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NEW! Connect to any data source with Flexmonster

With every new version, we do our utmost for you to enjoy Flexmonster all the more. The motto of 2.8 release is ‘more flexibility, more performance, fewer limitations.’

Striving to provide you with more ways to work with our front-end data visualization tool seamlessly, we’re thrilled to introduce the Flexmonster custom data source API.

Modesty aside, it is a true gem of our 2.8 release. 💎

From now on, Flexmonster offers a more flexible way to connect to custom data sources.

Custom means you can load data from any data stores: databases, warehouses, search engines, and mixed data sources that are not supported by Flexmonster directly out of the box.

We believe this novelty will open new horizons on working with data.

Intrigued?

Go ahead to learn more.

What is the custom data source API?

The Flexmonster custom data source API is a communication protocol that allows exchanging aggregated data between your data layer and Flexmonster Pivot Table & Charts.

The newly introduced API presents a completely groundbreaking way to work with Flexmonster Pivot Table & Charts. At its core lies the idea to make communication between Flexmonster and your back end flexible and powerful, i.e., without limits on the data source behind the app.

Wishes of our clients and users have inspired us to walk through the entire way from the concept to the API’s creation. So, for many of them, this is a long-awaited feature.

Why the custom data source API

We’d like to highlight the main benefits the approach with using the API brings to your web development and data analysis.

The advantages surely depend mostly on the specifics of a particular project, but the strongest ones are as follows:

  • Full control of the data querying & pre-processing: you can delegate them to the server-side part of your application.
  • Rational use of the browser’s resources.
  • No limits on the data source choice.
  • No limits on the data size.

And more.

What problems it solves

Via the API, the server-side part of your application can efficiently communicate with Flexmonster.

Once the server-side API is implemented, and the communication process is properly configured, the server sends pre-aggregated data to the client side upon each request from Flexmonster, thereby reducing the load on the browser resources.

When may it come in handy?

To answer this question, we researched the typical, from our perspective, cases.

The most illustrative one is as follows:

  • The data you want to visualize is massive and might come from a mixed data source.
  • Consisting of millions of rows, it has all the chances to scale even more over time.
  • At the same time, you have enough server-side capabilities to perform CPU-intensive data processing on the app’s back end and send summarized data records to the front-end tool for data visualization.
  • However, you lack a universal interface through which to exchange the information between the server and Flexmonster.

In this case, loading the entire dataset into the browser may come at a cost. Having large data volumes and sending them to the data visualization component implies the browser may not handle the corresponding data processing in a reasonable time. Therefore, the wisest way is to perform all the necessary calculations on the server side and send ready-to-show data to the app’s front end.

As a result, you explore your data from a custom source right in the browser, and, on the other hand, its capabilities do not limit you. And the data visualization process with Flexmonster is as smooth as it has always been.

Sounds like a perfect scenario, doesn’t it?

Other use cases

The potential use cases are not exhausted only by the one mentioned above. There are multiple other situations when you may need such an API.

For example:

  • You would like to implement your own data access layer that delegates data processing to the server and sends the summarized data to the data visualization layer.
  • You would like to optimize the loading of CSV, JSON, or SQL data and bring the performance to a new level.
  • You already have a powerful back end that knows how to select, filter, and aggregate data, and you would like to supply just the data that a user wants to see in a pivot table on the client side.

Principles of work

Here’s how it works.

Flexmonster sends POST requests to the API endpoints in JSON format. After receiving the responses from the server, it visualizes the data in the pivot table or pivot charts.

But to make it work, a series of steps need to be performed on the developer’s side. Firstly, the server-side endpoints that can handle POST requests must be created. Next, the responses that exactly match the structure described in the back-end specifications must be implemented.

And voila! Your server-side part of the app is ready to share the data with Flexmonster. The remaining data visualization work can be left to the client side – Flexmonster Pivot gets the job done for you.

Implemented server samples to test

To provide you with illustrative examples, we developed two ready-to-check Node.js and .NET Core servers.

Note that these are only the samples, and the implemented logic of data processing may differ from what you need. You can use them as a core for building a custom connector.

As a starting point, we highly recommend jumping into the Quick start guide. This guide provides step-by-step recommendations to help you get going with the API. In the Custom API requests section, you will find all the front-end and back-end specifications of the API. There you will also be able to check the examples of requests and responses for different queries.

Our plans

The true power of the API is that it can serve as a foundation for any data source connector. You can make sure of it on the example of the ready-to-use MongoDB connector.

In the upcoming releases, we’re planning to extend the functionality of the API and rebuild existing data source connectors using this technology.

Try it yourself

Update Flexmonster to the 2.8 version to start taking advantage of the custom data source API right away. 

Please don’t hesitate to give us your feedback. This is what drives us to keep innovating.

Check out more release features👈