systems of record

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.

Flashback Friday: Computer Scientist Who Invented Debugging

Flashback Friday: Computer Scientist Who Invented Debugging

This week at SlashDB we honor Grace Hopper as our Flashback Friday forebear. Hopper is one of the most accomplished and well-known computer scientists in history – having famously popularized the terms “bug” and “debugging” 1 we so often use today.

While many remember Hopper only for her association with these terms, her accomplishments in the field of computer science are equally memorable. Hopper was one of the first programmers in history – a singular distinction that makes her worthy of our attention.

So let’s flashback and remember the many amazing achievements of Hopper – sometimes known by the nickname “Amazing Grace” 2 for her remarkable contributions to computer science.

Hopper began her career as a mathematics professor at Vassar, having earned her PhD in mathematics at Yale.3 In 1943, during World War II, she joined the United States Naval Reserve and was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. While there she worked on one of the first computers, Mark I, which computed mathematical tables used for the Manhattan Project.4

Hopper's logbook with the moth ("bug") displayed.

Hopper’s logbook with the moth (“bug”) displayed.

After WWII Hopper remained at Harvard as a research fellow and worked extensively with the Mark II and Mark III computers. It was while working on Mark II that Hopper popularized the term “bug.” Hopper reportedly loved recounting the story of the night the computer stopped working and after much troubleshooting it was discovered that a moth caught in one of the relays was the cause of the problem5 – an actual bug in the system – and presto our favorite computer term was born. Had Hopper not felt the patriotic duty to serve her country, we may not be bandying about the term “bug” in reference to computer glitches – which we can all agree would diminish our lives.

Hopper’s most lasting contribution to computer science (other than the anecdotal hilarity of the origin of “bug”) was made later in her career while working at Remington Rand, where in 1952 she developed the first compiler.6 Two years later her team delivered the first compiler-based programming languages, FLOW – MATIC and MATH – MATIC. Hopper’s FLOW – MATIC language was later extended and re-developed into COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language).7 While many have never heard of COBOL, it is the forebear of English-like syntax programming languages like SQL.

Hopper had a strong belief that programming languages should be as easy to read as English. Her efforts to make this a reality are truly outstanding. Hopper’s leadership in developing programming languages like COBOL is the reason why programmers now use if/then statements in place of the 0s and 1s in binary code.8 This influence paved the way for highly readable programming languages like Python and Ruby that we use today.

Hopper was all about simplicity and efficiency, qualities that we work to achieve at SlashDB. Like Hopper we want not only solutions and results, but the simplest solutions and the most dynamic results. That’s why we spend so much time listening to our customers’ views and ideas – tracking down and “debugging” any imperfections to meet the needs of our users. At SlashDB we deeply admire Hopper’s pioneering work and strive to emulate her visionary leadership.

The USS Hopper at sea.

The USS Hopper at sea.

We can’t claim to be the only ones to admire and applaud Hopper for her contributions. Hopper retired from the Navy for the final time in 1986, at the age of 80 (YOLO and Hopper was truly determined to make the most of her time – she went on to work at Digital Equipment Corporation until her death in 19929). At her retirement ceremony she was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat award given by the Department of Defense.10 In addition to this Hopper has a U.S. Military vessel named after her, the USS Hopper,11 a distinction held by very few women. She is also a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (the second woman to be given this award) and is the first ever recipient of the Computer History Museum Fellow Award.12

Hopper’s contributions and memory remain very much alive today, despite her death more than 20 years ago. We continually evoke her lively spirit whenever we claim that there’s a “bug” in the system. Let’s hope that in another 20 years this small part of Hopper is still alive.

 


  1. “The Queen of Code,” NPR, accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/03/07/390247203/grace-hopper-the- queen-of-code-would-have-hated-that-title.
  1. KeriLynn Engel, “Admiral “Amazing Grace” Hopper, Pioneering Computer Programmer,”Amazing Women in History, accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/amazing-grace-hopper-computer-programmer/.
  1. “Grace Hopper Biography” Biography.com, accessed October 4, 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/grace-hopper-21406809#later-years-and-legacy.
  1. Cohen, Bernard (2000). Howard Aiken, Portrait of a Computer Pioneer. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  1. KeriLynn Engel, “Admiral “Amazing Grace” Hopper, Pioneering Computer Programmer,”Amazing Women in History, accessed October 7, 2015.  http://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/amazing-grace-hopper-computer-programmer/.
  1. Ogilvie, Marilyn and Joy Harvey (2000). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science:  Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid- 20th Century. New York: Routledge.
  1. Ibid.
  1. KeriLynn Engel, “Admiral “Amazing Grace” Hopper, Pioneering Computer Programmer, Amazing Women in History, accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/amazing-grace-hopper-computer-programmer/
  1. Ibid.
  1. Ibid.
  1. “Grace Hopper Biography” Biography.com, accessed October 4, 2015.  http://www.biography.com/people/grace-hopper-21406809#later-years-and-legacy.
  1. “Grace Hopper – Computer History Museum Fellow Award Recipient”. Computerhistory.org, accessed October 4, 2015.

