As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Joseph Albahari, developer of LINQPad, about his product’s support for DataMarket, a part of Windows Azure Marketplace. Here’s what he had to say:
MSDN: How did you come to develop LINQPad?
Albahari: When Microsoft first announced LINQ, I came to realize that it was one of the best technologies that Microsoft had produced. LINQ is a significantly more productive querying language than traditional SQL. It’s simpler, tidier, higher-level, type-safe, and its queries are composable. Not having to worry about lower-level details when I write my queries is a big win. I was so impressed with LINQ that I built a tool—LINQPad—to take advantage of it. LINQPad brings the same interactive experience to LINQ that SQL Server Management Studio brings to SQL: you simply point LINQPad to a database, write a query, and hit Run. After writing LINQPad, I realized that I’d in fact written something broader than a LINQ tool—I had written a code scratchpad that executed not only LINQ queries, but any C# or Microsoft Visual Basic code snippet! LINQPad complements the Microsoft Visual Studio development system nicely: you write, test, and tune queries and code snippets interactively in LINQPad, and then paste working code right into a Visual Studio project.
MSDN: What’s been the reaction of the developer community?
Albahari: Developers have responded enthusiastically. Over the past three years, LINQPad has been downloaded around 250,000 times and has probably tens of thousands of active users.
MSDN: Tell me what brought you to support cloud-based data in LINQPad?
Albahari: Data used to exist mostly in databases on the same network. But now data has found a new home: in the cloud. LINQPad has supported Microsoft SQL Azure for some time, but there was a demand for OData [Open Data Protocol]-based services. OData is a protocol for querying and updating data across the Internet. The great thing about LINQ is that the same querying language works with a multitude of providers. So, if you know LINQ, you can write OData queries—the provider takes the same LINQ query and translates it into an OData URI [Uniform Resource Identifier] instead of SQL.
MSDN: Why did you decide to support Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket in particular?
Albahari: Having a centralized portal for OData services makes a lot of sense. In particular, it offers the potential for unified billing for premium data sources. I anticipate a growing user base, so I want to offer these people an interactive querying tool.
MSDN: What’s the basis of DataMarket support in LINQPad?
Albahari: One of the keys to supporting DataMarket in LINQPad is OData. I’d already built OData support into LINQPad by leveraging OData support within the Microsoft .NET Framework. This made it easy to write a DataMarket driver that gives developers LINQPad support for DataMarket “out of the box.” To use that support, developers choose DataMarket as a data source for LINQPad. The LINQPad software also gives them the option to sign up for DataMarket, to subscribe to datasets, and to browse for their account keys to the Microsoft service. Developers can then compose LINQ queries and execute them against DataMarket, with the results appearing immediately in LINQPad. It’s that easy.
Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008920
To read more about DataMarket, visit: https://datamarket.azure.com
As part of the Real World DataMarket series, we talked to Ellie Fields, Director of Product Marketing at Tableau Software, about using DataMarket, part of the Windows Azure Marketplace, to add premium content as a data source option in its data visualization software. Here’s what she had to say:
MSDN: Can you tell us more about Tableau Software and the products you offer?
Fields: Tableau Software offers “rapid-fire business intelligence.” Tableau has proprietary technology developed at Stanford University that enables users to drag and drop data from data sources to quickly transform text into rich data visualizations.
MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that Tableau Software faced prior to adopting DataMarket?
Fields: Data is proliferating everywhere, but it can be difficult and time-consuming for customers to find, purchase, and format data to augment their existing data sources. It’s like the Wild West of data out there, with data available everywhere and in any imaginable format. We’re always looking to improve our service offerings, but it’s a fine line—we want to deliver valuable services, but we don’t want to take our focus away from what we do best, which is data visualization.
MSDN: Can you describe how Tableau Software is using DataMarket to help tame the Wild West of data?
Fields: After the 5.0 release of Tableau Software, one of our developers coded a basic integration into DataMarket during one of our “hackathons.” We were so impressed with the opportunity to access premium content via DataMarket that we decided to include DataMarket as a data source option in our products. Now, when customers use Tableau, they see DataMarket as a data source option. They simply provide their DataMarket account key for authentication and then find the data sets they want to use. Customers can import the data into Tableau and combine that information with their own corporate data for deep business intelligence.
Figure 1: When using Tableau, customers see DataMarket as a data source option.
MSDN: What makes your solution unique and how does DataMarket play a role in that unique quality?
Fields: Unlike other data visualization software, Tableau Software gives customers the ability to simply drag and drop data to create business intelligence. Using DataMarket supports that same idea by offering premium content that is already structured and formatted, and easily available. Customers don’t have to spend valuable time seeking out and formatting the data before integrating it with their own data for rich visualizations. For example, they can add population data to their sales data to assess regions for growth.
MSDN: What kinds of benefits is Tableau Software realizing with DataMarket?
Fields: We have been able to add a valuable service for our customers—the data sets that customers can access in DataMarket are of tremendous value for creating very rich business intelligence. What’s really great is that we were able to very quickly and easily add access to DataMarket in the Tableau line of products, thanks to the DataMarket API, and did so while maintaining laser-sharp focus on our core business.
Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000009036
To learn more, visit: https://datamarket.azure.com
Happy New Year! Today we are announcing the release of a number a exciting new offerings on DataMarket – both public and commercial! Take a look at some of the great new data we have:
As we post more datasets to the site we will be sure to update you here on our blog… and be sure to check the site regularly to learn more about the latest data offerings.
- The DataMarket Team