Dec 31 2014
We are saying our goodbyes to 2014 with the final update to version 0.7 of SlashDB. Amazing new features await in 0.8, so stay tuned, but in the meantime, here’s…
SlashDB ver. 0.7.39
Final revision of the 0.7 version contains over 20 improvements and fixes including:
- Improved conformance to REST/HTTP standard by adding support for Accept header
- Bundled support for IBM DB2
- Improvements to database configuration GUI
- Improved warning and error messages in admin’s GUI
- Improved handling of date/time types for update
- Fixed certain minor GUI issues (i.e. database dropdown, login box, sorting)
- Fixed incorrect handling of boolean fields and empty values in CSV data upload
- Fixed certain issues with XML representation of the NUMBER data type
- Stronger user-resource authorization
R Stands for Representation
The “R” in REST stands for representation of a resource. While the vast majority of APIs can only output a JSON format, SlashDB from the very first version emphasized the need to provide alternative representations. We are pragmatic programmers, so the requested representation could be conveniently specified as a “file extension” in the URL:
The problem with this approach is that it commingles resource identification with representation. One could argue that the above are four distinct resources because each uniform resource locator (URL) is different.
The solution to this is already designed into the HTTP protocol as the “Accept” header. From this version onwards SlashDB fully supports it (but we will keep the old way forever). And so, the Playlist resource identifier becomes:
By default an HTML representation will be returned, so to select an alternative representation, send the desired content type with your request. Here’s how to do that with a popular command line tool curl:
curl -H "Accept: text/xml" http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Playlist/ curl -H "Accept: application/json" http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Playlist/ curl -H "Accept: text/csv" http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Playlist/ curl -H "Accept: text/html" http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Playlist/
So there you have it. Now you can pick your way: strictly REST/HTTP correct or convenient.
Happy New Year
Thank you for your support all year and have a happy and prosperous 2015!
Oct 9 2014
Does your business utilize online tools to increase productivity or access functionality not easily available from desktop software? Chances are the answer is yes and that you have heard of SaaS, but are you aware of risks and dangers associated with it and how to avoid them?
SaaS is the acronym for “software as a service” and it has exploded in popularity as Internet speeds increase and data sharing booms. Businesses have become reliant on web applications and services for various aspects of their business from operations to marketing, to R&D and even finance. There are pros and cons to this type of relationship and its best to have an understanding of that balance in order to make an informed decision.
Here Today Gone Tomorrow
SaaS companies usually bill on a monthly basis and strive to keep clients dependent on their service. This can be a cost effective option to reduce capital outlays, but keep in mind that the SaaS provider is constantly changing their software or can shut down without warning.
In the case of Repost.us, this company was launched and closed so fast users were left scrambling. Repost developed a business model that strived to increase exposure for publishers that are faced with the challenge to increase exposure for their content. This launch sounded great and filled a gap in the industry, so businesses shifted their strategy to include Repost.us and allocated a lot of time, money and resources only discover that the doors were going to shut down within a year of the launch. This demonstrates an inherent risk, but it is generally less expensive for a business to take this risk than to develop their own syndication software from scratch. The key is to be aware of this risk and make sure your business can quickly absorb any change.
Wait for It
Even when dealing with stable SaaS companies the relationship is not without issues. Successful SaaS startups are often challenged by providing consistent performance as the service grows in popularity. It has been proven much harder to develop truly scalable, multi-tenant distributed software for third party’s use than even a large enterprise-scale system for internal use, where many issues such as security, feature adoption and business process integration typically are well defined by existing solutions and established best practices.
Because SaaS products generally tend to serve only a single purpose, a business that utilizes many of these services is not only paying multiple subscription fees on a recurring basis, but also ends up with its mission critical data segmented across the web on various platforms. REST API integration services such as Zapier and IFTTT can be used to mitigate that problem to some degree, but again a business would be adding another service provider to the mix and another layer of complexity to its technology operations. It is evident that flexibility of keeping data in the cloud has proven to be valuable. That being said, it is worth taking time to review where your business’ potential liabilities and exposures exist so you make the right decisions.
Custom Tailored Solutions in the Cloud
The flip side is cloud services that actually bring amazing advances to a business and reduce costs, allowing for things never before possible. Let’s take a look at Amazon Web Services, a reputable and stable platform that offers scalable computing infrastructure. While technically an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), AWS has a gamut of add-on services, which put it way ahead of traditional web hosting and co-location facilities.
