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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.

Is Software as a Service a Good Choice for Your Business?

Is Software as a Service a Good Choice for Your Business?

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 illustration - cloud with lighting.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.

Data Silos

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.

SlashDB Sponsors National Day of Civic Hacking

SlashDB Sponsors National Day of Civic Hacking

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.

Hackathon, Jersey City, National Day of Civic Hacking

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.

SlashDB Airzooka Raffle at PyData

SlashDB Airzooka Raffle at PyData

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.

http://vimeo.com/79936618

How Bloomberg Uses REST APIs

How Bloomberg Uses REST APIs

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.

bloomberg-leaderboard

 

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.

Traditionally, data-driven  web pages respond to users input (clicks) by requesting from the web server a fully prepared page, coded in HTML for the browser to render. This typically results with reloading of the entire page upon each interaction or (more recently) with replacing fragments of existing HTML with new ones. In contrast, Bloomberg’s site uses REST/HTTP API to get raw data, which the browser then combines with a shell HTML page using Javascript and Cascading Style Sheets.

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.

20 Business Models for Web APIs and How to Be Ready

20 Business Models for Web APIs and How to Be Ready

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.

http://www.slideshare.net/jmusser/j-musser-apibizmodels2013

Leaders From FullContact, Ancestry.com, Urban Mapping and SlashDB Discuss the Future of Data

Leaders From FullContact, Ancestry.com, Urban Mapping and SlashDB Discuss the Future of Data

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:

APIs and The Future of Data @ APIStrat. For more videos from the conference head over to YouTube.

Double Applause for SlashDB at NYETM

Double Applause for SlashDB at NYETM

The video of our presentation at the last NY Enterprise Technology has been published on YouTube.

roa-beyond-one-enterprise-no-title-tinySlashDB is presented in context of systems of engagement. We discuss how to construct a uniform data architecture spanning enterprise and web.

Enterprise CIOs employ /db’s resource-oriented architecture to overcome data silos and shorten time to market for new business processes. Mobile enterprise application developers save time with /db used as gateway to legacy databases and can focus on engaging and value-adding business features.

Mobile App in a few clicks using SlashDB and KendoUI

As a quick experiment this afternoon, we clicked our way through a tutorial to KendoUI and modified it slightly to show data from the SlashDB demo instance. As you can see in the picture a simulated iOS app is displaying data from a SlashDB URL.

Data from SlashDB shown in KendoUI app.

Data from SlashDB shown in KendoUI app.

There are two code parts that make up the app.

1. Declarative HTML5 application layout

<!--Add Mobile App HTML --></pre>
<div data-role="view">
<div data-role="header">
<div data-role="navbar">Northwind Customers</div>
</div>
</div>
<pre>

2. JavaScript initialization and data fetch code

//Mobile App Initialization Code
var ds = new kendo.data.DataSource({
    transport: {
       read: {
            url: "http://demo.slashdb.com/db/Northwind/Customer/CompanyName.json?limit=41",
            dataType: "json"
        }
    },
});

ds.read();
window.ds = ds;
var app = new kendo.mobile.Application(document.body);

SlashDB Applauded at PyData Conference

SlashDB lightning talk at the PyData conference was received with a round of applause. Please contact us to discuss /db features in context of your work or to schedule a dedicated presentation.