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Google Refine is a standalone desktop application provided by Google for data cleanup and transformation to other formats. It has now been renamed to OpenRefine and is hosted as an opensource project on Github. It is similar to spreadsheet applications (and can work with spreadsheet file formats), however acts more like database. It operates on rows of data which have cells under columns, which is very similar to relational database tables. One Refine project is one table. User can filter rows to display using facets that define filtering criteria (for example, showing rows where given column is not empty). Unlike spreadsheets, most operations in Refine are done on all visible rows: transformation of all cells in all rows under one column, creation of new column based on existing column data, etc. All actions that were done on dataset are stored in project and can be replayed on another dataset. Unlike spreadsheets, no formulas are stored in cells, but formulas are used to transform data, and transformation is done only once. Transformation expressions are written in proprietary GREL language. Also Jython can be used to write expressions. The program has a web user interface, however it is not hosted by the software developer (SAAS), but is available for download and use on local machine. When starting Refine, it starts a web server and starts browser to open web UI powered by this webserver. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: Google Refine)
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