MIT’s Exhibit Continues the Simile Project’s Long String of Innovative Tools
According to its Web site:
“No Database, No Web Application” means that you can create your own exhibits using just a text editor. . . It’s quite easy to make exhibits. We even let you copy data straight out of a boring spreadsheet and convert it into an exhibit automatically. . . .
The advantages of Exhibit are as follows:
- No traditional database technology involved even though Exhibit-embedding web pages appear as if they are backed by databases. So you don’t have to design any database, configure it, and maintain it. After all, if you only have a few dozens of things to publish rather than thousands, why would you spend so much effort in dealing with database technologies?
- No server-side code required even though Exhibit-embedding web pages are heavily templated. So, there is no need to learn ASP, PHP, JSP, CGI, Velocity, etc. There is no need to worry which server-side scripting technology your hosting provider supports.
- No need for web server if you only want to create exhibits and keep them on your own computer for your own use. They work straight from the file system.
We also provide a complementary service called Babel that lets you convert data from various sources, including tab-separated values (copied straight from spreadsheets) and Bibtex files, into formats that Exhibit understands.
The Exhibit Web site offers a growing list of helpful tutorials and some live examples of database-related “exhibits,” one of which is this U.S. Presidents’ example that shows maps, timelines, thumbnails and other nifty displays (see the actual site for the interactive displays):
You can get Exhibit today and embed it in your own Web site (more on this to come!).
To learn more about the background to this project, please see the submitted paper, Exhibit: Lightweight Structured Data Publishing, submitted to WWW, 2007, by David Huynh, Robert Miller, and David Karger.
Gentlemen, on behalf of the community, let me say, “Thanks! Most excellent work!” It’s discoveries like these that make the Internet so worthwhile.