Regardless of industry or company size, every business accumulates mountains of vital data throughout the years. From customer info and documentation to product databases, this information is worth its digital weight in gold. So, when the time finally comes to replace legacy systems, those databases are front and center of the decision-making process.
Even software decades ahead of its time won’t accomplish much if it’s unable to tap into years of accumulated information. Why would this be a challenge? Well, strangely enough, quite a few well-known database tools don’t use API connections to transfer data. Betty Blocks does have a workaround for that and we’ll show you how it’s done.
Not all software speaks the same language
If you’ve followed our ‘How To’ articles until now, you’ll notice that most of what we’ve covered has been pretty straightforward stuff to get working. However, not all software and external sources like to play along with custom applications. In order to operate most efficiently, most third-party applications will use completely different languages to what we communicate in.
Oracle databases are a fantastic example of this and one which will be familiar to most companies. Since Oracle isn’t web-based and Betty Blocks is, we need a way to get both systems to communicate.
Here’s the ‘issue’: Betty Blocks uses JSON as our data format when accessing information… Oracle typically only speaks in SQL. Don’t worry if those terms sound like gibberish to you, the main thing here is that if we want to connect with an Oracle database then some translation needs to happen.
Reasonably speaking, learning SQL yourself and transferring the data would be mind-numbing (at best), so Betty Blocks allows developers to make use of their own proxy servers. What’s that? Think of a proxy as a translator for foreign ambassadors, taking information from both parties and relaying the correct info between them from a central point. How? Proxy servers pull the information out of your database and place it in a secure web URL which Betty Blocks can access.
Once the proxy server is in place, you essentially have a web address that churns your SQL data into JSON. Whoop whoop! From here, the whole process will start to look extremely familiar to previous how to’s. That’s because this proxy functions almost identically to an API.
To save you precious time, I won’t go into the step-by-step for creating a web service again and skip to the important differences. Of course, you’ll need to start by creating a new web service but instead of using the host address from a web service, you’ll enter your proxy server URL. After you’ve tested it out, you’re ready to go!
What now? If the proxy is set up correctly, all your custom database fields should be available exactly as shown in the application. Just as you’d use endpoints to gather data from a web service, you can start to create them for your database. For instance, if you had customer data stored, you’ll be able to make queries, actions, and calculations based on everything you had stored. Without losing any information along the way.
Okay sure, that’s the super-duper easy version of it, IT pro’s here’s the unabridged version of that! With the proxy in place, you can start firing your SQL queries as Query variables at the Oracle web service. As the SQL data is parsed through the proxy, you’ll get your precious data, nicely parsed in JSON formatting.
Innovate faster, develop smarter
Core business applications, such as Oracle, will always be a top priority for both IT and business decision-makers when looking for new development platforms. Understandably, one or both parties may be hesitant to make the leap when an already working (but aging) solution is in place. However, backing your innovation efforts into a corner will eventually slow digital growth to a halt. Something which just isn’t an option anymore...
Today’s digital era favors those who are looking forward, able to develop faster and innovate smarter. No-code platforms, like Betty Blocks, are not only capable of tapping into your data goldmines, they cut time-to-market by nearly 800%.