Backend-as-a-Service provider Espresso Logic has continued to build on its RESTful API services this week with the launch of the new Live Browser feature. The new service allows enterprise and business customers to first convert any database into an API, and then to create an application “in 30 seconds”. VP of Business Development, Ron Kaplan, talked to ProgrammableWeb about how the new service can be used to prototype and test an API design based on a company’s existing data assets.
“This is a product everyone thinks they need but is not out there,” says Espresso Logic’s VP of Business Development, Ron Kaplan. “We are a cloud platform for building server-side applications. And we discovered we needed to make a tool to help our customers also build the front end.”
Kaplan sees the problem as being a lack of resources available for enterprise to invest in leveraging existing data assets by making them accessible through an application interface. “There are a whole series of apps that could help but they don’t get built because they are not in the top 5 apps that a business is investing in,” says Kaplan.
Espresso Logic’s new Live Browser product aims to address this gap. Built on the same technology that lets the BaaS turn stored procedures into RESTful APIs, the new Live Browser is layered upon an enterprise-class API that is built out of the box. The service allows business customers to quickly verify, test and prototype their API layer -- and then to build data-driven applications on the API. Espresso Logic see it as a ‘Visual API’: an easy way for data managers to work with their data without having to read JSON, yet having JSON under the hood when it is needed.
In Live Browser, users can interact with their SQL database elements in a visual interface, and then flip to an accompanying screen to see how those interactions would look as a series of API calls. “The beauty of this is that you can take any of these elements and use them as components,” says Kaplan. “If we want to see what is underlying all of this, you can open the REST Log and see the REST calls. For example, if I am testing my API and I want to see what happens when I change the price of a product.”
Kaplan points out that Live Browser has built-in security features to enable the database manager to set permissions levels for various user roles: “You can define sets of roles and define what objects or specifically what endpoints each specific role can access. But you can even narrow that so that there are only specific rows or columns that specific staff can access or update: it is fine-grain security authentication.”
While just moving out of beta access, Kaplan points to some initial customers who have been testing various aspects of the product. One service provider works with multiple point-of-sale systems and have found LiveBrowser to help them quickly build a console that allows them to integrate an manage a range of shopping cart systems, even where those have been designed in-house by their customers with all the quirks and individual nuances that come with that. This beta customer is now able to more quickly create new applications for their end users, now that the databases have been API-fied.
“LiveBrowser enables you to get those applications that are on the cusp: those applications that you might not build as the first 5, but that can have a huge impact on productivity,” Kaplan asserts.
By Mark Boyd. Mark is a freelance writer focusing on how we use technology to connect and interact. He writes regularly about API business models, open data, smart cities, Quantified Self and e-commerce. He can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.