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Espresso Logic releases 'Live Browser', providing an instant HTML5 user interface

by James Chesters on May 06, 2014 |

The Espresso Logic team has released a new product “Live Browser”, providing an instant HTML5 user interface for navigating databases in a master/detail format.

Live Browser promises users the ability to explore, interact with and modify data from any enterprise databases, without any programming. Espresso’s initial go to market strategy was to focus on server-side development for mobile, web and cloud, and a declarative model was developed to build cloud and on premise apps based on a REST architecture with fine grain security, Singh said.

MBaaS offerings focus on cloud technology, such as REST / JSON, and products such as DreamFactory and Kinvey create RESTful API for SQL data in the cloud. Like Espresso, these products offer a number of backend services and for the front end, and offer a single table browser capability that allows you to peruse data, a table at a time.

R. Paul Singh, CEO of Espresso Logic, said

Due to the expense and time it takes to develop out the front-end, there’s a huge backlog of internal applications that never get built. Live Browser changes that, by enabling businesses to provide on-demand access to that data right out-of-the-box on any device. With Live Browser you can build applications in minutes instantly that might take weeks or months to build manually. There are a whole range of applications that provide the business competitive advantage and productivity benefits that would otherwise not be built, but for Live Browser – they’d be too expensive the traditional way.

Singh says Espresso's approach accelerates the infrastructure and extends JavaScript with spreadsheet-like reactive programming to reduce delivery time frames by an order of magnitude, "it is a new approach, far easier and faster than possible with current methods."

Live Browser provides an instant HTML5 user interface for navigating the entire database in a master/detail format. With a UI that is customisable on-the-fly by both business users and technical staff, Espresso’s built-in role-based row/column promises what Singh refers to as “Comprehensive built-in security” protection for full read and editing support. Live Browser includes authentication manager, or users can use their own corporate authentication.

For DBAs and developers that have to maintain and update existing database and data applications, Live Browser also provides a way to explore the content and structure of the database and repair bad data. Singh says developers can use Live Browser to quickly prototype their backend applications.

Developers can use Live Browser to navigate database schema – understand tables, columns and their relationships -- and can navigate and drill down to any of the child tables. Live Browser’s behaviour is governed by the meta-data of the schema, meaning any changes made to the database Live Browser stays in sync with the schema.

Another notable feature of Live Browser is the introduction of Live Messaging, allowing either complete or a subset of the data as a hyperlink to authorized users with both read and update support.

News of Espresso Logic's release was met with some mixed reactions online. In an article on the website jooq.org, Lukas Eder wrote he was originally sceptical after reading a TechCrunch article about the release, however on further investiation he admitted to being "frankly impressed by the ideas behind this product".

On Reddit, user dventimi replied to the original post

Actually this appears to be fairly impressive and innovative technology. Not ground breaking, to be sure, but few things are. Automatic API for relational databases, declarative business logic? All of those things are potentially very useful and would be a departure from the hand tooled imperative programming treatment many applications still receive.

Longer term, Singh says Espresso plan to add capabilities that enable business users to add new fields to databases and define update logic right within Live Browser, similar to the way users currently define formulas in Excel. Singh says the thought of business users building their own apps for mobile and web, but with centralized security and backups "is a scary thought to some IT managers out there", but that there exists a class of applications where this capability is needed.

Espresso encourage InfoQ readers to go to their site, try it, and give feedback. Espresso provide a cloud-based version of the Northwind database for testing, but Singh says users arebetter off trying it with their own enterprise data.

Live Browser can be hosted in the cloud or on-premise, and developers can register for an evaluation account here.

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Why not for consumers by Javier Paniza

Congratulations to the Espresso Team, the UI for Live Browser is nice, fast and powerful.

I'm not sure if it is the ideal tool for enterprise software, maybe database experts are comfortable using SQL and for developers, well, developers love to write code.

On the other hand it can be very useful for end users, even for consumers not just enterprise. If you add the possibility of creating tables you have Access in the cloud, just the missing piece in Google Docs.

I would not use Live Browser to create a Payroll application, but maybe I would use it to create a list of my books, friends, tasks, whatever personal.

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