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It's been a few years now since the startup known as NexGenData was put to rest. As a business, my parters and I were not able to raise the necessary capital to keep the business going. But the product itself, though starting to show signs of aging, is still a great product.

What was so great about it? Did the world really need another enterprise search engine?

Enterprise search was only part of the story. What was so great about NexGenData was the ability to connect to all kinds of different data in the enterprise, making it possible to search across everything in one interface, and to then export that dataset to one of the web standard formats we supported. Every dataset produced, whether full-text documents, emails, or database records, could be queried for and exported as an XML document, a JSON feed, a CSV file, or a standard HTML table. That alone made this one powerful system.

As a developer if you had told me you had a system that could pull back all of the enterprise data---from Oracle, MySQL, filesystems, network protocols---using one RESTful web interface, I would thank the heavens. Or perhaps I would fear for my job, because if can get at everything through a single API, what is there left to write?

Well business intelligence for one. This system makes it possible to focus on what to do with the information rather on how to extract the information.

I was always dubious about our mashup capabilities, as some wanted to focus on the bang you get in a demo when you show you can join a SQLServer database with an Oracle database and return a resultset---and do it all visually from a web interface. Well, there is a lot of complexity you are biting off when you take on such a job. But we came up with a technique that worked fairly well. After returning to a day job, I was reminded of just how difficult it is to accomplish such a task using other tools. Though a prototype, the NexGenData system could efficiently, effectively and quickly do this job very well.

I was always most interested in the collective intelligence capabilities. I wanted to answer the question, "How can we let users enrich our corporate data to make it even more useful?" With tagging and collaboration, it was possible for individual system users to create their own custom data universes, and then share them with co-workers.

I put a lot of time, sweat and intellectual capital into NexGenData. The company didn't make it, but the product is still a great product!

The Business

Product Overview




The Software


The Demo

We've let the domain expire. The demo can be made available on a per-request basis. Contact me if you would like to see it.

A screencast without audio is available on youtube:

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