2
Wisecrack
231d

A year ago I built my first todo, not from a tutorial, but using basic libraries and nw.js, and doing basic dom manipulations.

It had drag n drop, icons, and basic saving and loading. And I was satisfied.

Since then I've been working odd jobs.

And today I've decided to stretch out a bit, and build a basic airtable clone, because I think I can.
And also because I hate anything without an offline option.

First thing I realized was I wasn't about to duplicate all the features of a spreadsheet from scratch. I'd need a base to work from.

I spent about an hour looking.
Core features needed would be trivial serialization or saving/loading.

Proper event support for when a cell, row, or column changed, or was selected. Necessary for triggering validation and serialization/saving.

Custom column types.

Embedding html in cells.

Reorderable columns

Optional but nice to have:

Changeable column width and row height.

Drag and drop on rows and columns.

Right click menu support out of the box.

After that hour I had a few I wanted to test.

And started looking at frameworks to support the SPA aspects.

Both mithril and riot have minimal router support. But theres also a ton of other leightweight frameworks and libraries worthy of prototyping in, solid, marko, svelte, etc.
I didn't want to futz with lots of overhead, babeling/gulping/grunting/webpacking or any complex configuration-over-convention.

Didn't care for dom vs shadow dom. Its a prototype not a startup.

And I didn't care to do it the "right way". Learning curve here was antithesis to experimenting. I was trying to get away from plugin, configuration-over-convention, astronaut architecture, monolithic frameworks, the works.

Could I import the library without five dozen dependancies and learning four different tools before getting to hello world?
"But if you know IJK then its quick to get started!", except I don't, so it won't. I didn't want that.

Could I get cheap component-oriented designs?

Was I managing complex state embedded in a monolith that took over the entire layout and conventions of my code, like the world balanced on the back of a turtle?

Did it obscure the dom and state, and the standard way of doing things or *compliment* those?

As for validation, theres a number of vanilla libraries, one of which treats validation similar to unit testing, which seems kinda novel.

For presentation and backend I could do NW.JS, which would remove some of the complications, by putting everything in one script. Or if I wanted to make it a web backend, and avoid writing it in something that ran like a potato strapped to a nuclear rocket (visual studio), I could skip TS and go with python and quart, an async variation of flask.
This has the advantage that using something thats *not* JS, namely python, for interacting with a proper database, and would allow self-hosting or putting it online so people can share data and access in real time with others.

And because I'm horrible, and do things the wrong way for convenience, I could use tailwind.
Because it pisses people off.

How easy (or hard) would it be to recreate a basic functional clone of the core of airtable?

I don't know, but I have feeling I'm going to find out!

Comments
  • 1
    Now neither a spreadsheet nor a todo lost might be impressive. But the latter made an impression on me because it was the first time Itruly got acquainted with the dom.

    Any case last night got the spreadsheet portion running. Need a basic validation system, basic type constraints, and basic saving and loading.

    Once I have those I'd like to add drop down support, where the options pull from either within the sheet, or another sheet of my choosing.

    Modal forms would be nice too.
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