enterprise

URLs – Following the Trail of Associative Thinking

URLs – Following the Trail of Associative Thinking

We all understand that the human mind does not operate in a linear fashion. Despite this, people routinely rely on linearly arranged materials (reports, spreadsheets, articles, etc.) to review or study new information. Such materials are often organized into sections on individual topics, with each section consisting of paragraphs featuring a specific idea (effectively building a plodding, linear structure). This is antithetical to the associative nature of the human mind. It is only natural, then, that throughout history we have dreamt of machines that would one day allow us to review information and data in multilinear and tangential fashions.

“As We May Think” Is How We Really Think

Memex Machine

Bush’s Memex machine as visualized in the original print publication in The Atlantic.

In 1945, Vannevar Bush published his renowned article, “As We May Think,” in which he discusses the associative nature of the human mind. Bush also wrote at length about the inadequate structure of data storage and his vision for a machine, the Memex (Memory Extender) that would mirror the associative qualities of the human mind while also relieving people of the burden of scouring through endless indexes for information. Bush maintained that the human mind “operates by association” and that once we grasp an idea, our minds “snap instantly to the next [idea] that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain.”

Bush’s admiration for the power of the human mind is evident from the following quote: “the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.” It is natural, then, that Bush would propose the building of a machine that would mimic the abilities of the mind. Bush envisioned the Memex as operating with the speed and associative capBush Pull quoteability of the mind, in other words, a machine that would literally become an extension of memory and thought, stating that “selection by association, rather than indexing, may yet be mechanized.” Bush envisioned the mechanization of association by having the user of the Memex “build a trail” or mind map. This process of joining or linking information was an early call for the need and capabilities of URLs.

Data Pointers

There are many disadvantages to traditional data storage – one of the biggest disadvantages being that users must rely on complicated queries to search through linear, tabular data in order to find specific information. Computer memory is even more rudimentary – a contiguous string of seemingly meaningless zeroes and ones. In order to make use of computer memory, natural information gets digitized, transformed programmatically into appropriate data structures and stored as memory. Once this is accomplished, data can later be retrieved and interpreted as program logic at a location address or pointer which must also be memorized.

Data pointers have been used for years (since 1964 to be exact) to improve data retrieval and to help programmers ruminate about data at a higher level of abstraction. A pointer is a value that references or points to another value stored somewhere else within a program memory. Essentially, acting as something of a signpost, allowing users to more easily find the data they want to review. The obvious downside to this method is that the data pointer is limited to data contained within one machine – making building distributed systems problematic.

SlashDB as Your Innovative Solution

SlashDB technology takes the concSlashDB Logoept of data pointers to the next level by using Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) as pointer structured data resources. SlashDB automatically assigns each data resource a URL which allows data to be sourced from one machine to another. This not only helps users navigate data and associate specific pieces of data more easily than ever before, but also allows software architects to think of disparate data in similar terms as if that data were contained within the program’s memory.

For instance, a URL data pointer for a customer table will lead to a pointer for a specific customer within that table, which will, in turn, lead to a specific property of the customer, such as an email address or invoices. Data exposed at this granular level, like small breadcrumbs dropped along a logical path of thought, provide a trail or map that allows programmers to build applications spanning multiple machines. URL data pointers coupled with SlashDB technology sync seamlessly with thought processes and patterns, allowing URLs to perfectly imitate the highly associative nature of the human mind and memory.

SlashDB has made Bush’s concept a reality, and, in doing so, takes his vision of associative technology one step further by creating unique data pointers in the form of URLs for each piece of data – providing associative footholds for the mind to use with the greatest ease possible. SlashDB thoroughly understands that tools which share the same associative capabilities of the mind increase utilization and heighten productivity.

Mind Map

Mind Map

Associative technology melds with the mind, allowing for a rapidity of exploration based on association. This results in an intricate network of relationships that can range from the highly related to the tangential to the most tenuous of connections, all of which can work to create new and novel conceptions of data and data usage.

SlashDB has made it our mission to make data retrieval a highly accessible, searchable, and associative process.  If you think our innovative methods will help streamline your business, contact us and we’ll work with you to find the best solution for your needs.

 

Is Amazon CTO’s Call for Simplified Solutions a Shout-Out to SlashDB?

Is Amazon CTO’s Call for Simplified Solutions a Shout-Out to SlashDB?

SlashDB is proud to share the news that leading technologist and CTO of Amazon, Werner Vogels, recently posted an article on API technology that mirrors our own beliefs and technological developments. Vogels’ article examines technology trends of 2016, specifically the benefits of adopting API technology. Vogels’ thoughts and ideas about API technology and development so closely match our own endeavors in streamlining data storage that we really have to share his article. You can read Vogels’ article in full here or read below for a recap of the highlights.

