Survey response: features that would be really great

So I recently responded to an email from the Grist team, filling a feedback survery. My response got a little long about wanted features, but I felt that it would be a good idea to post it here as well, for feedback from other Grist users about whether the features I mentioned would actually be useful. Quoting from my response:

"Favorite feature: without a doubt, the ability to use Python for formulas. Also, custom widgets.

Most wanted features: four features would be really helpful, I think for users in general, and in addition fulfill a lot of secondary use-cases and feature requests that arrive, not to mention making this product more powerful by orders of magnitude. In order of descending priority (for myself):

  1. the ability to display the contents of a column differently than the contents themselves: so a formula column can contain any Python object that is returned by the formula. However, if you want to display that object in a specific way, you’d need to create another column that probably returns a formatted string based on the Python object. It would be very useful to be able to specify another formula for every column: the display formula, which controls how that column renders based on its contents. At the minimum, the display formula could return a string as display, and what would be even more awesome would be if you could (optionally) return HTML that gets rendered, giving complete control over the display.

  2. the ability to define a subset of records that can be selected in a reference column: if a Table A has a reference column where one or more records from Table B can be selected, then rather then being able to select just all records from Table B, it would be very helpful to be able to define, through a formula, a subset of records from B that could be selected for that reference column. I know there are workarounds for this, but they feel very hacky and don’t accomplish exactly what’s needed.

  3. the ability to define and reuse custom functions in Python. For example, there could perhaps be a place where you define a Python function, and could then use that function by name anywhere else in formulas, trigger formulas, etc. This would make it easier to define common functionality in one place. The function could also be defined to automatically be provided context parameters such as rec, table, value, user, etc.

  4. a way to define/describe constructs in Grist (tables, columns, widgets, etc.) in code, rather than having to do it exclusively through the GUI, kind of like a DDL (from an SQL perspective). I guess what I mean is Code View, only editable. Because Grist is so much more developer-focused than other competing products, I feel this would be a killer feature that would definitely get used by many users, and in addition, it might even serve as a launching board to making it easier to introduce more features to Grist in the future.

And I’ll stop now before I can think of a fifth thing, but I’ll finish by saying that I really love Grist, and I believe that it is truly unique amongst all similar-looking products that are out there."


This one, I’m happy to say, @georgegevoian is working on currently. The expected design is here:

Everything else on your wish list is very much on point, and we’d love to have them too, thank you.


I add my humble vote to these four suggestions.
Thank you!

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