”, building on the jsonschema Rust crate. SQLite and JSON are already a great combination—Alex suggests using this extension to implement check constraints to validate JSON columns before inserting into a table, or just to run queries finding existing data that doesn’t match a given schema.

# 28th January 2023, 3:50 am / json, jsonschema, sqlite, rust, alex-garcia

sqlite-ulid. Alex Garcia’s sqlite-ulid adds lightning-fast SQL functions for generating ULIDs—Universally Unique Lexicographically Sortable Identifiers. These work like UUIDs but are smaller and faster to generate, and can be canonically encoded as a URL-safe 26 character string (UUIDs are 36 characters). Again, this builds on a Rust crate—ulid-rs—and can generate 1 million byte-represented ULIDs with the ulid_bytes() function in just 88.4ms.

# 28th January 2023, 3:45 am / sqlite, uuid, rust, alex-garcia

sqlite-fastrand. Alex Garcia just dropped three new SQLite extensions, and I’m going to link to all of them. The first is sqlite-fastrand, which adds new functions for generating random numbers (and alphanumeric characters too). Impressively, these out-perform the default SQLite random() and randomblob() functions by about 1.6-2.6x, thanks to being built on the Rust fastrand crate which builds on wyhash, an extremely fast (though not cryptographically secure) hashing function.

# 28th January 2023, 3:41 am / sqlite, rust, alex-garcia

Introducing sqlite-xsv: The Fastest CSV Parser for SQLite. Alex Garcia continues to push the boundaries of SQLite extensions. This new extension in Rust wraps the lightning fast Rust csv crate and provides a new csv_reader() virtual table that can handle regular, gzipped and zstd compressed files.

# 14th January 2023, 9:54 pm / csv, sqlite, rust, alex-garcia, zstd


Introducing sqlite-loadable-rs: A framework for building SQLite Extensions in Rust. Alex Garcia has built a new Rust library for creating SQLite extensions—initially supporting custom scalar functions, virtual tables and table functions and with more types of extension coming soon. This looks very easy to use, partly because the documentation and examples are already delightfully thorough, especially for an initial release.

# 7th December 2022, 11:08 pm / sqlite, rust, alex-garcia

Introducing sqlite-http: A SQLite extension for making HTTP requests (via) Characteristically thoughtful SQLite extension from Alex, following his sqlite-html extension from a few days ago. sqlite-http lets you make HTTP requests from SQLite—both as a SQL function that returns a string, and as a table-valued SQL function that lets you independently access the body, headers and even the timing data for the request.

This write-up is excellent: it provides interactive demos but also shows how additional SQLite extensions such as the new-to-me “define” extension can be combined with sqlite-http to create custom functions for parsing and processing HTML.

# 10th August 2022, 10:22 pm / http, sqlite, alex-garcia

Introducing sqlite-html: query, parse, and generate HTML in SQLite (via) Another brilliant SQLite extension module from Alex Garcia, this time written in Go. sqlite-html adds a whole family of functions to SQLite for parsing and constructing HTML strings, built on the Go goquery and cascadia libraries. Once again, Alex uses an Observable notebook to describe the new features, with embedded interactive examples that are backed by a Datasette instance running in Fly.

# 3rd August 2022, 5:31 pm / go, html, sqlite, datasette, alex-garcia

Introducing sqlite-lines—a SQLite extension for reading files line-by-line (via) Alex Garcia wrote a brilliant C module for SQLIte which adds functions (and a table-valued function) for efficiently reading newline-delimited text into SQLite. When combined with SQLite’s built-in JSON features this means you can read a huge newline-delimited JSON file into SQLite in a streaming fashion so it doesn’t exhaust memory for a large file. Alex also compiled the extension to WebAssembly, and his post here is an Observable notebook post that lets you exercise the code directly.

# 30th July 2022, 7:18 pm / json, sqlite, observable, webassembly, alex-garcia


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 / javascript, datasette, observable, alex-garcia