Simplified Solutions

In his article, Vogels notes that the call for building simpler systems will continue to soar in 2016. He believes that adopting APIs is the ultimate answer to the quest for simplified data storage. Vogels touts the many benefits APIs offer, especially when paired with a cloud platform. Specifically, he asserts that the cloud is the perfect platform for constructing APIs because it offers both scalability and low investment costs.

Vogels believes that APIs in general (and cloud-based APIs specifically) are the future of data storage. This notion is supported by a careful study of technology trends which reveals evidence that APIs are the simplified solution to the increasingly urgent problem of data storage. APIs, as Vogels points out, enable organizations, big and small, to develop at exponential rates, with the potential to shoot off in unexpected and exciting directions.

Most importantly, Vogels notes how adaptable APIs are to new and legacy software, stating:

The great thing about APIs is they can be consumed internally as well as externally. We see not only new software getting APIs but also legacy software components like the system-of-records being wrapped with APIs such that new product innovations can access the legacy systems.

SlashDB API Joins Internal and External SystemsThis statement especially delights us at SlashDB as we have provided services for new systems and API add-ons for existing systems for years. In fact, Vogels’ sentiments and high esteem of APIs adheres so closely to our own beliefs and practices here at SlashDB that we now feel something of a personal kinship with him.

Victor Olex, founder and CEO of SlashDB, stated that he is thrilled that SlashDB’s ideas are now validated by a luminary such as Vogels. SlashDB has been an advocate for advancing the API ecosystem to legacy systems for years and we’re very happy to be joined by someone with Vogels’ background and experience.

SlashDB as Your Simplified Solution

SlashDB provides a “what you see is what you get” interface that allows users to access and retrieve data with ease, relying solely onSlashDB logo their intuition to guide them through the database. Our API add-on creates hyperlinks for each piece of data, enabling increased efficiency and workflow. We’re fully committed to creating APIs with accessibility, searchability, and speed.

SlashDB’s API solution is available in the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.We also provide on premise installation – contact us and we’ll bring our simplified API solution directly to you.

Join us in our mission to create a simplified database and development ecosystem, a solution that will usher us into a new age of technological innovation.

SlashDB at the API Strategy and Practice Conference

SlashDB at the API Strategy and Practice Conference

SlashDB is proud to announce that founder and CEO, Victor Olex, had the honor of giving a presentation at the most recent API Strategy and Practice Conference. Olex, acting as SlashDB’s representative, presented a talk on API advancements and development, sharing the stage with representatives from Walgreens, CapitalOne, Intuit, and Datafiniti.

Olex, a proponent and innovator of API technology, delivered an intelligent and compelling presentation on the ability of APIs to completely restructure the database ecosystem, as well as SlashDB’s commitment to simplifying database interactionsvo_slashdb through increased accessibility and searchability. Olex was lauded by fellow participants for his presentation, with one participant stating that SlashDB’s achievements in the field of API development were the highlight of the conference.

You can view Olex’s full presentation here or read below for a run-down of the highlights of his talk.

Statistically Speaking

Olex’s talk focused in part on offering concrete statistical data on the financial benefits of adopting APIs. For instance, in 2015 companies globally spent $2.3 T (that’s right, trillion) on IT systems. Of that$350 B (billion!) was spent on technicaldata_integration_pull_quote consulting and software integration services, while still another $140 B was spent on middleware. In total, half a trillion dollars is spent annually on data and data integration software. Saying that this is a lot of money to spend on data-related software is an understatement.

So where exactly is all of this money going? A quick breakdown reveals that most of it is used to cover expenses for integration ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) and Data Warehousing. Fortunately, the extreme financial upkeep for these types of databases can be greatly reduced by adopting an API database add-on like SlashDB’s, which favors accessibility and searchability over a single access point.

Multiply Investments with Amazonian-Sized Results

Olex reviewed the successes of APIs in businesses, notably using Amazon as an example of how investing in an API can lead to (hugely) increased returns. Amazonamazon_logo adopted an API in 2002 and, flashing forward to 2016, Amazon is now reaping the benefits of that decision. Since adopting an API, Amazon’s returns have increased by 4,000%. Needless to say, this is a huge, almost fantastical, return for investing in an API.

