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Set your SQL data free through dashDB service interfaces

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When we announced general availability of our flagship IBM dashDB data warehousing and analytics service in the cloud last year at the IBM Insight conference, we promised to the audience that we will not just make it the most easy to use analytic tool in the cloud but also we will continuously add features and functionalities that add value to business users, data developer and data scientists.

Since then we have introduced several new analytic models including k-means clustering and decision tree analysis. Take a look at Bluemix dashDB documentation for samples and trial runs. We have also been listening closely to hundreds of our dashDB customers and thousands of our community developers on what they like and what they like to have in the service. Data engineers want to see data set free so they can develop cool applications using the corporate data.

Why you should set your data free

Let’s look at the benefit of setting data free:

  • Sunlight Data Services project connected citizens to their legislators and lawmakers; Congress API provides data about legislators, bills, committees, even real time hearings 
  • Weather Underground provides reliable weather data, forecast globally in 80 languages
  • Federal and local government free up data to bring transparency to the people
  • US Census bureau opens up data on people and businesses so it can be used for policy making and also for economic development.

Sure, these are good examples, but why should you open up your business data? What benefits do you get by doing that? Consider these factors:

  • Most of the business and transaction data is locked up in SQL databases
  • JDBC and ODBC access to the SQL database have limitations
  • These protocols do not have networks nor they are language neutral
  • They are also not friendly to the new breed of client tools that are used to develop modern applications.

In other words, your data doesn’t become information until it’s readily accessible.

REST APIs are the answer

REST / JSON is a great way to provide a common data access layer that can be accessed from any language. REST is based on familiar GET, POST, PUT and DELETE and JSON is a simple protocol. Take a quick look at the RESTful access to the Nobel prize committee organization provides: api.nobelprize.org/v1/laureate.json.  The endpoint returns a JSON response:

Which can easily be rendered in the form desired:

Class of works by education

We have brought the similar ideas in dashDB analytic service where all your SQL Data and R analytic models are REST enabled now. This means you all developers can now use your favorite Web framework or mobile back-end as a service tool to develop cool applications easily.

Sample code to get you started

My colleague Miguel Gonzalez at IBM has developed one cool mobile app and open sourced it here at CDSLab Github. He is a big fan of Node.js and Ionic framework; his app shows how easy it is to plug-in the REST endpoints we created for dashDB and enable access to the business data on mobile phone. The another cool thing he demonstrates in his app is to browse the sample R models that come with the dashDB service and ability to execute them. Think of this as the power of running a predictive modeling app or just a data visualization app on the data that is being refreshed every day or every hour. Hope you will experience the power of dashDB in Bluemix today and appreciate even more why we set your data free!

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