Don't Forget to Plant It!

A Spreadsheet for the Web

No, I don’t mean a web-based version of Excel, but an application that does for live web data what the spreadsheet did for static cell data. This type of application is commonly referred to as the mashup editor, which there are a few of out there, but are more like the “IDE for the Web” than a spreadsheet.

A couple of days ago, I found Strata, which is an interesting contender in this space. From the website:

Kirix Strata is a new specialty browser for accessing and manipulating data from the web. View and work with data from web tables, CSV files and RSS feeds, integrate information from web services to create personal “desktop mashups,” browse and work with MySQL, Oracle and other databases.

It’s basically a browser that understands web data such as HTML tables and RSS, and allows you to link them to other sources of data, including databases and web services. Since it’s in beta, it is still very basic, but its upside is great; wrapping these capabilities in a browser allows a user to build an application more organically, which I can imagine will lead to some interesting results. There are some more functionality I would like to see:

  • Microformats support - it’ll be cool if it could suck up microformats or RDFs as data.
  • Easier Web API support - I’d like to be able access web APIs without having to jump into scripting. Maybe Strata can define a API spec standard, sort of like a WSDL (but not as cumbersome).
  • Some Support for ‘Mashable’ Websites - I like how the latest version of Flock auto-detects certain social networks, I wonder if Strata could leverage this as well.