Data Pipes - macOS app that simplifies working with data without programming. Early-stage testers needed!


I have been working on the Data Pipes app for the last couple of months, the app was inspired by QuartzComposer that introduced me to the idea of flow-based programming (you know blocks and wires connecting them). I always wanted to use this approach to something else than graphics… hence data. Here is a short video showing Data Pipes in action:

My dream for Data Pipes is to create an app that makes it quick and easy for non-coders to create, transform, and use data in their work - without writing a single line of code.
I miss the good old days of mac native apps solving unique problems with visual way - something that was macOS hallmark for ages - hope to change this a bit too.

The app is still in an early stage, which means the main focus now is on enabling you to play with it and share feedback with me.

If you think it’s worth your attention, please join alpha testers at


Looks very interesting – have subscribed/signed up.

The interface reminds me of the Alfred workflow builder, which is not a bad thing at all.
Good luck with the endeavour!


Thanks @BradG
I guess all workflow oriented UI is more/less similar (boxes + lines), the open question here is will that approach help us improve the way we deal with data…
PS: all feedback is highly appreciated!

what is the potential business model?

Thanks for asking, nothing really fancy here - I see Data Pipes as a standalone desktop app, probably following Sketch footsteps in the licensing scheme. Further down the line maybe with the option to deploy flow in the cloud.

Cool…I just signed up…watched the video & I wish the JSON processing were native in Alfred.

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How did you build the UI for this - the nodes and arcs?

Don’t know if I understand you question correctly, it basically custom drawn cocoa views.

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Downloaded it and it looks pretty neat. The interface is really well done and performant. It’s an easy and interesting approach to serve JSON, but right now I don’t know a specific use case.

What do you use it for?

For most my needs in web development the framework I use have random user generators or packages for that.

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It needs CSV sources and more descriptive statistics to be more useful for me.


Looks interesting. Signed up to try.

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@leo thanks for your kind words!

My original idea for was an app that will drastically simplify dealing with REST APIs. Most of them are pretty basic on the surface - you make an HTTP call and get the result - JSON mostly. I would love to have a tool allowing me to utilize those endpoints by getting the data, maybe selecting some part of it, and then act on it - eg. serve locally for a designed prototype, maybe mock existing service, augment data with extra fields etc.

Imagine you are designing a new music player - how nice would be to connect it with your real Spotify playlists etc, without writing a throwaway-code only to make your prototype or MVP more real - and all of that by dragging wires between blocks… On top of that it would be nice to have some of ETL toolkit too - handling CSV, transform data formats etc.

What do you think?

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Definitely on my TODO list too!

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I would love to get feedback!

Sounds interesting. :thinking:

One use case besides mocking up an app would be to basically act as a local REST API to an SQLite data base stored on your device.
That would actually open up the possibility to send data off from a simple Shortcut on iOS to your local machine.

Maybe add basic API key generation or auth and HTTPS on top and you could theoretically open that port up on your local firewall and even access your database from the outside, if the mac is always on or can be woken up via WOL. :thinking:

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Let me think for a second :face_with_monocle: … what is the problem we are trying to address here? Saving data gathered in Shortcut app on iOS in some external place or saving this data directly on your machine? Why SQLite?

Maybe you have something more specific here in mind (eg. what kind of data/what does the shortcut do etc)?

I like the idea of this as an Excel alternative — the thing that has always driven me insane with spreadsheets is the fact that all the connections are hidden inside the cells, making it tricky to return to work after months away and figure out what everything did.

I’ve switched to using R which allows one to more transparently figure out what’s going on, but which also has its own challenges and is probably overkill for a lot of users.

So I think there’s a niche for this product.

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@dfay thanks for opinion - I also hope that this more visual approach will work IRL

Some of the Shortcut workflows have become quite elaborate. I’d go so far that they are replicating app-like functionality. A lot of the apps that I use daily are nothing more than fancy front ends to essentially spread shets.

You could create a simple coffee logger or even your own toggle timer alternative entirely with just Shortcuts on iOS. However, unless you either write everything to files in some cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud) or use DataJar locally on the phone, where it is then essentially stuck in a silo, because you can’t sync to a self-hosted API, a cloud provider or your local machine.

(To be fair, the original idea for DataJar was sent to Simon by me on this forum via PM. I wasn’t even invited to the beta of DataJar and never got a response from him.)

Anyhow, it would be nice to be able to get the data off of the phone. SQLite, because you get the benefit of a relational database, but it only requires the local machine and its filesystem. It is also very portable. Just take the files and throw them in a different directory. No complex migrations or hefty imports. For such small uses cases the performance is more than sufficient.
You could easily implement logic that skips over duplicates without a complex sync logic.

I mean, you could also send a lot of JSON back and forth and parse it, but if you write logic to export your health data for example, with thousands of entry points per hour, that would quickly impact performance.

It’s just a piece of thought :slight_smile:
It could offer a privacy centered, locally hosted, easily accessible backend API to Shortcuts. And anything Shortcuts will be quite hyped :smiley:

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:+1: that is exactly what I love in that kind of conversation - I’m not using Shortcuts at all thus was blind to this set of use-cases. Now when you’ve shown me the way I’m kind of blow away how popular shortcuts are (despite all the clumsiness of the programming model there).
So once again thank you sir! :pray:

Circling back to the original problem - pls remember about my embryonic shortcuts-fu - why don’t use one of the myriads backend-as-a-service platforms to store data from shortcuts?

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