Heroku has spiffed up the Postgres Dataclips service to make it easier for developers to collaborate via Google Docs and to share, use or discard Data Clips as needed without risking the underlying database.
The Platform as a Service provider launched Dataclips launched a year ago as a way to let users share their SQL queries by simply sending a URL.
The new-and-improved Dataclips 2.0 now lets developers share, chart and build dashboards for their database applications on a shared Google Doc that gets live updates to the underlying data. As GigaOM’s Derrick Harris reported last year, Heroku’s aptly named Fork tool already let developers fork their database, or copy it fast so they can play with the copy without impacting the production database. Data Clips 2.0 now allows them to do the same thing with their queries.
“In the same way that you can fork your database, use it and throw it away — [now you can] by browsing Data Clips within the dashboard … you can find other reports, fork them and then modify them to suit your own needs,” Craig Kerstiens, “product guy” at Heroku, told me via email.
In addition, Dataclips 2.0 gives access to the resulting database reports to people who don’t necessarily have access to the source database. “This allows your data to flow freely within an organization without being trapped with developers. Developers can create reports and share the live results, but then have fully ability to remove access in the future by simply removing access,” Kerstiens added.
And, with Dataclips 2.0, this capability is available to all users of Heroku’s Postgres service, whereas the previous version was only open to users of Heroku’s production tier databases which start at $50 per month.
The availability of tools like Fork and Dataclips reflect the growing desire of business users to really drill down into their data without having to worry about screwing it up. the pattern in enterprises is for database admins to run reports against their database on a scheduled basis. Then people send around related spreadsheets of the data and things can get messy. More importantly, things like Dataclips let database admins keep the keys to the underlying database to themselves.
“The last thing they want is someone hitting the database at an inopportune time or worse, screwing around with the database itself,” said Stephen O’Grady, principal analyst at Redmonk.