Its finally time. We think we’ve been keeping this to ourselves long enough now and we’re happy with the functionality we have. Its useful, and stable, and hopefully won’t fall over when we open this up to more people. So its finally time for us to declare that Datasheet.net is live!
What’s so special about Datasheet.net?
For those of you that haven’t been part of the beta, here’s a quick summary of what we’re trying to do with Datasheet.net.
We think datasheets suck. Plain and simple this is a format that hasn’t changed since the invention of the PDF. We’re trying to change that, trying to make datasheets a ‘live’ document, something that actually helps make our lives as engineers better. In the long term this means us working closely with manufacturers to help improve the datasheet format, we’re not sure where this leads yet but its something we’re working towards.
But changing the way manufacturers work is a long and slow road, so in the meantime as a first step we’ve put together some useful features on top of datasheets as they currently stand.
One thing we do a lot with datasheets is refer to the same pieces of information over and over, this often means paging through a PDF repeatedly to find that same table or diagram we need. In order to help alleviate this problem we’ve created Snippets. With Snippets you can cut out that useful bit of information and save it into your account.
A Snippet isn’t just a screenshot of a bit of your PDF, its linked back to the original document, so you can quickly jump back to where the Snippet was taken for more context. As you browse a datasheet you can see the areas where Snippets have been taken and quickly link through to the full Snippet.
What’s more you can annotate the snippet with additional markup so that you can improve it with your own notes, or add a title and description so you can remember why this thing was useful when you come back to it. You can even share a Snippet with a colleague to help answer a question, and there’s a comment stream allowing you to further discuss the content.
Once you’ve put together a lot of Snippets you’ll need a way to organize them. So we created Collections to which you can add your Snippets, this lets you quickly put together useful information in one place so you can access it over and over. It even automatically builds a list of all the datasheets from which your Snippets have been taken so you can quickly get back to the content you need.
Better Datasheet Search
Searching for datasheets is never easy. Results are usually messy and noisy, making it hard to find content, and they often never quite deliver what we’re looking for. We decided to make a clean fast datasheet search that shows you just what you need.
That’s up to you. There’s many ways we could go with this now, but here’s a few things we’re already working on:
- A better datasheet search – more results, more details and including your own content in the results.
- Upload datasheets – many people have asked for this, so its high on our list.
- Snippet embedding – easily embed a snippet in a blog, or an email to a friend.
- Better snippet creation tools – faster ways of creating snippets, we’ve had some great suggestions here.
- Discussions – this has been on our road-map for a while, we want more people to talk about components and their uses/issues.
- Manufacturer support – we want manufacturers on-board to help support their products
There’s loads of other things on our list, more than I care to admit, but if you have any thoughts on what would make Datasheet.net better then please let us know. You can leave feedback on our UserVoice forum or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.