One such service is the Amazon Web Services Marketplace. AWS Marketplace is an online store that helps customers find, buy, and immediately start using the software and services that run in Amazon EC2 cloud. Many businesses leverage AWS Marketplace to receive the benefits of SaaS without relinquishing control over the software upgrade cycle, security setup, and integration capabilities. Enterprise quality software from established providers such as Oracle and Microsoft can be used together with bleeding edge solutions from smaller independent software vendors and Amazon’s own web services.
Customers of SlashDB have taken advantage of its availability in AWS Marketplace knowing that the underpinning computing infrastructure will allow for massive scalability and robustness. At the same time those customers retain full control over software upgrades and have an option to migrate and/or integrate with internal data center, if required. SlashDB instantly adds a REST API to traditional SQL databases for reading and writing in JSON, XML, CSV and HTML formats. It has found applications in enterprise data integration, syncing internal databases with their cloud replicas and as a data gateway for web and mobile enterprise applications.
Survival of the Fittest
Taking into account all the factors will help create a business environment that uses the latest technologies while balancing their own data security needs. As time passes and more businesses continue to embrace software as a service the strongest providers will prevail, making the overall system increasingly more secure and reliable. At the same time the need for API integration will only increase. This dance between business and technology is the driving force behind all the latest innovations, so stay informed and good luck with your next SaaS choice.
Jun 9 2014
Today SlashDB (VT Enterprise LLC) mailed a check with the contribution of $2,304 to The OpenSSL Software Foundation. The funds were raised from our “I Heartbleed OpenSSL” t-shirt sale campaigns, which ran in April and May, contributing $2,048 and $256 dollars respectively.
Says Victor Olex, founder and CEO of VT Enterprise and SlashDB: “It is with great pleasure and a sense of obligation that we present OpenSSL with this donation. VT Enterprise is software consulting company and an independent software vendor. Our products, such as SlashDB often integrate with OpenSSL to provide encryption for web interfaces and APIs. We thank the Foundation for their stewardship and continued development of this important product.”
Just the same we thank everybody who purchased the t-shirts and hope that you enjoy wearing it! This donation would not have been possible without you.
Jun 1 2014
Yesterday, we participated as a sponsor in the National Day of Civic Hacking hackathon in Jersey City, NJ. The event was organized by OpenJC and Code for Newark, which are local chapters (brigades) of Code for America, a non-profit that helps residents and governments harness technology to solve community problems. We feel privileged to be in a position to provide support to groups and initiatives like that. Microsoft and Code for America co-sponsored the event.
Victoria Nece (pictured standing up) took the first prize: a Microsoft XBox game console and a full year license to SlashDB Standard.
Victoria developed a system for combining and converting disparate transport data sources into one standards compliant JSON resource. She demonstrated her work by plotting various transit lines on a map and explained how it could be further refined. Although her product was not the flashiest presentation of the night, judges reasoned that her work carried the greatest positive forward impact as a foundation for future transit web applications development.
Milen Pavlov (far right, sitting hunched over his laptop) took the second prize: a $100 and a 6 month license to SlashDB Standard.
Milen utilized General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data from Metro North, NJ Transit, New York Waterways and other local transportation providers. He stunned the audiences with animated real time simulation of trains moving on the map. We were impressed with how much he accomplished in just one seating as the application contained advanced features such as the map window automatically scrolling along a moving train icon.
We congratulate both prize winners and everybody else who participated in the event. It certainly does take a special kind of drive to spend the entire beautiful sunny Saturday inside, hunched over your laptop coding. Those are our kind of people.
Just the same, we applaud officials from the City of Jersey City, Hoboken and NY/NJ Port Authority who also devoted their personal time to support and/or judge the event. Last but not least, we thank the hackathon organizers for inviting us to sponsor the event.
May 4 2014
Learn about SlashDB, data integration and web APIs from SlashDB YouTube Channel. Here are some videos from our All about SlashDB playlist:
What is SlashDB?
SlashDB explained in just over a minute.
How to Setup SlashDB?
Did you know that it literally can take just minutes to setup SlashDB for your database? From zero to API in under and hour, on premises or in the cloud.
How to Use SlashDB?
Watch how intuitive SlashDB API. Anybody with basic browser skills can use it. Experience database search, use it for systems integration or use it as a backend for your web and mobile apps.
Apr 14 2014
UPDATE 25-Apr-2014: After our original campaign ended oversubscribed we got featured in the New York Times. Now, by popular demand we are relaunching the campaign for 200 more t-shirts.
Is Open Source Safe?
