I've been playing a little with Rails over the last week. This is the first time I really tried to build something I cared about in Rails as opposed to just running someone else's scripted tutorial. I'm having fun and I continue to be impressed with its power.
I've reversed roles in this endeavor--one of my grad students, Devlin Daley, has become the teacher and is kindly answering my questions so I don't end up stuck in too many places. Today he showed me a couple of screencasts of data-drive application builders that left me slack-jawed.
The first was Streamlined, a CRUD application framework that works on top of Rails to build data-driven applications with relationships (with Rails, you build all the relationship data later, after you generate the Rails scaffolding). Here's the screencast.
The second was dabbledb, an online data exploration application that anyone who's managed data in a spreadsheet would love. Importing data from a spreadsheet, you can incrementally build a relational model of the data. This is what everyone wishes Access was. Here's the screencast. One interesting note: I understand that dabbledb is written using Seaside, a SmallTalk-based application server with continuations. Cool...
Not too long ago applications ran on one machine and used custom data formats--if they used data at all. Now most interesting applications are connected to databases and usually online.