Simon Willison’s Weblog


391 items tagged “projects”

Posts about projects I have worked on.


datasette-python. I just released a small new plugin for Datasette to assist with debugging. It adds a python subcommand which runs a Python process in the same virtual environment as Datasette itself.

I built it initially to help debug some issues in Datasette installed via Homebrew. The Homebrew installation has its own virtual environment, and sometimes it can be useful to run commands like pip list in the same environment as Datasette itself.

Now you can do this:

brew install datasette
datasette install datasette-python
datasette python -m pip list

I built a similar plugin for LLM last year, called llm-python - it's proved useful enough that I duplicated the design for Datasette.

# 12th July 2024, 11:17 pm / projects, datasette, python, plugins

Box shadow CSS generator (via) Another example of a tiny personal tool I built using Claude 3.5 Sonnet and artifacts. In this case my prompt was:

CSS for a slight box shadow, build me a tool that helps me twiddle settings and preview them and copy and paste out the CSS

I changed my mind half way through typing the prompt and asked it for a custom tool, and it built me this!

Box shadow CSS generator. Shows a preview, then provides sliders to set Horizontal Offset, Vertical Offset, Blur Radius,  Spread Radius,  Color and Opacity - plus the generated CSS and a Copy to Clipboard button

Here's the full transcript - in a follow-up prompt I asked for help deploying it and it rewrote the tool to use <script type="text/babel"> and the babel-standalone library to add React JSX support directly in the browser - a bit of a hefty dependency (387KB compressed / 2.79MB total) but I think acceptable for this kind of one-off tool.

Being able to knock out tiny custom tools like this on a whim is a really interesting new capability. It's also a lot of fun!

# 8th July 2024, 7:30 pm / css, anthropic, claude, generative-ai, projects, ai, llms

Chrome Prompt Playground. Google Chrome Canary is currently shipping an experimental on-device LLM, in the form of Gemini Nano. You can access it via the new API, after first enabling the "Prompt API for Gemini Nano" experiment in chrome://flags (and then waiting an indeterminate amount of time for the ~1.7GB model file to download - I eventually spotted it in ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome Canary/OptGuideOnDeviceModel).

I got Claude 3.5 Sonnet to build me this playground interface for experimenting with the model. You can execute prompts, stream the responses and all previous prompts and responses are stored in localStorage.

Animated GIF demo. The prompt is Show two greetings each in French and Spanish - on clicking the button the result streams in:  French Bonjour! Bienvenue!, Spanish Hola!, Bienvenido! Scrolling down reveals the stored history, and clicking delete on that prompt removes it from the page.

Here's the full Sonnet transcript, and the final source code for the app.

The best documentation I've found for the new API is is explainers-by-googlers/prompt-api on GitHub.

# 3rd July 2024, 5:11 pm / generative-ai, projects, chrome, ai, llms, gemini, google, claude

Compare PDFs. Inspired by this thread on Hacker News about the C++ diff-pdf tool I decided to see what it would take to produce a web-based PDF diff visualization tool using Claude 3.5 Sonnet.

It took two prompts:

Build a tool where I can drag and drop on two PDF files and it uses PDF.js to turn each of their pages into canvas elements and then displays those pages side by side with a third image that highlights any differences between them, if any differences exist

That give me a React app that didn't quite work, so I followed-up with this:

rewrite that code to not use React at all

Which gave me a working tool! You can see the full Claude transcript plus screenshots of the tool in action in this Gist.

Being able to knock out little custom interactive web tools like this in a couple of minutes is so much fun.

# 2nd July 2024, 7:54 pm / projects, pdf, claude, llms, anthropic

New blog feature: Support for markdown in quotations. Another incremental improvement to my blog. I've been collecting quotations here since 2006 - I now render them using Markdown (previously they were just plain text). Here's one example. The full set of 920 (and counting) quotations can be explored using this search filter.

# 24th June 2024, 3:51 pm / projects, markdown, blogging

Datasette 0.64.8. A very small Datasette release, fixing a minor potential security issue where the name of missing databases or tables was reflected on the 404 page in a way that could allow an attacker to present arbitrary text to a user who followed a link. Not an XSS attack (no code could be executed) but still a potential vector for confusing messages.

