Technology Improves, So Does Our GOLD Platform

New technologies keep surfacing and we keep our eye peeled for innovative ways of doing things that can improve our customer’s user experience. 

In the case of our web store solution, we have implemented new frameworks, described later, that allows us to develop new screens quicker and to streamline the debugging process. Our approach to building new pages on the web store changed and became component-based. Instead of building a web page the traditional way, we would simply take a component and break it down into small, functional units. We unified the three elements of a page that were previously separated; the code, the visual aspect and the layout. This makes it much easier to change a part of the code on the page.

We learned that optimizing the front-end of the web store module brought on a lot of improvements without touching the core functionalities and the back-end of the platform. For example, one impressive result is that the web store now loads 4x faster than it did previously.

What is a Web Store?

Our Web Store module is the interface that end-users will use to shop for data and purchase it from the firms using our Data Monetization Solution. It is our client’s presence on the internet and has to be great looking, functional and as fast as possible. Remember, there are no second chances to make a good first impression.

We have to stop optimizing for programmers and start optimizing for users. — Jeff Atwood

Using Open-Source Technology

The modernization plan for our Data Monetization Solution was two-fold. First, the user experience was inspired by user flows from mainstream ecommerce sites. To implement an improved user flow, we updated the front-end technology from DataTables (a JQuery-based system), and migrated to React– a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. At the same time, we also migrated our APIs to Spring Boot. Finally, we spruced up the the system data model, so clients can easily enter and organize data products uploaded to the site.

For the UI framework, we chose React, so that we could create component libraries and have a faster loading website. The results for the web store was that the loading speed quadrupled! Our initial aim was to get at least 2x speed optimization, so our development team really deserves a pat on the back for their hard work in keeping the code light on the front-end.

The original code was done in JavaScript, however, we migrated everything to a new language- TypeScript. It was a big move that was mainly motivated by fewer bugs. Having a compiled language means that we could catch errors before they would get deployed on the front-end. Another benefit of TypeScript is that it’s easier to facilitate the integration of code between our front-end and back-end developers. 

We migrated our APIs to Spring Boot to benefit from the ecosystem, and to have more control to the database connection. With this migration, we’re able to create APIs quickly on swagger for our development team, our client’s development team, and our client’s client’s teams. The optimization was necessary because our data management platforms are flexible, and we allow for layers of development to occur between these teams. 

We sourced the latest out-of-the-box tools to make the front-end look prettier. We had to be creative to get some sleek design for the platform.  We looked into UI libraries to help us out, and our top three contenders were Material-UI, Ant Design and Blueprint. We ended up opting for Blueprint by Palantir as it was clearly made for the data management industry. 

Extreme coffee and coding. (Don't try this at home.)

Using Open-Source Technology

We re-worked the user experience to improve the product browsing experience and made it more aligned with an ecommerce site. Our goal with UX is to guide users to what they need with ease and grace. Clients also brought to the table the need for improvement when it comes to packaging their data products.

For example, prior to the updates, data consumers of CME DataMine had to enter the data set into the cart before seeing the prices. One simple UX design change was to make the pricing more transparent by showing the prices upfront.

The data is packaged so the buyer is now able to see all the data sets and the meta details that are available from the get-go. The final result is that the navigation of the web store is refined to be better susceptible to browsing.   

TickSmith - A Leader in Big Data Monetization

We offer a unique solution for data monetization– a full end to end infrastructure, powered by our GOLD Platform, for selling data products. This includes everything from gathering, centralizing and entitlements in accessing data at scale. We’re on the cutting edge when it comes to data management and tread new frontiers.

Our dream is to facilitate data distribution and monetization to all industries. Right now, our specialty is in the intersection of the financial industry and Big Data. However, as the user experience and the technological design of our platform evolves, we’re working towards data distribution and monetization to be accessible to all types of businesses. 

Think back to the late ‘90s when e-commerce started. Only the big players could support an ecommerce site. Now everyone, from big to small businesses can set-up an ecommerce store in one day.  With our combined technology and expertise, we can do the same thing for Big Data monetization. If you’re a data creator, we can help you build an easy to use system to distribute and sell your data at scale.

Content Contributors: David Lauzon, Raisa MacLeod

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