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Information Can Be Sold and Bought in “Dallas”

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Microsoft’s service codename “Dallas” is an information marketplace bringing together data, imagery and service providers and their consumers facilitating information exchange through a single point of access.

“Dallas” has been built with and on top of Windows Azure platform, the service consisting of three main components:

  • Information Discovery – discovering and consuming structured and blob datasets available to any application on any platform.
  • Brokerage – facilitates partnership between information providers and organizations interested in consuming it.
  • Analytics and Reporting – provides data analysis and reporting.

Data can be accessed through a REST-based API, but C# proxy classes provide an object model facilitating access from within any .NET program. Services provide their data as ATOM feeds or in a tabular form. Data can be also loaded into Excel through PowerPivot. “Dallas” will soon provide data through SQL Server and SQL Azure queries.

Developers have the possibility to investigate existing content and develop their applications without paying royalties but they need to request an account before being able to start programming.

Microsoft Pinpoint is the materialization of the “Dallas” project. It currently contains data from four countries - India, Netherland, UK, and US –, filed under three main sections – companies, applications, services – each containing several hundred of items. Data is organized in a number of categories - Sales, Security, Computer, Internet, Communication, Financial Management, Training, etc. -, each category being further organized in sub-categories.

Practically, “Dallas” solves a difficult problem: consuming services from different providers, each with his own delivery interface, and helps consumers meet their providers in one place, with one API and one programming model.

More resources: Dallas Introductory Video, Dallas Learning Course, Dallas Team Blog.

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