web development

Ho! Ho! Ho! SlashDB is now FREE for Developers (Naughty or Nice)

Ho! Ho! Ho! SlashDB is now FREE for Developers (Naughty or Nice)

Whether you have been naughty or nice this year we have something special for you. We are making the latest version of SlashDB available FREE forever for all developers ahead of the official release.

So, hit that download button and become the API super-hero today.

SlashDB automatically turns databases into full featured, multi-representational, hypermedia REST APIs. Use it as a massive shortcut for building backends for web or mobile app or to modernize legacy systems for cloud computing.

In case of any questions holler on StackOverflow.

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.

 

SlashDB Helps Aruba Win #1 Spot in Digital Marketing Index

SlashDB Helps Aruba Win #1 Spot in Digital Marketing Index

Together with ConceptFarm, a leading digital marketing agency in New York, we are delighted to share with you the recent success of our client, Aruba.com.

Caribbean & Co. reports that the happy island of Aruba ranks No. 1 out of 35 Caribbean islands for overall “destination marketing index 2015.” Aruba also ranks No. 1 out of 10 Caribbean islands for Instagram reach, boasting an impressive 23,000 followers, double the number of the runner up. The marketing index ranking was derived by a proprietary weighing of various data, including social media followings, website inbound links, 3rd party rankings, and more (…)

Solidifying its position as the most digitally innovative DMMO, the ATA recently launched The Happiness Builder – a content-rich planning experience (…)

Quick Start With SlashDB

SlashDB connects website to databaseWhen the design team at ConceptFarm outlined their ideas for Aruba’s Happiness Builder it quickly became evident that such an innovative site would need to be custom built. Featuring video clips of nearly 100 attractions housed under six categories, the site allows visitors to create and share custom video “itineraries” of their Aruba vacation, complete with personalized messages and a choice of sound tracks.

The honor of programming of the site was awarded to VT Enterprise (the company that created SlashDB) after a highly competitive Request for Proposal process. Victor Olex, founder and CEO commented:

The sheer scope of the project and the need to launch the site in time for the contest was not a job your neighborhood web developer or digital marketing agency could do by themselves. We took the challenge and delivered on every idea the creative team threw at us.

VTE’s team utilized database design methodologies found in professional enterprise information systems and coupled that with API automation from SlashDB. SlashDB provided an instant API gateway to MySQL, which was the database already in use at Aruba.com. This combination formed the bedrock of the solution and the back-end for the web application.

Focus on User Experience

Once an API layer was in place, the development team focused on delivering the rich interactive features and stunning visuals conceptualized by the creative team. HTML5, advanced Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), and the JavaScript library, AngularJS, were key components in the front-end development process. OpenStreetMap combined with styling from Stamen and Leaflet library rounded off the technology stack and allowed for the innovative special effects on the map of the island. Adds Olex:

Every time our back-end team needed to make a change to the database, SlashDB instantly provided our front-end developers with an API ready for use. In the end we found that the entire site required literally ZERO lines of code in the back-end. SlashDB truly surpassed our own expectations.

At VTE, we view the finished product as one our greatest accomplishments in digital marketing production. This project was richly rewarding as it allowed our developers to explore new concepts and deliver a product that is truly remarkable for both its visuals and dynamic use of technology. We are happy to share the finished product on behalf of our client and hope that this new site will help to inspire plans for your next vacation.

Aruba Happiness Builder - Explore by Map

SlashDB Can Turn Any Data Source Into A Website – TechCrunch

SlashDB Can Turn Any Data Source Into A Website – TechCrunch

Most programmers like two things: pizza and things that make their work easier. That’s why I was especially interested in SlashDB, a product that purports to turn any data source into accessible XML, JSON, or HTML. Created by programmer Victor Olex, the system allows you to connect almost any data to the web in a few seconds with a REST API.

Source: SlashDB Can Turn Any Data Source Into A Website by John Biggs, East Coast Editor, TechCrunch

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 Launches a YouTube Channel

SlashDB Launches a YouTube Channel

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.

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.

SlashDB Adds Support for 3Scale API Management Service

SlashDB Adds Support for 3Scale API Management Service

powered-by-3scale-croppedWe are pleased to officially announce that we have added support for 3Scale API Management service in SlashDB.

