Consider a case when I want to try some idea of an application. But I want to avoid investing a lot of effort in coding UI/work flows/database schema etc before I see that it's going to be useful to me (as example of potential user). My idea is stay lightweight and put all the data in text files. So the components could be following:

  1. Domain objects are represented by text files or their fragments
  2. Domain objects are grouped by their type using directories
  3. Structure the files using some both human- and machine-friendly format, e.g. YAML
  4. Use some smart text editor (e.g. vim, emacs, rubymine) to edit and navigate those files
  5. Use color schemes and macros/custom commands of the text editor to effectively manipulate those files
  6. Use scripts (or a lightweight web framework like Sinatra) to try some business logic ideas on top of the data model

The question is: Are there tools or toolkits that support or can be adopted to this approach? Also any ideas, links to articles/other knowledge sources are very welcome.

And more specific question: What is the simplest way to index and update index of files with YAML files?

  • So, basically you want the dual to Microsoft SketchFlow, right? Instead of having a sketch of a UI and trying that out with fake data, you want to have a sketch of the data model and try that out with a fake UI? Aug 11, 2012 at 14:28
  • More or less. I want real data with rudimentary application.
    – Alexey
    Aug 11, 2012 at 22:17
  • Of course, nowadays such questions are not off-topic, if asked on softwarerecs.stackexchange.com
    – Mawg
    Apr 11, 2018 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


I suppose it depends on your background, but in order to forget about the persistence layer I'd concentrate on the Objects I'd nedd and use some Object <--> Relational mapping component (e.g. hibernate) instead of relying on a direct integration with text files.

You can also work with text files via hibernate >> JDBC >> ODBC >> Text files as stated here (do not expect this to work fast).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.