Tembo: How we got here

Here’s a longish history on how I came to develop Tembo, a WordPress plugin for developing database applications.

I’ve been developing database applications for thirty five years. I’ve built systems for nonprofits, small businesses, medical researchers, hobbyists, corporations, government agencies – really, anybody who needs to organize a lot of information.

From about 1995 to 2005, Microsoft Access was my go-to tool for developing database applications. Yes, I know: me and just about everybody else in the world. Let’s all just acknowledge that Access was a pretty sensational product for its day. Access is simple enough for a beginner to use (with a little help, maybe), but it also offers great advanced features for experienced programmers.

Sadly, Microsoft never managed to make Access work for the web. By about 2005, that was a big failing. People wanted their data to be available anywhere, any time, with all the convenience of the browser. Without Access, developers had to use much lower-level languages for custom web database applications. That meant a LOT more foundation work. Frameworks like Ruby on Rails helped, but development was still far from simple.

Fast forward to 2020, and incredibly, this problem still hasn’t been solved. Continue reading “Tembo: How we got here”