Here you will find resources that will help you learn about datapp development and the Simpler platform.

We will provide the tools necessary to help you develop datapps for your organization. In order to develop, your organization must be licensed to use the Simpler platform and have a development site installed. 

Please contact us with troubleshooting inquiries and further questions.

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What is the Simpler platform?

The Simpler platform provides services for selecting, composing, and searching data through datapps. Datapps are programmed with XML templates, which are dynamic XML documents enhanced with SimplerScript.

The url is the "command-line" for simpler/gov. When the simpler/gov platform receives a request (via http), the url is mapped to an XML template, and the template is executed. The query string parameters are exposed through SimplerScript, which allows a single template to create different outputs. Templates return results in several different formats, including html, pdf, xls, csv, text, and xml.

Datapps are stateless and dynamic, and the output of any template can generally be consumed by other templates. This makes datapps highly navigable as the user needs change. 

Watch this short video to see what we mean:

Create a Basic Datapp

Creating a basic datapp is easy. Watch this short video and then follow the steps in your environment.

Setting up the Environment

This document includes information about hardware and software requirements, folder structure, setting up the web server and authentication options.

Syncing the Data

Syncing the data....


Developer Videos

The following videos cover a variety of topics. Click on the icon in the bottom right to play in full screen mode for best viewing.


Indexing Optimization

A real life example of indexing and updating for performance enhancement. It includes info on working with syncs, indices, keys, and summary tables.


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Under the hood

The Simpler platform is composed of layers. Each layer generally builds on the layers below, adding additional features and functionality.

System layer

The System layer provides services for handling http requests, executing templates, interpreting SimplerScript, processing raw data, and managing application configuration. The System layer is the platform "kernel." It is the base on which all other layers are built.

Select layer

The Select layer provides services for selecting and projecting raw data stored in a variety of formats, including csv, sql, excel, text, and xml. The Select layer also provides services for synchronizing data, so that data stored in low performance formats (such as text files on the web) can be transfered into higher performance data stores (relational databases, for example).

Compose layer

The Compose layer provides services for turning raw data into output that people can easily comprehend. The compose layer retrieves, merges, summarizes, and formats data from the Select layer. The Compose layer is designed to handle large datasets efficiently.

Present layer

The Present layer provides services for creating HTML user interfaces, including forms and menus.

Application layer

The Application layer provides services for managing users, running tasks, and sending email.

XML layer

The XML provides services for creating XML documents. Since XML is the source code format for the platform, the XML layer can be used as a "macro" facility, by dynamically creating present, compose, or select templates which are then executed.

Continue through the developer resources to learn how to develop within the various layers.

Once a data pool or view is created and put on the Simpler platform, it can be composed in hundreds of ways based on filters, grouping, and aggregation. Here are some examples of what that can look like for our demo dataset of Compensation for California Entities (Counties, Cities, Districts, etc...)For each example:

  1. Take a look at the criteria bar on the page to see how the examples were created.

  2. Click to the Search page to see what it looks like in the form.

  3. Look at the URL to see how it controls what you see on the Data page.


  • Null Values - Ventura County First 5, unpaid positions

  • Not Blank - Ventura County First 5, paid positions

  • Range - City of San Buenaventura - Positions with Regular Pay 45,000 to 50,000

  • Less than or Equal to - City of San Buenaventura - Positions with Regular Pay less than or equal to 5,000

  • Exclusion - Ventura County Schools, excluding Charters