Powerful Technology Combination

With /db‘s capability to generate API on the Fly™ directly from databases this level integration creates the most powerful combo to quickly and reliably launch, manage and safeguard REST/HTTP APIs. API metering, billing and developer portal management are only some of the features that 3Scale’s platform provides. But an API management service cannot build an API for you – that is what SlashDB does.

In the past this kind of integration required manual modifications to proxy configuration files, which although powerful can be cumbersome to do. Now, all that is required is to use 3Scale web-based GUI for proxy configuration to generate required files, which then can be simply uploaded to SlashDB. Of course, manual tweaking of the files is still possible so SlashDB clients get the best of both worlds so to speak.

API Keys

Related to 3Scale integration, added is the support for authentication with API keys. SlashDB has always allowed for stateless authentication using HTTP Basic Authentication but many developers are accustomed to the convention of an API key. SlashDB now supports both a singular API Key (user key) or a pair of Application ID and Application Key. The keys can be associated with SlashDB accounts (users), which in turn govern access to data resources and system features. For making API calls authentication keys can be provided as HTTP headers or in a URL query string.

Immediate Benefits

There is no faster way to an API than from one’s database and SlashDB excels at making the connection, thanks to these key features and benefits:

  • API on the Fly™ with multiple resource representations to suit every purpose
  • Data Discovery and search readiness to visually orient developer or analyst in data resources available
  • SQL Pass-thru to leverage the full power of database querying capabilities in API
  • Authentication, resource authorization and encryption to control who gets to see what
  • Leverages investments already made in databases for seamless integration with HTML5, mobile, NoSQL and Big Data analytics

Enterprises, web businesses, data vendors, data scientists, quantitative analysts, DBAs, mobile enterprise applications developers and other user groups all derive unique benefits from SlashDB.

How can /db upgrade your data infrastructure? Learn about solutions and try it risk-free on your databases.

SlashDB Recognized a Business App of the Month by NYETM

We are very pleased to announce that SlashDB has been recognized the Business App of The Month by New York Enterprise Tech Meetup and will be demonstrated at the event tomorrow.

SlashDB seamlessly connects databases to authorized web, mobile and enterprise applications so that database content can be accessed in a uniform way from just about anywhere. The product has applications in master data management, data virtualization, data publishing APIs and mobile enterprise apps among others.

The New York Enterprise Tech Meetup is a monthly forum where innovation-seeking executives and venture investors meet cutting edge technology firms to freely network and learn from each other. Every month a select group of enterprise technology firms is asked to present at the event.

SlashDB ver. 0.7 Released, Improved UX and Admin Functions

SlashDB version 0.7 has just come out. This time, improvements focus on three things: user experience,  robust system administrator functionality and enhanced authorization mechanisms. Try the new SlashDB and you will appreciate the benefits of data accessibility from anywhere.

Here’s what’s new in 0.7:

For data scientists, business analysts

SlashDB has this dual personality. It is the API developer’s best tool to incorporate databases into his/her web or mobile apps but the equally important aspect of the system addresses the needs of data scientists, business analysts and rapid application developers.  Using SlashDB they get straightforward access to relevant data in its unobstructed form. Thanks to our latest GUI enhancements the web interface is now even more user friendly. New, responsive design allows for comfortable browsing through data on mobile devices while automatically generated, drill-down, filtering and sorting links help casual user discover the data and system’s functionality on the fly. As before you can use your favorite data analysis tools such as Excel, Matlab, SAS, R etc. to work with live data referenced by /db URLs.

For system administrators

Previously most settings would require editing configuration files on the server. We still have that option but since version 0.7 nearly all settings can be made in the web GUI or via a REST API. New authorization schemes now allow even greater flexibility in creating user segments with distinct permissions to data and system functions. Special users “admin” and “public” have been added. The former has full permissions to all system functions. The latter can be configured to offer limited access without requiring a login.

For CTO/CIO and software architects

Using SlashDB as a mobile enterprise application backend or to build an API is a sensible choice. Not only can you instantly leverage prior investments in databases but also remain in full control of your solution. That is because unlike SaaS offerings SlashDB can work in your data center or in your private cloud. See also this blog post.

User Experience in ver. 0.7

User Experience in ver. 0.7