Simon Willison

Simon Willison is an engineering director at Eventbrite, a Bay Area ticketing company working to bring the world together through live experiences.

Simon joined Eventbrite through their acquisition of Lanyrd, a Y Combinator funded company he co-founded in 2010. He is a co-creator of the Django Web Framework.

Simon is the creator of Datasette, a new tool for publishing structured data as a web API. Datasette is based on his experiences working as a data journalist at the UK's Guardian newspaper.

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How to instantly publish data to the internet with Datasette

AI & Data, Novice
8/19/2018 | 11:35 AM-12:20 PM | House Canary


Datasette is a new tool for publishing structured data to the internet, as both a browseable web interface and a flexible JSON API. Aimed at newspapers, cultural institutions and local governments, Datasette makes it easy to publish all kinds of data in a much more powerful format than traditional CSVs. This talk will teach you how to use Datasette and explore the philosophy behind the project.


Datasette provides an instant, read-only JSON API for any SQLite database. It also provides tools for packaging the database up as a Docker container and instantly deploying that container to a hosting provider.

This makes it a powerful tool for sharing interesting data online, in a way that allows users to both explore that data themselves and bulid their own interpretations of the data using the Datasette JSON API.

In this session I'll show you how to use Datasette to publish data, and illustrate examples of the exciting things people have already built using the tool. I'll show how Datasette's JSON API can be used to quickly build custom visualizations like

I'll also talk about the philosophy and design behind Datasette, including how immutable SQLite databases make for a surprisingly scalable solution for serving data on the internet.

Datasette is built using Python 3 asyncio, and I'll also be discussing some of the asyncio patterns I used to create the tool.