Welcome to โšกโ Electric Tables V0.1!

Public Prototype Release - Jan 26th, 2022
This is a little research project designed to experiment with structured data, the web as texture and publishing/authoring tables of data.

It's pretty simple. It looks like this: Electric Tables works by taking a URL, extracting some key data and adding it to a table.

It works by using a bookmarklet and local storage. So there's no login and no database in V0.1.

Simply click it on a page you want to save and you'll see something like this:

Notice how it extracts key information automatically? Neat. When we try it on a Target page for example notice how it grabs the price automatically?

Or, when we try it on a recipe page it grabs the ingredients automatically:

Try it yourself by dragging this bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar: + Electric Tables

Some notes

When a page is saved, it'll try and grab structured data from the page such as: Note, because of technical reasons (content security policies) some sites (e.g. Twitter, Airbnb) will add to Electric Tables, but in a new tab instead of using a pop-up.

If you find examples of pages that you'd like to extract data from shoot me a note, the code is very simple to add new data extraction rules!

A personal database

Electric Tables started as a lightning fast way to grab URLs and convert them into simple structured data. It's faster than copy and paste! It's faster than opening a spreadsheet!

Think use cases like making a list of potential birthday gifts, or a list of books to read.

However after building the prototype it becomes obvious that more robust storage is interesting. You might want to keep a table around for a long time. You might want to search across them. Kind of like a personal database for exploring URLs of all kinds.

So maybe the magic here is in extracting structured data, or maybe the magic is creating a searchable archive of URLs?

Why is this interesting? (is this interesting?)

I think there's something interesting here but it's also just a little prototype. You could easily imagine in the future:
  1. Saving items to an actual database, which opens up: login, sharing and collaborating on tables and more
  2. In particular once you have a server fetching the URLs you can beef up the scraping powers, re-crawl URLs etc
  3. Could this be a useful tool for *saving* AND publishing data? What if you can make a table available as a json endpoint?
  4. What about making it easier to add data in bulk - either pasting a list of URLs or fetching an API endpoint?
But I'm curious - what do YOU find interesting or compelling here?

Shoot me your thoughts (and screenshots of your Eletric Tables!)

Much love,
@tomcritchlow (DMs open).