Archive for February, 2010

Share your Visualizations!

Several of our customers have asked us if Data Applied visualizations could be embedded in any web page. Our answer until now was: sorry no, use our XML Web API to build your own. But now, you can! Simply click on a “share” button and copy /paste the URL, or embed in an IFrame. Check out our new demo center for examples of HTML embedding.

Let’s talk about the implementation. Sharing views securely is the hard part. Each visualization implements complex operations such as search results, view underlying data, tag results with comments, etc. So when you share a view, what should be allowed? When you share with a friend, you may want to allow commenting or full data retrieval. But when you share to the world, you may want to restrict access further.

To support secure sharing, we introduced the concept of restricted tickets in our platform. In short:

  • Users receive full tickets upon authentication
  • Full tickets can be converted to restricted tickets using a single API call
  • Simply pass a list of usage restrictions to apply to the restricted ticket

So for example, using the XML Web API, an authenticated user could present a valid ticket, and request a restricted ticket which:

  • Expires 5 minutes from now
  • Only allows read access to a given workspace
  • Only allows the “retrieve comments” operation

Whoever receives the restricted ticket will be able to retrieve comments for 5 minutes, but nothing else. This concept is incredibly powerful, and obviously extends beyond simple view sharing. For example, it could be used to allow third-party applications to perform a limited set of operations on your behalf. More information about the API can be found here (see “Restricting Access”).

SAS Interoperability with .NET

02/09/2010 2 comments

We just learned that Savian has released a .NET connector for SAS data sets. We can’t give more details, but apparently it was a huge man-days investment to make it happen. We heard that the SAS data format is fairly complicated, but we’re not sure whether it is because of complex metadata, because of storage optimizations, or because it was intentionally designed to be difficult to interop with. It’s true that data formats which have been around for a long time tend to get complicated because of multi-versioning and old-style binary encoding. Another perfect example of complex encoding is the Microsoft Word binary format, but at least they’ve now done the right thing and fully documented it. In any case, being able to access SAS data sets using .NET technologies is something a lot of people have been waiting for, and which will open a whole new realm of possibilities. It just makes sense!

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