Can the free and open source be trusted? How come the bug could stay hidden for over two years? Was it introduced intentionally? Those are some of the questions many are asking, but are those fair questions?
Because the code for OpenSSL is publicly available along with its change history, anyone can track down the change to date and time it was introduced and to the individual who committed the code. Only those who do nothing do not make mistakes. It is easier to point fingers and assign the blame than it is to effect positive change.
On the other hand, the open source promise of achieving higher quality and security by having multiple pairs of eyeballs reviewing and scrutinizing the code has to be questioned.
In reality most of the open source users are takers. A very small percentage contribute anything and only a fraction of those will care to thoroughly review their (or others’) contributions in context of the overall code base. In OpenSSL’s case that’s over 450,000 lines of code. Corporate-sponsored open source projects tend to do a better job of providing direction for the project and vetting the contributions because their brand name is often on the line. Purely community-driven projects often lack any formal organization and see a lot of arguments over features, endless flame wars on mailing lists and unavoidable attrition of talent as they get frustrated and/or busy with their paid careers.
Get a T-Shirt, Help the Cause
Did you know that the OpenSSL Foundation is not even organized as a non-profit? No wonder they are said to only attract $2,000 a year in donations. They are also the stewards of largely invisible product, unlike say Mozilla, who makes a popular Firefox web browser, so most people simply never even heard of their mission.
Let’s help them out. We are hoping to send the foundation at least a $1,000 and we need your help. We have launched a T-shirt campaign at http://teespring.com/iheartbleedopenssl (or click the image above). Please participate and share the message.
Mar 24 2014
We are often asked how SlashDB compares to Oracle BI or other business intelligence software.
Well, the main difference is that SlashDB provides unobstructed access to data for reading and writing, while those tools can only display data already nicely formatted for end users.
In addition to that SlashDB works both internally and does not require you to send data to a third party storage to make it available on the Internet. Oracle BI generally only works on the inside, and cloud-based SaaS products generally require you to upload your data to their storage in a format that fits their systems.
SlashDB is an instant web API shell over traditional databases. Unlike data warehouses and ETL, it does not copy the data form their source systems so the data is always up to date. Oracle BI requires setting up complicated ETL processes, which only run periodically and create copies of data.
Transparency of Research Matters
SlashDB is an excellent gateway to data for downstream analytics systems and self-service reporting in Excel, R, Python and more.
Our friends at PyStreet have recently conducted a survey on Python developers salary. The response data resides in an MS SQL Server database, but they wanted to publish the results online. They also wanted to demonstrate Python’s capability in data analysis.
Using SlashDB they made the database publicly accessible for reading via HTTP.
Then using IPhython Notebook and pandas data analysis library they produced a fully transparent research document, which was later shared online.
The notebook can not only be viewed, but also downloaded and modified.
Both the raw data and their transformations can be scrutinized and/or modified. For example, certain data points were removed from the study, but one can change those criteria or skip that step entirely. BI tools typically do not offer that degree of transparency.
SlashDB is industry independent. At last, your data scientists and business analysts will be empowered to leverage investments made in database systems. Use it with sales records, marketing campaign data, financial data or any other key performance indicator data to derive insights that matter.
Jan 21 2014
Get up early and meet New York Tech Innovators in a monthly breakfast event, where up to five different technologists demo their technologies from a wide range of industries ranging from software to hardware, IT to Biotech, robotics to space tech.
Next Event: February 11th, 8am @AOL
770 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY
(Entrance on 9th St).
8:00 – 8:15 – Get yer Bagels & Coffee and chit-chat
8:15 – 8:20 – Introductions, Sponsors, Announcements
8:20 – ~9:30 – Showcases and Shout-Outs!
• Priori Legal - Kimberly Palsson
• Try the World - Kat Vorotova
• Eventstagram – A. J. Veleta
• SlashDB - Victor Olex
• Votopin - Kaiyi Chu
We are pleased to share the stage with those fearless entrepreneurs and are looking forward to the event.
Jan 14 2014
Welcome back, here’s a short blast from the past, a video featuring SlashDB that we just discovered on the web.
In November last year we were proud sponsors of the PyData conference. In this lightning talk we are outlining SlashDB’s main benefits. After the presentation we are using random number generator in Google Spreadsheet to raffle-off an Airzooka gun.
