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The Data School with Professor Joe Hellerstein: Evolution of User Interfaces for Data Wrangling

Technology   |   David McNamara   |   Apr 13, 2020

Welcome back to The Data School, a video series created for data professionals of all stripes. In these difficult times, we wanted to provide free content to our community that aims to educate, entertain, and sharpen your skill set. You can access the videos in this series for free on our blog or YouTube channel. Last week, Professor Joe Hellerstein made his debut with a little bit of jazz and a whole lot of information about the major shifts that we’ve seen in data management. He talked about the “why,” the “what,” and the “how” of these major shifts, as well as how to come away with a new strategy for data management. You can catch that episode here

Now, we’re back for session two! In this video, we travel back in time to the early days of data transformation and take a closer look at how user interfaces have evolved over the years. What we find is that a lot has changed—and at the same time, not much has changed at all. Many legacy tools still share an old-school interface that can be traced back to 1984 when the Macintosh was first introduced! Even though the wider data management field has grown in leaps and bounds, it’s striking how little innovation there has been in user interfaces for data transformation since the 1980s. 

And so, what should the interface of a modern data transformation platform look like? Who should it cater to? Professor Joe Hellerstein spent years poring over research meant to answer these very questions. He shares his insights in the video above. 

Where else can you find Professor Joe Hellerstein? 

Joe Hellerstein is the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of Trifacta. You can also find him at UC Berkeley as the Jim Gray Chair of Computer Science. He has produced many academic resources for public consumption, including undergraduate course videos on database systems, notes from his graduate course, or research from his team and affiliated labs at UC Berkeley: DSF and RISELab.