 

Flashback Friday: Charles Bachman

Flashback Friday: Charles Bachman

We currently live in a world filled with technological possibilities. Computers and software like SlashDB help us in our daily lives by providing us with information, helping us track information, and storing information – streamlining our lives, allowing us to work smarter, not harder. Flashback Friday is about acknowledging our computer science forebears, remembering their innovation and leadership, and honoring them for their accomplishments.

So let’s flashback and remember the contributions of Charles Bachman – inventor of the first database management system, an achievement that makes him uniquely qualified to be our first Flashback Friday forebear.

Charles Bachman, while not as well-known as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (whose death has done nothing to diminish his media presence), is still a true leader in the field of computer science. Bachman was developing software before developers were a thing. In fact he is credited with creating the first database management system ever in 1963 while working at General Electric.1

Bachman created the Integrated Data Store (IDS), a database management system that is still influential today. One of the most striking facts about Bachman is that his ideas about databases, now more than 50 years old, are conceptually similar to today’s API and linked data. In fact SlashDB implements his concept, albeit using modern technology (SQL database for a backend and HTTP for transport protocol).

Bachman’s visionary database management system allowed files to be located and modified without the need for the programs to be rewritten when accessing files. IDS accomplished this feat by using a separate data dictionary which allowed users to track data and study relationships between data in different records. 2 For example data on clients and data on manufacturing orders could be easily compared and tracked. This was an innovative movement toward integrating varied types of data that allowed the computer to become a tool for managing information.

Interestingly enough, SlashDB is not the only one making use of Bachman’s ideas today. Database designers even now rely on graphical tools or data structure diagrams to illustrate the complex data structures they use.3 These diagrams are called Bachman diagrams as he was the first to use this method.

An example of a Bachman diagram.

An example of a Bachman diagram.

So after his amazing contribution to the field of computer science, why hasn’t a film about Bachman been made – a tale of the strikingly innovative computer geek in the tradition of The Social Network and the soon to be released Steve Jobs film? There’s no clear answer to this. We can only hope that Bachman has a sufficiently emotionally complicated backstory to warrant such a film – fingers crossed.

So let’s take a moment to examine the man behind this huge contribution to computer science.

Charles Bachman was an engineer rather than a computer scientist, although his greatest contribution is to computer science rather than engineering. Bachman’s exceptional contribution to database technology hasn’t gone completely unnoticed (despite the absence of a film chronicling his invention). In 1973 Bachman became the 8th recipient of the A.M. Turing Award 4– the highest honor in the field of computer science, and doubly appropriate as an homage to Turing himself (an undoubtedly influential computer scientist – who incidentally has three films, a documentary, a play, and a novel based on him) and for its closeness to the word turning, as recipients’ work represents a specific turning point in the field of computer science.

While a film on Bachman has not yet been made, he is far from being forgotten. In 2014 President Barack Obama awarded Bachman the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.5 Let’s hope that a movie is soon to follow this huge honor.


  1. Thomas Haigh, “Fifty Years of Databases,” ACM SIGMOD Blog, December 11, 2012. http://wp.sigmod.org/?p=688.
  2. Thomas Haigh, “A.M. Turing Award Winners,” ACM, accessed September 17, 2015. http://amturing.acm.org/award_winners/bachman_1896680.cfm.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Thomas Haigh, “Fifty Years of Databases,” ACM SIGMOD Blog, December 11, 2012. http://wp.sigmod.org/?p=688.
  5. “Charles W. Bachman,” Computer History Museum, accessed September 17, 2015. http://www.computerhistory.org/fellowawards/hall/bios/Charles,Bachman/.
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.

Database Gateway for Mobile and Web Apps

Many organizations are now building dedicated mobile solutions and most of them will face a dilemma of how to access internal databases on those devices. Direct connection is not an option due to firewalls and neither is VPN because phones can go out of network coverage at any moment. Some fall back on periodic synchronization when the device is back in office but that is like going back 20 years to the old PDA days. In order to access the data in real time a web service needs to be developed. That has proven to be neither easy nor cheap nor fast to accomplish.

It all changes with SlashDB.

Once installed next to a web server, SlashDB connects internal databases to authorized mobile and web applications. Technically speaking, it automatically constructs a REST/HTTP web service, which makes database content accessible by URLs for reading and writing, under compatible data formats.

Using SlashDB, enterprises can create meaningful systems of engagements themselves or in partnerships with clients or 3rd party developers.

Diagram depicts SlashDB installed in DMZ

SlashDB as a Data Gateway (click to enlarge)

The benefits of HTTP APIs go beyond just modernizing the technology infrastructure and translate to competitive advantage for one’s business.

For example, an executive could negotiate a better deal by having an up to date inventory data on hand. The inventory itself could be accurately calculated because purchase orders were captured on the fly from distributor’s outside salesperson’s device into company’s database.

Systems or engagement are about interaction, in the moment updates and sharing but they make business sense only if they can work with and leverage prior investments made into the systems of record. SlashDB makes the connection.