API Accessibility

In his presentation, Olex aptly pointed out that the underlying theme of the conference was accessibility, a theme that he took up with great enthusiasm and insight, offering excellent justifications for adopting APIs to meet accessibility needs in databases. Olex passionately advocated for a “what you see is what you get” interface which allows users to access and retrieve data with ease, relying on their intuition to guide them through the database rather than relying on complicated queries. Olex was quick to point out that SlashDB implements this exact setup, providing an API add-on that creates hyperlinks for each piece of data, which is literally like having your data at your fingertips.

SlashDB as a Solution

The intelligent and compelling presentations at the conference definitely highlight the fact that APIs have made serious inroads into the logos of businesses within theslashdb-logo-stacked-75 past year. Their popularity will only continue to grow and progress into mainstream business practices.

At SlashDB we’re committed to creating APIs with accessibility, searchability, and speed. Join us in our mission to rehabilitate the database ecosystem into a thing of streamlined beauty (and save yourself time and money in the process).

Full Session Video

Without further ado we present the entire video of the “APIs in Enterprise” session (you can jump straight to minute 32 when our part begins here). Enjoy.

Invitation to the API Strategy and Practice Conference

Invitation to the API Strategy and Practice Conference

We are excited to announce that our founder and CEO, Victor Olex, will be speaking alongside delegates from Walgreens, Intuit and CapitalOne at the 2015 API Strategy and Practice Conference taking place in Austin, Texas November 18th – November 20th.

The API Strategy and Practice conference is a vendor neutral and community supported API industry conference. The goal of this conference is to connect API practitioners and provide a platform to showcase and discuss APIs. This venue is a great way to engage with audiences and learn more about APIs.

This year’s conference will cover a range of interesting topics – you’ll have more than enough opportunities to really get your geek on. Most exciting of all (we’re slightly biased) will be Olex’s presentation – taking place on Friday, November 20th at 2pm. His talk will be featured as a part of the APIs in Enterprise segment, sharing the stage with delegates from Walgreens and Intuit. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the topics he will cover:

  • Modernization of Legacy Client/Server Systems with APIs
  • Using APIs Internally for Reporting, Data Science, and System Integration
  • Advantages of Creating an API Layer Over ETL and Data Warehousing

Olex will be representing SlashDB, which focuses on delivering APIs from your relational database and slashdb-logo-stacked-100providing an easy and secure way to manage essential data. Founded in 2010, SlashDB was initially conceived as a solution for securities reference data and market data. A short time after this our team had a major eureka moment and realized that our product could be used as a data gateway for web and mobile applications. We’ve definitely hit our stride since then and now serve a wide range of clients in the financial, academic, tourism, and publishing industries.

If you’re in the Austin, Texas area November 18th – 20th and you have an interest in APIs or simply want to learn more about APIs, you definitely need to check out the API Strategy and Practice Conference. This is a great opportunity to learn and network.

CIOReview: API as a Foundation for Systems of Engagement

CIOReview: API as a Foundation for Systems of Engagement

Influential technology management magazine CIOReview features two-page opinion piece from SlashDB’s founder and CEO Victor Olex:

APIs as a Foundation for Systems of Engagement.

Whereas cloud-to-cloud benefits of APIs have been covered at length elsewhere, Mr. Olex looks at APIs from the perspective of larger organizations with legacy systems on premises.

Learn how enterprises extend those systems to the cloud, why this is taking place, and why APIs are the enabling technology. Find out the difference between resource vs. service oriented architectures.

Under ROA data resources should be uniformly accessible to both software engineers and domain knowledge workers (data scientists,
business intelligence, quantitative analysts and salespeople.

What do Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Salesforce.com have to do with your  enterprise systems? Consider the implications of leveraging third-party cloud-based systems.

(…) no matter how compelling and easy to use those (SaaS) apps are, they are disconnected from your business’ systems
of record. Working in isolation they cannot fully support custom business processes.

cxo insightsYou can download the reprint of whole article from here: http://www.slashdb.com/resources/cio-review-apis-as-foundation-sys-engagement.pdf

Enjoy.


SlashDB is an API gateway for databases and a key component in solutions for extending legacy client/server systems into cloud, mobile and Big Data applications. Questions about API, data management or cloud applications? Please contact us for a free consultation.

Turn a database into a website or API with SlashDB

Turn a database into a website or API with SlashDB

Software is eating the world, according to Marc Andreessen. SlashDB aims to make that more palatable for all those organizations with existing IT assets.

Source: Turn a database into a website or API with SlashDB by Ben Kepes, Industry commentator

SlashDB ver. 0.8 Debuts on Microsoft Azure

SlashDB ver. 0.8 Debuts on Microsoft Azure

The latest version of SlashDB launches on Microsoft’s cloud — a direct result of a partnership agreement between VT Enterprise and Microsoft. Pricing starts at $0/hr.

