Blist: Awesome Web-based database

Blist launches a impressive Flash-based front end to its SQL database service.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Blist, launching today at Demo 2008, is a Web-based database with a very slick Flash interface running against a SQL backend. The user interface shields the complexity of the relational database underpinnings from the user, but some intriguing capabilities are exposed that you see neither in most other consumer-focused databases, nor in the quasidatabase that most users default to: Excel.

It's very easy to get started building a table in Blist. You just drag field types onto a spreadsheet-like grid. Data types include names, phones, URLs, and images. Fancy features include the capability to keep an arbitrary number of items in a record. For example, if you have a "phone number" field in your database, you can set it up so you can enter many numbers, or none, in each record. You don't have to create a field for "home" and "work" and "mobile" phone numbers and have a lot of blanks.

You can also create database forms with a nice on-screen designer, and filter your display of your database by using what Blist calls a "lens" of your file.

I didn't yet see a reporting feature. I would also like a way to create an embeddable data entry form widget I could embed elsewhere on the Web.

Of all the types of productivity applications, none are more suited to the Web than databases, since most databases, by nature, are multiuser. With Blist, it's easy to invite others to use the database and to get people working together.

Since Blist is a Flex/Flash Web application, I would expect to see it as a standalone application based on Air very soon.

As of this writing, the application is still in closed beta, but it should be opening up today. Definitely check it out.

Competes with: Filemaker, Access, DabbleDB, and many other database applications.

You won't see a slicker database applicaton online, and might not in ordinary software, either.