Dec 26 2013
Bloomberg Industry Leaderboard Uses REST API for Financial Data Visualization; Imagine What You Could be Doing with Your Data Assets
If you have visited Bloomberg’s website lately you may have noticed a new tool called Bloomberg Industry Leaderboard, which is a part of their Visual Data site. The Leaderboard presents fundamental data about 600 leading global corporations in a visually attractive manner. Visualization techniques such as tree map, colored grid and rankings are all dynamically configurable, and results are sorted on the fly.
While the concept of presenting fundamental metrics in similar ways is not new, and there are many websites with similar data and visualization, the technical details behind the site are worth examining a bit closer.
For us what is even more interesting is that Bloomberg seems to follow a very similar approach to that of SlashDB. Here’s an example of companies broken down industry and ranked by operating margin and estimated net income growth:
http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/industries/rank/margin:est-net (HTML representation)
http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/industries/db/rank/margin:est-net.json (underlying data)
By comparison, SlashDB links (to an unrelated data set) look as follows:
http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Customer/Country/Brazil.html (HTML representation)
http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Customer/Country/Brazil.json (underlying data)
Imagine what you could do by layering SlashDB on top of your data. Use it internally for data federation, database search and self-service reporting, or deliver data to the web and mobile apps, or even offer your data assets for sale. Either way, the time to market is about an order of magnitude shorter than custom developed solutions, as our customers have attested. SlashDB is also more versatile as it allows for reading and writing of data and provides alternative data formats. It just as easily integrates with Excel, R, Matlab and enterprise systems as it does with the web.
As you may know, the idea for SlashDB was conceived out of the issues with access to market data in large investment banks. Had Bloomberg used SlashDB, they could have saved a ton of time and money.
Try /db Risk Free
If you would like to learn more about SlashDB or to discuss REST APIs in finance or in general, please contact us. You can also register here to try our product risk free.
Nov 25 2013
Whether your are aiming for driving innovation, building partnerships or for an opportunity to expand your service or product, you need to know about business models that can be adopted to accomplish your goals with web APIs.
Our own clients typically begin with just one business reason for building an API, but they are ready for any change in business requirements with little additional effort. SlashDB provides unobstructed access to their data assets via an instant web API.
Enable web and mobile applications for reading and writing, improve data management internally or provide on-demand data feeds in standard formats.
One of the most interesting resources about the business of APIs is this presentation from the first API Strategy & Practice conference: “API Business Models” by John Musser, founder of ProgrammableWeb. Find out what API business models are used by Sprint, Expedia, Google, Netflix, Facebook, New York Times, Amazon, PayPal, Salesforce.com, Intuit and other online business leaders.
Nov 14 2013
Victor Olex represented the SlashDB team on a panel about the future of data at the API Strategy & Practice conference. See the video below for an hour-long session of different perspectives on the topic or fast forward to minute 44 for the best part
We thank the organizers API Evangelist and 3Scale for the opportunity to share our thoughts this way and feel privileged to share the stage with such renowned speakers and business leaders. Here’s the complete rundown of the video:
- 0:00:00 Opening remarks by Swift of HackerLeague
- 0:00:30 “Data Decay and the Illusion of Present” by Dan Lynn, CTO and Co-founder, FullContact
- 0:17:18 “API Redesign: Recreating an Internal Platform” by Harold Madsen, API Director, Ancestry.com
- 0:33:00 “The Future of Data” by Ian White, Founder and CEO, Urban Mapping
- 0:44:00 “Resource Oriented Architectures – The Future of Data APIs?“, Victor Olex, Founder and President, vt.enterprise (SlashDB)
- 1:01:00 Organizer announcement (lunch)
- 1:01:35 Panel Q&A
- 1:07:40 Closing remarks by Swift of HackerLeague
Nov 7 2013
PyData Conference beings Nov. 8th and runs through Sunday, Nov 10th at JPMorgan’s offices downtown Manhattan. Hundreds of data scientists, engineers and analysts are expected to attend this unique and highly technical event.
SlashDB a Proud Sponsor
Data science and quantitative analysis are huge use cases for SlashDB, and we are very pleased to be able to provide sponsorship for PyData.
Instead of wrangling with access to data, scientists turn to SlashDB to access unobstructed data from disparate sources under standard data formats for reading and writing via REST/HTTP API, directly from their tool of choice. This translates to time savings and avoidance of repetitive coding, especially when the same data must be used in several tools and applications.
Special Offer, Do Not Miss Out – Extended FREE Trial
For those who stop by our booth at PyData and/or fully fill out this web form we are offering an extended 3 month FREE trial of SlashDB!
Python just “fits your brain”. Many data scientists and quantitative analysts select Python as the programming language of choice, and we fully understand why. This multi-paradigm language helps avoid code cruft, runs fast and comes with rich data structures and libraries.
