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OpenDataSoft Announces Major Enhancements to its Open Data Portal Platform
Press Release – OpenDataSoft
PARIS, France and CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Dec. 17, 2015
OpenDataSoft is pleased to announce major new enhancements to its dual-use open data portal and smart city data hub. With these enhancements, customers can improve branding and their user experience by fully and easily customizing the graphic design of their portal, and they can deliver more robust and flexible Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to the developers that build high-value applications on top of their data.
A Fully Customizable User Experience
While the look and feel of most open data portals can only be modified in a limited way and with considerable effort (including having to rely on client services from their portal vendor), OpenDataSoft has responded to our customer requests for a self-service interface that empowers site administrators to easily adapt their portal to their unique identity and user community using CSS and HTML edits.
The New Default Interface: Ready to Customize!
To make this customization as simple, easy and fast as possible, OpenDataSoft rewrote all of the portal interfaces from the ground up, completely separating the administrative interface from the front-end interface along the way. This frees customers to change the look and feel of their portals’ user interface without worrying about potential impacts on the back-end interface and administrative tasks.
In addition, OpenDataSoft has made a special “Theme API Key” and an open-source development kit available to customers so they could optionally allow partners (integrators, web agencies, etc.) to work on their portal’s design theme without giving them administrator access.
More Robust & Flexible APIs
OpenDataSoft has also made significant improvements in the platform’s framework for APIs, which are software code interfaces that allow external applications to safely exchange data and services with the portal. As part of the OpenDataSoft portal’s API-first design, an API is automatically generated for each dataset published, making it easy to build innovative applications on top of shared data.
To date, the OpenDataSoft platform has generated APIs in a basic HTTP/JSON format. With the recent round of enhancements, the portal now generates fully REST-compliant (or ‘RESTful’) HTTP APIs. REST, which stands for REpresentational State Transfer, is an architectural style that is simple to use yet offers superior scalability, performance and reliability.
Moreover, the RESTful APIs the OpenDataSoft platform generates are now Swagger-compliant. Swagger is a formal specification for describing and documenting RESTful APIs in a way which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of a service without having to review source code, documentation, or network traffic.
This specification and the accompanying Swagger ecosystem of tools are used widely by developers to explore APIs and generate client and server libraries in whatever language is best suited to their unique environment. With the new Swagger-defined OpenDataSoft APIs, developers can now seamlessly transition between the OpenDataSoft platform and familiar Swagger tools when building their applications.
Other new API features include an improved query language for specifying which data to pull (including new operators, improved approximate matching and support for exact matching and wildcards), the use of Virtual fields (which allows data requests based on manipulations like mathematical calculations), and Range aggregations (which allow data to be pulled according to ranges like date, time, price, etc., including ranges built on virtual field aggregations).
David Thoumas, CTO of OpenDataSoft, says the response to the enhancements to date has been highly rewarding:
“We started out four years ago to make a platform that was truly simple to deploy and use, highly flexible and extremely robust. Our API-first approach and native real-time data support set us out on the right path, and since then, our customers have continually offered valuable suggestions for taking the OpenDataSoft platform to the next level. We’re very happy to have been able to incorporate their feedback in this latest round of enhancements, and their enthusiastic response to the new features has been highly rewarding for the whole team.”
For more details about the new interface customization options, read Benoit’s latest blog post about the new generation of OpenDataSoft portals. To see some of the new API features in action, watch the video of the OpenDataSoft API Webinar. You can also download OpenDataSoft’s free API Guide filled with critical insights to help you leverage the value of your data with APIs.
Founded in 2011, OpenDataSoft develops a turnkey SaaS platform designed for smart and easy transformation of all types of data into innovative services (APIs, data visualizations, real-time monitoring). Our mission: make it easier for business users to publish, share and reuse data.
Headquartered in Paris, France, OpenDataSoft powers data sharing portals for customers such as the City and County of Durham, the City of Paris and the Paris Regional Government, the City of Brussels, Veolia, m2ocity, the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Total, and the French National Railway Company.