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Beyond Lorem Ipsum… Generating Database Test Content

Every designer has become familiar with the industry standard Lorem Ipsum filler text, and thousands of sites profess to be the alternative, hippest or most informative Lorem Ipsum and filler text generators.

But what happens when you are developing a complex web application need thousands of rows filled with realistic real-world test data? At Angeles Web Design we don’t only develop WordPress sites and applications, we often work on standalone web and mobile applications.

Knee deep in development, its so important to use lots of realistic data to test code and get client’s feedback in a use-case scenario.

So, where are you going to get 20,000 names and addresses or 3,000 orders generated in a jiffy, matching your exact schema? Enter GenerateData.com, one of the Internet’s best inventions, and one of my most favorite application testing and web development tools.

If you need to generate data quickly, just use the free online service, (or subscribe for more)… But you can always head over to the Generate Data GitHub page and download the entire open source PHP app, and set it up in your local development environment without limitations.

Screenshot generatedata

You choose the column names, datatypes – names, geolocations, numeric data – and viola, you’ve got the exact data you wished you had for testing and debugging your next web application.

Here’s my demo using company name, bank account number, location and currency amount as the columns and datatypes, with HTML output:

Generate Data Sample

To generate more than 100 rows, you need a user account – still free – or you can download and install it on your own servers.

This is a rather recent discovery so I’ve only used it once or twice but I can see it being useful in many instances. Kudos to the creator, Ben Keen.

Have you used this in the past? If yes, what for?

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