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Communications of the ACM


Demo Data as Code

keys with numbers

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Engineers are often asked to generate demo data for various reasons. It may seem like a one-time task that can be done manually and forgotten. Automating the process, however, has many benefits, and supports the inevitable need for iteration, collaboration, and future updates. When data is treated as code, you can leverage techniques from modern software engineering practices.

Many years ago I was at a company that needed to produce a demo version of its software. The demo would essentially be the company's software preloaded with fictional data. Salespeople would follow a script that would walk the customer through the features of the product. The script involved finding various problems and resolving them with the ease that only this product could provide.


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