Not only is SlashDB straight-forward to use from Python but it is also the language used for customizing its behavior. By default, SlashDB automatically generates a RESTful web service out of existing databases, which results in a web API, which closely follows database structures. This is often desired because it promotes data transparency and provides building blocks for business solutions but in some cases databases can have less then perfect design. Using Python, that auto-generated data model can be overridden to hide those imperfections or add functionality.
Register for PyData
There may be still tickets available, but they have been selling fast so don’t delay and head over to the registration page.
(UPDATE) Sorry the conference is completely SOLD OUT. Even if you cannot make it to the conference, just completely fill out this web form and we will honor your registration and reward you with a 3 month free license.
Oct 25 2013
Fresh from the API Strategy & Practice – slides from The Future of Data session.
Where service oriented APIs are designed around business functions, resource oriented architectures are about providing unobstructed access to data assets. They are complementary and have distinct uses and trade-offs.
One participant remarked that the talk was in Tim O’Reilly style, entertaining but also with a solid basis in facts and history. We take it as the highest compliment.
Slides & Video
Oct 24 2013
As announced at the API Strategy & Practice conference today, SlashDB is now available on Amazon’s Web Services Marketplace.
Getting listed on the AWS Marketplace is an important milestone in the history of SlashDB because having your product featured on this particular marketplace is difficult due to standards and criteria that have to be met.
What does this mean for you (and your databases)?
SlashDB drastically shortens the time to market for on-demand data products and web APIs and makes secure, authenticated access to databases via XML, JSON, CSV and HTML quick and easy.
AWS Marketplace is an online store that makes it easy for you to find and immediately start using the software and services that run on the AWS Cloud. You can use AWS Marketplace’s 1-Click deployment to quickly launch SlashDB.
Want to try SlashDB risk free?
It’s easier than ever through the Amazon Web Services Marketplace. Click here to start your free trial and give it a try now on AWS.
API Strategy & Practice Conference
SlashDB’s first day at the API Strategy & Practice Conference located in San Francisco has been a success so far! Our premiere at the conference has been well received, and everyone seems to be abuzz with excitement as the first day of the conference progressed.
Victor Olex, SlashDB’s founder and technology architect here at the API Conference, gave a talk titled “Resource Oriented Architectures – the Future of Data APIs?”. The slides will be available here tomorrow.
Oct 22 2013
SlashDB will be making an appearance in this year’s API Strategy & Practice Conference. Stay tuned for major announcement from us on Thursday.
API Strategy and Practice is a vendor neutral and community supported API industry conference to connect API Practitioners and allow them to show case API’s to build traction in different communities. This conference is a great way to engage with new audiences to help them better understand the API space and possibly start their own API adventure.
A product of vt.enterprise and a provider of API services, SlashDB focuses primarily on delivering APIs from your relational database and provides a secure and easy way to manage essential data. The idea for SlashDB was conceived out of our consulting experience in the capital markets technology, which vt.enterprise has been doing since 2001. SlashDB was created in 2010, at first only as a solution targeted for securities reference data and market data. We then realized that it has a greater purpose of being used as a data gateway for web and mobile applications. Since then, SlashDB has been attracting clients in the financial, academic, and publishing industries and has been making significant progress.
Victor Olex, founder and technology architect of SlashDB, will be representing us at the API Strategy & Practice Conference in San Francisco, CA from Oct. 23rd – 25th. He will be making a presentation about the future of data APIs on Thursday, October 24th. Victor is a pioneer of Resource Oriented Architecture, a new approach to data integration, and has revolutionized the API industry by providing a way to easily search database content while preventing data duplication.
Sep 27 2013
SlashDB producer, vt.enterprise was among a select few companies invited to participate in a series of events with Polish economic delegation on Wednesday and Thursday this week in New York City.
Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, Vice-Minister of Economy Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik, president of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development Bożena Lublińska-Kasprzak, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco J. Sánchez, Chief of Staff Dept. of Commerce Adam S. Wilczewski were among top ranking officials who met with representatives of Polish companies who are already doing or planning to do business in the United States. Representing vt.enterprise was Victor Olex, co-founder and CEO of the company.
vt.enterprise was established in 2001 by a pair of first-generation Polish immigrants. The company is fortunate to be able to leverage old-country’s intellectual capital for its research and development projects including SlashDB. Polish programmers consistently take top honors at programming contests such as Top Coder and ACM-ICPC.