Pushbutton Data Hub for the Real-time Web

Remember when browser clients were display-only windows? When all the processing was done on dedicated application servers and the browser was merely the rendering engine for the output? This changed with the advent of AJAX, FLEX and other client environments that offered an application processing framework on the client-side. Applications built in these “Rich Client” frameworks offered a much improved user experience and has come to dominate the application landscape.

Apstrata is a complimentary idea on the server side. We are providing an equivalent leap in providing a Rich Cloud environment to use as a back end to your Rich Client application.

Client2Cloud

Traditionally, if you have a web client application which requires persistent data you have needed to build and run code on an application server somewhere to act as a middleman to store and retrieve that data. Likewise, if you need to manage and authenticate users, and provide access security for user data, you will need application server code to provide this functionality.

With the Rich Cloud services found in Apstrata we can, in many cases, eliminate the need for the application server. In addition to providing a direct API to the persistent data store, Apstrata has user management, user authentication, and access control as native functions of the service.

This is a greatly simplified architecture. And simplicity has its benefits:

Less code to develop and maintain. Obviously, less code means less cost, less opportunity for errors and faster time to market.

Less operational complexity. By using Apstrata, instead of dedicated application and database servers, you offload the tasks (and associated costs) of server acquisition, maintenance, troubleshooting and sizing. Again, less work and quicker time to market.

Pusbutton Data Hub

Apstrata enables application data to go beyond the static store and retrieve functions. We have a rich palette of features that application developers can use to make their data “live” and “integrated”, without the need for dedicated application servers.

  • Event-driven Scriplets. It is common for an application to need to perform some action based upon a change in state of the data stored in the database. Apstrata provides for the developer to create Scriplets which are stored in Apstrata and are executed on certain pre-defined conditions. For example, if the application stores a raw video file, the developer can install a Scriplet which automatically calls an encoding function to transcode that file in the appropriate file formats and then store the transcoded files with the raw file in the database.
  • Web Hooks and the Pushbutton Web. One of the more exciting developments in the Web is the concept of the Pushbutton Web. Simply put, this allows for realtime, push style integration between and among cooperating Web services. The old paradigm was based on polling and is very inefficient, as well as inducing a great deal of latency. The Pushbutton Web is a simple mechanism for enabling a realtime web which responds to changes in the state of underlying data. Apstrata provides for a Web Hook style integration point. For example, in the case of the transcoding script shown above, an Apstrata Scriplet can post to an external service – either a public service like Twitter or Facebook, or a private service like a Client or Partner service – and announce the availability of the newly transcoded files.
  • Publishing Custom APIs. To fully participate in the realtime Pushbutton Web, an application developer would want to publish an API call that external services can use as a Web Hook. The Apstrata Scriplet provides an easy mechanism for doing just that. The Apstrata API supports calling a Scriplet directly from the HTTP Post transaction. This, in effect, provides the developer the ability to publish APIs directly from the Apstrata Data Hub.

Michael Liss

Apstrata

Mike has over 20 years experience bringing products to market in companies ranging in size from startups to $1 billion in sales. Mike has held senior positions in Product Strategy, Product Management, Marketing, Sales and Operations. He has been a co-founder of a successful software business, Coral Systems, and a successful consulting business, Consensio.

Ryan Murray

apstrata / element^n

Ryan has been the chief architect for Element^N for the past 7 years and is responsible for the design and implementation of the technology platform which underpins both Element^N and Apstrata. Prior to Element^N, Ryan worked as the Director of Engineering for The Net Planet, s.p.a., an innovative search technology startup in Milan, Italy where he was responsible for the productization of their search technology.

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