# 21st June 2024, 11:48 pm / security, releases, datasette, projects

Building search-based RAG using Claude, Datasette and Val Town

Visit Building search-based RAG using Claude, Datasette and Val Town

Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) is a technique for adding extra “knowledge” to systems built on LLMs, allowing them to answer questions against custom information not included in their training data. A common way to implement this is to take a question from a user, translate that into a set of search queries, run those against a search engine and then feed the results back into the LLM to generate an answer.

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llm-claude-3 0.4. LLM plugin release adding support for the new Claude 3.5 Sonnet model:

pipx install llm
llm install -U llm-claude-3
llm keys set claude
# paste AP| key here
llm -m claude-3.5-sonnet \
  'a joke about a pelican and a walrus having lunch'

# 20th June 2024, 11:04 pm / llm, anthropic, claude, generative-ai, projects, ai, llms

Weeknotes: Datasette Studio and a whole lot of blogging

Visit Weeknotes: Datasette Studio and a whole lot of blogging

I’m still spinning back up after my trip back to the UK, so actual time spent building things has been less than I’d like. I presented an hour long workshop on command-line LLM usage, wrote five full blog entries (since my last weeknotes) and I’ve also been leaning more into short-form link blogging—a lot more prominent on this site now since my homepage redesign last week.

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Tags with descriptions. Tiny new feature on my blog: I can now add optional descriptions to my tag pages, for example on datasette and sqliteutils and promptinjection.

I built this feature on a live call this morning as an unplanned demonstration of GitHub's new Copilot Workspace feature, where you can run a prompt against a repository and have it plan, implement and file a pull request implementing a change to the code.

My prompt was:

Add a feature that lets me add a description to my tag pages, stored in the database table for tags and visible on the /tags/x/ page at the top

It wasn't as compelling a demo as I expected: Copilot Workspace currently has to stream an entire copy of each file it modifies, which can take a long time if your codebase includes several large files that need to be changed.

It did create a working implementation on its first try, though I had given it an extra tip not to forget the database migration. I ended up making a bunch of changes myself before I shipped it, listed in the pull request.

I've been using Copilot Workspace quite a bit recently as a code explanation tool - I'll prompt it to e.g. "add architecture documentation to the README" on a random repository not owned by me, then read its initial plan to see what it's figured out without going all the way through to the implementation and PR phases. Example in this tweet where I figured out the rough design of the Jina AI Reader API for this post.

# 18th June 2024, 4:50 pm / llms, generative-ai, projects, ai, github, blogging

Language models on the command-line

Visit Language models on the command-line

I gave a talk about accessing Large Language Models from the command-line last week as part of the Mastering LLMs: A Conference For Developers & Data Scientists six week long online conference. The talk focused on my LLM Python command-line utility and ways you can use it (and its plugins) to explore LLMs and use them for useful tasks.

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PDF to Podcast (via) At first glance this project by Stephan Fitzpatrick is a cute demo of a terrible sounding idea... but then I tried it out and the results are weirdly effective. You can listen to a fake podcast version of the transformers paper, or upload your own PDF (with your own OpenAI API key) to make your own.

It's open source (Apache 2) so I had a poke around in the code. It gets a lot done with a single 180 line Python script.

When I'm exploring code like this I always jump straight to the prompt - it's quite long, and starts like this:

Your task is to take the input text provided and turn it into an engaging, informative podcast dialogue. The input text may be messy or unstructured, as it could come from a variety of sources like PDFs or web pages. Don't worry about the formatting issues or any irrelevant information; your goal is to extract the key points and interesting facts that could be discussed in a podcast. [...]

So I grabbed a copy of it and pasted in my blog entry about WWDC, which produced this result when I ran it through Gemini Flash using llm-gemini:

cat prompt.txt | llm -m gemini-1.5-flash-latest

Then I piped the result through my ospeak CLI tool for running text-to-speech with the OpenAI TTS models (after truncating to 690 tokens with ttok because it turned out to be slightly too long for the API to handle):

llm logs --response | ttok -t 690 | ospeak -s -o wwdc-auto-podcast.mp3

And here's the result (3.9MB 3m14s MP3).

