Increasingly popular Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture is ideally suited for integrating data
services with Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, says the leader of start up intent on bringing easier data access to workers throughout the enterprise.
This week, SnapLogic Inc., provider of a REST-based open source data integration platform, announced a Salesforce.com Solution Pack for integrating data into the popular customer relationship management (CRM) SaaS offering. The SnapLogic software is a set of drag-and-drop tools designed to allow business users with limited programming skills to integrate data inside and outside their companies firewall into the SaaS application, said Chris Marino, chief executive officer.
The underlying REST style makes this relatively simple by assigning URIs to data sources, accessing them via HTTP and then performing for basic commands GET, PUT, DELETE, POST, he said. Earlier this summer, SnapLogic introduced a similar extension of its platform for the SaaS offerings from SugarCRM.
Explaining how the new product can be used to both access data and perform basic computational functions, Marino said: "The SnapLogic server is an execution environment for components. The components could [indicate] 'read a SOA endpoint,' or 'read a database.' But the components could also be things like 'filter this data set' or 'concatenate these two strings' or 'sort based on a keyword.' So there are access components and then there are transformational or logical components."
Creating data services for integration to SaaS applications is done by assigning a new URI to the data source, he said.
"When they do that, they create a REST resource, and that resource has a URI that is used to access it, creating a data service" Marino explained. "When I create that resource it actually lives at a URI. The URI is actually the location of the server that I'm running SnapLogic on, and I can give it a path name. If I configure that and save that to the SnapLogic server, that is an exposed RESTful data service. I can point my browser right to that URI that I specified for that resource and bring the data right into my browser."
Once that is set up, data access is done by issuing an HTTP GET command, he said.
"So for example, if you have a database reader and you give it a URI, I can point my browser to that URI and I can get that data," Marino. "I can execute a query and get the results in my browser.
Beyond data access, logical operations also can be triggered using the REST approach.
The data services can be linked to basic computational functions so information can be accessed, sorted or processed by the logical component and then written to the end user's browser. An example for requesting a sales report might link REST interactions for accessing monthly sales dollar amounts, sorting the data by sales representative and then writing out the results.
"With respect to data services," Marino said, "we can expose the data as a RESTful HTTP endpoint, and anything that can issue an HTTP GET can access that, which would trigger the execution of that logic to deliver the data to the requestor."
The SnapLogic Salesforce.com Solution Pack will be available as a free download from www.snaplogic.com beginning Aug. 18, according to the company.