SlashDB is an automatic REST API for databases. The product instantly enhances existing web-based systems with a flexible data API for reading and writing in JSON, XML and CSV formats. Using SlashDB, web businesses achieve the shortest time to market for their API initiatives in marketing, e-commerce or data monetization programs. Enterprise clients utilize SlashDB to enable traditional client/server systems to work with modern HTML5 and mobile front-ends.

Indisputable Return on Investment

Microsoft_Azure_CertifiedUp to 90% of API development time can be saved by deploying SlashDB software. With the instant availability and pay-as-you-go per-minute billing for SlashDB on Azure there is no delay to start an API project and no upfront costs for hardware, networking and software development.

SlashDB clients report $30-$40k in savings per annum per developer. Developers can often entirely avoid boiler-plate data access code in Java Enterprise Edition (JEE), Microsoft .NET, PHP, object relational mappers (ORM) or other code-heavy approaches. Repetitive work is avoided due to SlashDB’s unique ability to automatically emerge new API endpoints as new tables are added or changed in the database.

What’s New in Version 0.8

Availability

SlashDB version 0.8 is immediately available from Microsoft Azure Marketplace and for on-premises installation. Version 0.7 is also available on Amazon Web Services with the update coming soon.

UPDATE: AWS Marketplace has the latest version now too.

Databases at Scale Part Three: The Reality of Transactional Apps – The New Stack

Databases at Scale Part Three: The Reality of Transactional Apps – The New Stack

The growth of cloud computing, the transformative potential of hyperlocal and contextual products […], and the growth of mobile apps in the enterprise and beyond are all driving a need for robust database architecture that can manage real-time data transactions and analysis from high-volumes of simultaneous users accessing data around the globe. […]

“Traditional databases such as Oracle, MS SQL Server and DB2 are the cornerstone of business data management infrastructure: the so-called stores of record,” explains Victor Olex, Founder of VT Enterprise which runs SlashDB. “But in today’s world, data management has to extend beyond enterprise walls and those systems do not always work as well at web scale. While NoSQL databases offer a scalable substitute, they come with a hidden cost: time and expense required to rewrite existing business applications or at the very least to feed those new Big Data stores with important enterprise data from the stores of record.

“When it comes to leveraging investments already made in traditional databases for the purposes of web and mobile, or to connect with NoSQL, SlashDB offers a thin API facade that instantly turns SQL databases into HTTP resources, complete with authorization, search, data format conversion and caching features. As a result, previously siloed SQL data can now be obtained in JSON, XML and other formats that both NoSQL and web applications can seamlessly work with.” […]

Source: Databases at Scale Part Three: The Reality of Transactional Apps – The New Stack by Mark Boyd.

SlashDB API for Data Science vs. Tools Like Oracle BI

SlashDB API for Data Science vs. Tools Like Oracle BI

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.

Fragment of the Research DocumentOur 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.

Big Data or Linked Data?

Big Data or Linked Data?

Roberto V. Zicari, editor of ODBMS.org has recently published an interview with a practicing data scientist John Goodwin about using semantic web technologies such as RDF to cope with large amount of data in disparate sources.

Says Goodwin:

Linked data is great for data integration – a common data language makes it easy (or rather easier) to bring a number of disparate datasets together. It is also more flexible than traditional relational database technologies. (…) I find graphs to be the most natural way to think about data.

But as we pointed it out before, enterprise’s mission critical data resides in relational databases. The very reason why SlashDB was created is to make it more accessible. SlashDB is not a database but thin graph and document facades over relational data, conveniently delivered through a REST/HTTP interface in various representations.

Take a look at this example from our demo website, which exposes a database for an online music store.

Customer record can adressed as follows:
http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Customer/CustomerId/1.html

From there you can traverse along the graph’s edge to the Invoice table to show invoices related to that customer:
http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Customer/CustomerId/1/Invoice.html,

You can continue doing that to Invoice Line items then on to Track to see which songs this customer has purchased:
http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Chinook/Customer/CustomerId/1/Invoice/InvoiceLine/Track.html

Take a pause and think how much more natural this feels than writing a SQL code to say nothing of the fact that it easily fits in a browser’s address bar.

In SlashDB your journey through data begins at the root node of the graph /db.html where links to multiple databases can be provided (not shown in public demo).

At the moment SlashDB provides XML, JSON, CSV and HTML representations but RDF format is not yet supported. Please drop us line if this feature would be of interest to you. If you are interested in trying SlashDB with your databases, just head over to GET /db page here to request a free trial.

To read the full interview: On Linked Data. Interview with John Goodwin. | ODBMS Industry Watch.