The data driven interface system implements a complete web application framework, including user accounts, privileges, security, layout, navigation, content management, and a web services API. JavaScript and CSS stylesheets are dynamically rendered directly into the page. Unlike most content management systems, the ddi environment is very "close to the metal", resulting in a much smaller codebase (approximately 200Kbytes, or 6Kloc).

This project originally began over ten years ago as an effort to build a "reusable frame" of navigation and user privileges so as to avoid the distraction involved in re-inventing these common functions for every new application. A content management module was then developed as a way to both validate the "frame" APIs and provide the "frame" with a module to load. Eventually the module loader was generalized; any number of modules can be dynamically installed at runtime, and their APIs are all exposed through the Console object.

Because the ddi environment provides a rich set of primitives while handling the mundane details, custom applications can be prototyped very rapidly. In addition to several "conventional" proofs-of-concept ("self-service" content management system, blog, product catalog, ticketing system), we have run this platform in production for a number of database-driven websites for distributors, real estate agencies, and mail-order businesses. When necessary, we have implemented "bulk import" tools that accept existing client data in its native format.