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Querki is now in Open Beta -- come play!
querki
jducoeur
Howdy, all! Major milestone today: Querki has now officially transitioned from "closed" to "open" beta. In practice, that only means one change, but it's an important one: there is now a Sign up button on the Querki homepage. No more complicated invitations or anything like that -- you can now just sign up and start using it.

The standard question is "What's it for?" At the moment, I'm answering that in terms of the pain point we're solving:
Any time you are tempted to build a spreadsheet that isn't mostly numbers, you probably want Querki instead -- it's the right tool for the job.
That is, most non-numeric spreadsheets are really trying to be poor man's databases. And when they are very, very simple, that kind of works. But as soon as the number of rows gets to be more than a couple of screenfuls, or the data stops being one trivial grid of rows and columns, or you need interesting types like pictures or addresses, it starts to Suck. That's because spreadsheets really are mainly intended for juggling numbers; everything else is sort of trying to use a hammer to drive screws.

Querki, on the other hand, is totally designed for this: it was designed from the get-go to help individuals, communities and small businesses manage Small Data. Everybody's got Small Data they need to manage and collaborate on: problems that only involve hundreds or thousands of records, but which often get pretty complicated once you get going. Querki builds in all the "infrastructure" -- everything's in the cloud, available from your desktop, tablet or phone; everything is as secure as you tell it to make it; and everything's collaborative, so you can share with whoever you need to. You just tell it about the data, by designing a Model, and you're ready to go.

I have to caveat that there still isn't much hand-holding to teach you how to "think in data"; it's still somewhat challenging for non-technical users to build a Space, although it's fairly easy to use one that somebody else has built. If you do have some technical background, though, it's pretty easy to understand all the key concepts of Querki by analogy:
  • A Space is basically a database plus a website.

  • A Model is similar to a class (if you know object-oriented programming), a table (if you know databases) or a spreadsheet (if you know spreadsheets).

  • An Instance is roughly the same as an instance (in object-oriented programming), a record (in databases) or a row (in spreadsheets).

  • A Property is roughly the same as a property or field (in programming), or a column (in databases and spreadsheets).
There's vastly more -- I'll show off a few of the cool public Spaces in coming weeks -- but that's pretty much what you need to know in order to start creating useful Spaces. You create a Space; you design one or more Models that represent the data; you add Properties to those Models as needed; and you start creating Instances based on the Models. (And you Share with whoever you want to work with.)

So if this sounds like it might be useful to you, please come try it out. Send me comments, questions and bug reports. There is absolutely no such thing as a stupid question here: I need to know what isn't obvious, because those are by definition aspects that I need to work on.

Come have fun, and Welcome to Querki! And please, spread the word...
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