It's not as good as the PDF-to-Podcast version because Stephan has some really clever code that uses different TTS voices for each of the characters in the transcript, but it's still a surprisingly fun way of repurposing text from my blog. I enjoyed listening to it while I was cooking dinner.

# 13th June 2024, 1:03 am / gemini, text-to-speech, openai, ai, podcasts, llms, generative-ai, projects, pdf

Datasette 0.64.7. A very minor dot-fix release for Datasette stable, addressing this bug where Datasette running against the latest version of SQLite - 3.46.0 - threw an error on canned queries that included :named parameters in their SQL.

The root cause was Datasette using a now invalid clever trick I came up with against the undocumented and unstable opcodes returned by a SQLite EXPLAIN query.

I asked on the SQLite forum and learned that the feature I was using was removed in this commit to SQLite. D. Richard Hipp explains:

The P4 parameter to OP_Variable was not being used for anything. By omitting it, we make the prepared statement slightly smaller, reduce the size of the SQLite library by a few bytes, and help sqlite3_prepare() and similar run slightly faster.

# 12th June 2024, 10:55 pm / projects, d-richard-hipp, datasette, sqlite, annotated-release-notes

Weeknotes: PyCon US 2024

Earlier this month I attended PyCon US 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I gave an invited keynote on the Saturday morning titled “Imitation intelligence”, tying together much of what I’ve learned about Large Language Models over the past couple of years and making the case that the Python community has a unique opportunity and responsibility to help try to nudge this technology in a positive direction.

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AI counter app from my PyCon US keynote. In my keynote at PyCon US this morning I ran a counter at the top of my screen that automatically incremented every time I said the words "AI" or "artificial intelligence", using vosk, pyaudio and Tkinter. I wrote it in a few minutes with the help of GPT-4o - here's the code I ran as a GitHub repository.

I'll publish full detailed notes from my talk once the video is available on YouTube.

# 18th May 2024, 3:49 pm / pycon, projects, ai, llms

llm-gemini 0.1a4. A new release of my llm-gemini plugin adding support for the Gemini 1.5 Flash model that was revealed this morning at Google I/O.

I'm excited about this new model because of its low price. Flash is $0.35 per 1 million tokens for prompts up to 128K token and $0.70 per 1 million tokens for longer prompts - up to a million tokens now and potentially two million at some point in the future. That's 1/10th of the price of Gemini Pro 1.5, cheaper than GPT 3.5 ($0.50/million) and only a little more expensive than Claude 3 Haiku ($0.25/million).

# 14th May 2024, 8:32 pm / gemini, llm, generative-ai, projects, ai, google-io, llms

LLM 0.14, with support for GPT-4o. It's been a while since the last LLM release. This one adds support for OpenAI's new model:

llm -m gpt-4o "fascinate me"

Also a new llm logs -r (or --response) option for getting back just the response from your last prompt, without wrapping it in Markdown that includes the prompt.

Plus nine new plugins since 0.13!

# 13th May 2024, 9 pm / llm, projects, generative-ai, openai, ai, llms

Ham radio general exam question pool as JSON. I scraped a pass of my Ham radio general exam this morning. One of the tools I used to help me pass was a Datasette instance with all 429 questions from the official question pool. I've published that raw data as JSON on GitHub, which I converted from the official question pool document using an Observable notebook.

Relevant TIL: How I studied for my Ham radio general exam.

# 11th May 2024, 7:16 pm / datasette, radio, projects, observable, json, ham-radio

Weeknotes: more datasette-secrets, plus a mystery video project

Visit Weeknotes: more datasette-secrets, plus a mystery video project

I introduced datasette-secrets two weeks ago. The core idea is to provide a way for end-users to store secrets such as API keys in Datasette, allowing other plugins to access them.

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Blogmarks that use markdown. I needed to attach a correction to an older blogmark (my 20-year old name for short-form links with commentary on my blog) today - but the commentary field has always been text, not HTML, so I didn't have a way to add the necessary link.

This motivated me to finally add optional Markdown support for blogmarks to my blog's custom Django CMS. I then went through and added inline code markup to a bunch of different older posts, and built this Django SQL Dashboard to keep track of which posts I had updated.

