Back in August 2014, D4 launched an experimental product named sqlizer.io. The idea was simple: sqlizer.io would be an easy to use tool that helps people to migrate data into databases, by converting data files into SQL scripts.
When we launched it, we had no idea whether it would be useful, but it’s been a huge success.
The traffic for sqlizer.io has grown steadily since its launch, and today, it converts over 10,000 Excel, CSV, JSON and XML files into SQL every month.
Just over half (50.53%) of the files we convert are Excel spreadsheets. One third (33.63%) are CSV files, and around 11% are JSON files.
JSON is the new kid on the data file block, but its influence is growing. The number of JSON files we convert has been going up more rapidly than any other, since we added JSON support back in December 2014.
I think sqlizer.io’s success comes down to the fact that it takes quite a complicated job, and makes it seem quite simple. We took that view early on that we mustn’t ask the user for any piece of information that we could work out from the file itself.
So, for example, sqlizer.io works out what kind of database table it should create in the database, and what the column types should be, it doesn’t ask the user to provide that information. Instead, it analyses all the data in the file and chooses the right types of column.
Recognising all the different dates, integers, decimals and text entries can get surprisingly complicated, but that’s what it does.
We’ve never placed a paid advert for sqlizer.io, all we did was post answers to a few questions about importing data on internet forums. But its success has taught me that, a product that solves a real problem for people, and solves it elegantly, will grow by word of mouth, no matter how specialised it may be.