Paul Robertson's words, punctuated

Thoughts on development, user-centered design, code, etc. by Paul Robertson

A new (old) tool for AIR SQLite development

This is pretty much old news by internet time standards, but I haven’t had time to write about it until now. (We’re working hard to make future Flex/AIR/ActionScript/Flash documentation more focused on how you actually use documentation, better than ever before.)

A couple of years ago, before AIR beta 1 (“Apollo”), I wrote a tool for testing SQL statements in AIR. Later (I can’t remember exactly when) I released it under the name ”Doppler.” I had plans to make it a full-fledged database management tool, but those plans never really panned out. I’ve told this story lots of times now, about how I now use (and even help develop) David Deraedt’s “Lita” SQLite admin tool.

However, “Doppler” in its current form served a different need than Lita – Lita is great for creating and managing database structure (you’ll never have to write a CREATE TABLE statement again), but it isn’t as strong for testing individual SQL statements. Over the past several months I’ve been doing some “serious” app development, working on an AIR app that makes heavy use of SQLite. I found my little tool to be quite handy, and also found and implemented a number of small improvements that make it much more useful.

Since my original intentions were never going to come to fruition, and I had new future plans for the app, I decided a new name was in order. Since it is for running SQL statements, “run” was an easy and obvious choice. So now, (several weeks after posting it), allow me to officially introduce you to the Run! AIR SQL query authoring and testing tool – the next generation of Doppler.

If you look at the full feature list for the latest release, you’ll see that I’ve added several types of changes. A few of the ones that I’ve found most useful in my day-to-day work are:

  • Auto-update and badge install – no more downloading the .air file (admittedly not a big deal) and no more uninstall and reinstall each time there’s a new version (a big deal)
  • “Recent SQL files” and “Recent databases” menu items
  • Opening and saving SQL files (plus keyboard shortcuts)
  • “Row count” and “execution time” displayed for SELECT statements
  • Line numbers and auto-indent in the SQL panel

And yes, I did say “day-to-day” work. On some days, Run! has been my primary IDE, as I’m writing and testing and rewriting large SQL statements. It’s been kind of strange and kind of fun building a developer tool and using it as much as I use Run!.

I’ve already gotten a bug report and I’m working on features for the next big release, so if you have thoughts or comments please comment on the project page!