# 25th April 2024, 4:34 am / projects, django-sql-dashboard, markdown, blogging

Weeknotes: Llama 3, AI for Data Journalism, llm-evals and datasette-secrets

Visit Weeknotes: Llama 3, AI for Data Journalism, llm-evals and datasette-secrets

Llama 3 landed on Thursday. I ended up updating a whole bunch of different plugins to work with it, described in Options for accessing Llama 3 from the terminal using LLM.

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Options for accessing Llama 3 from the terminal using LLM

Visit Options for accessing Llama 3 from the terminal using LLM

Llama 3 was released on Thursday. Early indications are that it’s now the best available openly licensed model—Llama 3 70b Instruct has taken joint 5th place on the LMSYS arena leaderboard, behind only Claude 3 Opus and some GPT-4s and sharing 5th place with Gemini Pro and Claude 3 Sonnet. But unlike those other models Llama 3 70b is weights available and can even be run on a (high end) laptop!

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llm-gpt4all. New release of my LLM plugin which builds on Nomic's excellent gpt4all Python library. I've upgraded to their latest version which adds support for Llama 3 8B Instruct, so after a 4.4GB model download this works:

llm -m Meta-Llama-3-8B-Instruct "say hi in Spanish"

# 20th April 2024, 5:58 pm / nomic, llm, plugins, projects, generative-ai, ai, llms, llama, homebrew-llms

llm-reka. My new plugin for running LLM prompts against the Reka family of API hosted LLM models: reka-core ($10 per million input), reka-flash (80c per million) and reka-edge (40c per million).

All three of those models are trained from scratch by a team that includes several Google Brain alumni.

Reka Core is their most powerful model, released on Monday 15th April and claiming benchmark scores competitive with GPT-4 and Claude 3 Opus.

# 18th April 2024, 3:17 am / llm, generative-ai, projects, ai, llms

AI for Data Journalism: demonstrating what we can do with this stuff right now

Visit AI for Data Journalism: demonstrating what we can do with this stuff right now

I gave a talk last month at the Story Discovery at Scale data journalism conference hosted at Stanford by Big Local News. My brief was to go deep into the things we can use Large Language Models for right now, illustrated by a flurry of demos to help provide starting points for further conversations at the conference.

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Three major LLM releases in 24 hours (plus weeknotes)

Visit Three major LLM releases in 24 hours (plus weeknotes)

I’m a bit behind on my weeknotes, so there’s a lot to cover here. But first... a review of the last 24 hours of Large Language Model news. All times are in US Pacific on April 9th 2024.

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Extracting data from unstructured text and images with Datasette and GPT-4 Turbo. Datasette Extract is a new Datasette plugin that uses GPT-4 Turbo (released to general availability today) and GPT-4 Vision to extract structured data from unstructured text and images.

I put together a video demo of the plugin in action today, and posted it to the Datasette Cloud blog along with screenshots and a tutorial describing how to use it.

# 9th April 2024, 11:03 pm / datasette-cloud, openai, gpt4, ai, llms, datasette, generative-ai, projects, vision-llms

Building files-to-prompt entirely using Claude 3 Opus

Visit Building files-to-prompt entirely using Claude 3 Opus

files-to-prompt is a new tool I built to help me pipe several files at once into prompts to LLMs such as Claude and GPT-4.

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datasette-import. A new plugin for importing data into Datasette. This is a replacement for datasette-paste, duplicating and extending its functionality. datasette-paste had grown beyond just dealing with pasted CSV/TSV/JSON data—it handles file uploads as well now—which inspired the new name.

# 6th April 2024, 10:40 pm / projects, datasette, plugins

s3-credentials 0.16. I spent entirely too long this evening trying to figure out why files in my new supposedly public S3 bucket were unavailable to view. It turns out these days you need to set a PublicAccessBlockConfiguration of {"BlockPublicAcls": false, "IgnorePublicAcls": false, "BlockPublicPolicy": false, "RestrictPublicBuckets": false}.

The s3-credentials --create-bucket --public option now does that for you. I also added a s3-credentials debug-bucket name-of-bucket command to help figure out why a bucket isn't working as expected.

# 5th April 2024, 5:35 am / s3-credentials, projects, s3, aws