Sunday, July 13, 2014

Introducing Sieve

In February, I set out to solve a problem with client-side data visualization:  How can I get data from the web into a format that my graph can use?

The usual answer is to scrape all of the relevant fields, parse them somehow, and store them in a database, then set up some interface for the graph to consume.  For a lot of projects, this makes a lot of sense-- But it introduces a lot of moving parts.  I started to wonder if a database was even necessary for small, one-off graphs.

I spent a few days mashing up Node, Request, and JSONSelect into a kind of proxy-plus-filter.  This meant I didn't have to worry about cross origin issues, and I could strip out unnecessary fields.  Sieve was born, and it was actually useful!

Over the next two months, I added the ability to combine multiple requests into one, stream results back via Websocket, cache, parse, and generally expand the list of probable use cases.  

Several months later, I've used Sieve for all sorts of things.  Not just data visualization, but all kinds of client-side applications.  Sieve has become phenomenally useful for me, and I suspect it might be useful for all kinds of web programmers.  Try it!  I'd love to know what you think.

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