The Data Droppable Website - what is it?
A Data Droppable Website let's content and data (information) get pushed to the website, and the website then consumes this content with a degree of intelligence to decide how and where it gets displayed.
This conceptual leap from websites requiring complicated APIs and content management portals to data ready platforms requiring minimal management offers a competitive advantage to organisations. It lowers the cost of ownership for these organisations.
Why your website needs to be a data droppable website
1 - You don't want to use significant resources maintaining and updating website content
If you want to get on with running your business, you don't want to spend all your time maintaining your website through a content management system. Whilst there will be a need to do this - it should not consume most of your resources.
2 - You should be spending more time on platforms other than your website, growing the brand and business
Traffic to your website is your ultimate goal. The Search Engine Optimisation - if done correctly, will bring traffic to your website. Organic SEO can take years and so a very important part of growing your online presence is to feature on other platforms. Having a social media presence is important and can peak interest in your brand.
3 - You are a data focused company but don't want to spend significant sums of capital on developing the website
A website which is capable of accepting data in different formats, without needing APIs or major front-end development will achieve a higher Return on Investment (ROI).
4 - Data Droppable Websites have a shorter implementation time
Remember, the sooner your website is online, the sooner SEO web crawlers are scouring your website helping to index your website. Admittedly, certain data is client-side scripts, but companies providing Data Droppable Websites can figure out ways to help with SEO.
5 - Data Droppable Websites lowers the learning curve
Any system which has multiple user interfaces for managing content are another thing for team members to understand. Whilst software engineers are more than capable of learning this, it still takes time. Allowing software engineers to publish information in specific formats reduces the overhead in updating information.
6 - Rich Dashboards and Data Visualisations are out of the box
Droppable Data Websites are more to do with adding generic visualisations to interpret content and data, rather than developing specific screens for specific data. This separation between bespoke and dynamic development gives surprising flexibility for lower cost.
7 - Data Droppable Websites are a philosophy rather than a technology owned by one company
Anybody can take the approach we have. Whilst our code is proprietary, we are to be releasing some open source examples on our github repository by the second quarter of 2022 - https://github.com/inforhino/Data-Droppable-Websites
Watch this space.
About our Droppable Data Website implementation in ASP.Net MVC Core?
We were working on a property (real estate) platform. It involves a significant data capture, data processing, and we were stuck with the problem of how to avoid continually developing new end points.
It was obvious that building new ASP.Net MVC Web Controllers per report, developing substantial ETL solutions in SSIS, and significant dashboard development would be too expensive. Unstructured data sources are fragile and can break traditional ETL.
We found the time taken maintaining content to be a burden too. The more content we can have the potential of automating from upstream systems, the better.
Report Manager library
We elected to build libaries in C#/ASP.Net Core to classify data as different report types - we call this our Report Manager. The Report Manager handles not only classifying the data, but additionally performs the following;
- Creates lists of values for filtering
- Converts json datasets into typed data for passing to a document database (NoSQL - we use LiteDB and persist this in memory)
- Generates the query to return data
- Accepts configuration for matching data by native data type, column names, and column name mapping (Think ETL SSIS)
- Identifies conforming dimensions - those which have the same name and the same values - think in terms of finding tube stations (dimension) and finding all reports for Bank and St Pauls to display separately.
Data Views which are self-discovery and self-service Business Intelligence focused
Within our .Net Core ASP.Net Website we built dynamic dashboards using Partial views and View Components which contain dynamic;
We use leaflet.js, chart.js, DataTables.net, and Westwind's Markdown library amongst other things to dynamically load data into our dashboard.
Caching built in
We cache our final data including our database - which may incur memory hits, but we have options to overcome this - scaling out the .Net Core Distributed cache and/or moving away from LiteDB to SQL Server or MongoDB or any other enterprise level non-embedded database. We use Dependency Injection so this is perfectly possible.
How does the data get to the website?
Data is physically dropped on disk. We suggest exposing certain folders via FTP to trusted users. An example could be to give each customer a sub folder.
- Json Data - flattened datasets
- Markdown files - placed in entity folders and topic subfolders
Card folders - Artefacts are dropped in at the Domain, Entity, Topic levels
Images - if named the same as card item content, it will be displayed in-card.
json card format files containing content for display
Documents are coming soon
Wrapping up on our top 7 reasons why we want a Data Droppable Website
If you find this mystifying, don't worry. We hope to relaunch more information on this in due course. We will be re-releasing our property platform soon which will have working examples of this.
For now, understand that our own Limited Company website is using our Data Droppable capabilities https://www.inforhino.co.uk/articles#Website-Technologies
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