Slight Run: Our Public Version of Slight
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The short version of this post: come try the free public version of our product at www.slight.run! It's not identical to our commercial product, but close enough to get a feel for it.
We find it frustratingly hard to tell what many B2B products actually do. You go to the trouble of getting through the sales calls, signing up for the trial, setting up your account, and connecting your databases, and then you can finally understand what you've put your time intoSidenote: In some cases, I still don't know what's going on at this stage.. The same problem exists for potential employees: it's hard to know what they'll be working on if they can't tell what the product does.
For both potential customers and potential employees, we've set up a free public version of our product. We've set up a bunch of open datasets — or you can upload your own — where people can create public data apps. You can share a lightly modified dataset with simple filtersSidenote: See how popular your name has been in the US over the years!, or perform complex time-to-event analysis within SQL. Or just browse some datasets and see where that takes you.
This public version runs on BigQuery, but Slight is not specific to any particular database or warehouse — or even to SQL.
Or Use It as a Public Data Tool — Or Teach!
Another benefit of our public data product: maybe you just want to share some interesting data publicly, or show off a cool SQL query. You don't have to care about our commercial product at allMargin note: Even in the best case for Slight, nearly eight billion people won't care either., the public product is useful by itself.
For sharing datasets, this is more convenient than Github or other hosting locations where it's hard to get a sense of the data (let alone see it in action) before going to the trouble of downloading it. Popping open a spreadsheet or importing the data into R or Python is great if it's the right data, but a bit annoying just to have a look. In Slight, along with all the documentation you can add to your data and columns, people can quickly preview your data or even run quick test queries on it.
With Slight, you can also share a fun query you wrote, adding parameters to let people use it as an app. Your friends can just run the app, regardless of their SQL knowledge, or they can get started with their own app, using yours as a template. Today, you can run the apps within the web UI — e.g. let people quickly check the most recent COVID numbers — or export them, but soon we'll let you import the app into Google Sheets, and our API is coming even sooner.
This public version can also be used for teaching. Students can share their apps right away and educators can make the example datasets and analysis available to students on-demand.
Not Exactly Like the Commerical Version
Slight Run will be part of the same codebase as our commercial product, but it'll always have a few differences.
First — it's all public! Data, apps, anything else.
Second — this public version will either get every new feature first, or never at all. The advantage of putting new features here is that it's low risk: you can try them out without worrying about company resources. It also allows for quick feedback, so we can make the product better. However, you won't see every feature. Insert and Update queries aren't as exciting on public dataSidenote: I'm not saying they're always exciting internally either, but at least they typically have a real business purpose. for example, and complex permissions and groups probably won't be as meaningful when everything is already open.
Basically, our goal with this is to let customers know what our Slight advantage isSidenote: Beyond mediocre puns with our company name of course., show potential employees what is it they'll be improving, build a fun and useful product for public data, and get quick feedback on new features.
In this post and in our current product, we're first focussed on apps using SQL. This still allows for spreadsheet work, a fully powered API with every app, edits to databases, and even machine learning if your data warehouse supports it. In the future, we'll also add support for Python, with all the same features supported.
Finally, you may be wondering why you can't graph results yet: we're getting there, but we first want to make sure our solution fits with our mission of meeting your team where they are. We also want it to be complementary to our upcoming Google Sheets integration, where many teams are already comfortable building quick visuals.
Finding Data you Care About
Right now, if you're not testing out Slight for your business but are just playing with it, you might not find any of the existing open datasets interesting enough to bother creating an app forSidenote: Similar to inserts and updates above, within a business this is not a problem, since at least in my experience, "too few business questions to answer" was never a pressing concern.. Totally understandable.
There are a few solutions. One is to wait — we'll be adding more in the future, and others will upload their own! Another is to upload some data if you have some to share. A third is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of some data we should add (or just an idea for some that would be cool).
Give It a Go!
We've had Slight Run in private beta for the last while, so we're very happy that it's now open. If you want to get started now, we have a doc on quickly creating an app . If you want to chat with us, we'd be more than happy to have you join our Slack community too.
We'd love to see what you make with Slight, and we'd especially love to hear what we can improve upon. Finally, if Slight sounds like it could be a good fit for your business, contact us by email or start your free trial, whichever you prefer.