Whole Code



Reviewed July 24, 2019

Parabola is a node-and-wire programming environment for non-technical users. It enables businesses to perform ETL-type operations to and from their SaaS apps (Salesforce, Clearbit, Stripe, MailChimp, etc). It allows for joining across SaaS data sources and then re-exporting back to those apps. It’s like Excel, but for millions of rows, and with some Zaper-like cloud powers. It was founded in 2015 and raised $2.2M in May 2018.

Product Feel

Basic Usage

The above video creates a Parabola program that pulls in and cleans data from Google analytics. It demonstrates :

Table model

Like in SQL, in Parabola, everything is a table. The uniformity is both clean and also rigid. For example, you have to convert JSON blobs to tables as well. As the documentation below warns, it creates columns even for nested attributes. For example, {name: {"first": "John", "last": "Smith"}} would create two columns: name.first and name.second.

Smart Table Flipper

I was really impressed by the existence of this block; it's the type of non-obvious but super useful functionality that is only earned through customer feedback. I've written the code to do exactly this by hand many times. It's main use-case is with object stores, like Firebase. It turns a large object to an array of rows. However, I never would’ve found this block unless the very helpful customer success guy mentioned it.

Smart Date Formatter

I was pleasantly surprised when their date formatter was able to correctly guess the date format in my data without me specifying an example format. Wouldn't that be amazing to have in all date libraries?

Hides Data

Like most node-and-wire tools, Parabola visualizes the control flow but hides the data. You have to click on each node individually to see the current state at that point. This also means you can't see the data of multiple nodes at the same time.

I prefer an older version of the product which visualizes the data: