eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Dabble DB SAAS Database

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eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Dabble DB SAAS Database

by eWEEK Labs

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Creating a New Category

In Dabble DB parlance, tables are known as "categories." You begin your category building through cut and paste, importing from a Web source, or creating and populating fields by hand.

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The Data Set

I tested Dabble DB with NBA stats for my fantasy basketball league. The source I use comes formatted for fixed-width column import in Excel or Openoffice.org Calc.

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First Crack at an Import

I copied the data into Dabble DB, and I also tried importing via URL.

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Import Troubles

As I could see from the import preview, Dabble DB wasn't going to parse the fixed-width formatting correctly.

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Light Data Adjustment in Calc

I used OpenOffice.org Calc to whip my stats into shape for Dabble. I also could have written a script to strip out redundant spaces.

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Import Back on Track

Once massaged a bit, my data proved more palatable to Dabble DB, and I was able to check out (and correct, if needed) the service's automatic data type detection.

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Create a View

With my new category created, Dabble DB dropped me off at its view-creation interface, where all the real dabbling occurs.

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Derived Columns Made Easy

I clicked my way through the process of creating a bunch of derived columns that I needed in order to calculate my player rankings.

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Save Your View

Once you arrive at the views you desire, you must save before exporting your data in one of the RSS, Excel, CSV (comma-separated values), plain text or JSON formats that Dabble DB supports.

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Freshening Your Data

For future daily stats updates, I chose "new similar" from the Dabble DB import page to conduct an update operation using the same settings.

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Navigating Through Your Application

Dabble DB offers good facilities for sorting and filtering through your stored data, but the speed penalties associated with a Web application prompted me to use Dabble alongside my local spreadsheet, rather than in lieu of it.

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Editing Your Entries

I could step into my data to make changes, and Dabble's knack for sussing out list-based data types came in handy while editing data.

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Charting a Course

Dabble DB offers some facilities for visualizing your data. This bar chart is based on the player rating I used Dabble DB to help calculate.

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