Monday offers a 'Low-code/No-code' environment to its developers/users. This model generally fits people;s needs very well, but sometimes non-technical users may have a desire to execute simple scripts against their data, in order to extract ad-hoc reports for example. Similarly, developers can benefit from the ability to quickly use a simple scripting environment, in order to prototype ideas, for example, without the need to use more heavyweight tools.
Command-line environments, the antithesis of a 'No-Code' GUI environment, are one option for running scripts, but recently a middle ground has emerged - the 'Computational Notebook'. Jupyter Notebooks is perhaps the most well known example of this phenomenon.
Computational Notebooks are most used by the scientific community, a notebook is a web page broken up into separate cells, some containing blocks of code in various languages, python being the most commonly used (the name 'Jupyter' derives from the three languages Julia, Python, and R.). Other cells contain descriptive markdown text or the graphical results of the computations, and the end result is a dynamic document that contains a narrative story of the course a calculation takes. And, being a web document, it can be easily shared and collaborated on. Being web-based also means there is access to a wealth of data sources as input for your notebook.
Starboard Notebook is a relatively new entrant into this arena, sharing some code in common with the Mozilla project Iodide (which Mozilla is no longer maintaining). Starboard's unique feature is that notebook code executes entirely within the browser (as does Iodide's), and does not rely on a server for its operation at all (unlike Iodide currently).
What it does
The use cases this opens up are -
Users can code their own simple 'apps', accessing the monday api, and again may share and collaborate.
Developers can code more complex examples, simply.
That being said, this submission is an early, work-in-progress version, and does not yet support collaboration, nor any form of saving/loading notebooks to Monday.com. Saving and loading can be achieved to the local PC, but only by utilising some 'clever' tricks in the notebooks themselves. See the description and example of this in a notebook on starboard.gg, authored by the project's creator. (From there, you can also navigate to a number of other example notebooks, demonstrating the flexibility of the system.)
Monday Notebooks may be of some use in its current form, but the addition of proper notebook storage and collaboration features will be required to achieve its full potential. Hopefully this will be added soon.
N.B. It is being submitted in the Software category, but may belong in Wildcard. It's software in the sense that its use involves the writing of code, but the category is perhaps intended exclusively for applications that manage the workflow in software organisations.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
Being new to virtually all the technologies involved in this project, as well as to Monday.com itself, the challenges mainly arose from the time-consuming nature of tasks which are, in principle, relatively simple, such as dealing with unfamiliar build tools, etc.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Coming up with the initial idea for this may actually be the most noteworthy thing. I don't often have good ideas!
What I learned
There is a much more vibrant open-source development scene in this area than I had realised. There are a number of interrelated projects upon which to draw.
I also learned I need to improve my time management skills!. There's probably a Monday.com board that could help with that!
What's next for Monday Notebooks
Eventually, I'd like to put it on the Marketplace. One reason for not doing so just yet is the need to add the missing features. Another is that I want to confirm with Monday.com that there are no security concerns. Issues such as any potential for cross-site scripting, or simply putting the power of the api in the hands of non-technical users may require some mitigation first.
(It should be noted that notebooks on Starboard Notebook are run in a sandboxed iframe, but this is not currently the case in Monday Notebooks, except perhaps at the level of the app framework itself. It may be possible to remedy this going forward.)
Thereafter, the next steps should be as follows -
There will be scope for improving the structure of the code and the build environment, allowing for smoother maintenance and enhancements.
Starboard Notebook is frequently updated, but these updates will not be automatically incorporated. A mechanism and a policy for moving to newer versions will need to be formulated.
Improvements to the code completion, and support for additional languages are possible future enhancements. In particular, code completion may be able to take into account the GraphQL schema and the users' board data in certain scenarios.
Finally, either as enhancements to this app, or possibly as entirely separate apps, there is the potential to support additional notebook-like or command-line interfaces, such as Iodide.