ShowMeConnect is the most important piece of software in our application tool set. Our goal was to separate the database from the presentation layer because we really only wanted to focus on the catalog and not development of another shop management or warehouse system. There already were lots of companies doing that and our mission was to help suppliers get data into the market place faster than the other options available. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for others to access our catalog and add their own business logic. ShowMeConnect is a rich set of API (application programming interface) for accessing any information in the database and return a well structured XML document. The beauty of this strategy is that others don’t have to use all of the data in our catalog, they can cherry pick what they need. For example if a web site needed a group of images for a part number, instead of waiting for the supplier to send him images, they could make a call with a API and we would return a XML file with the URL’s, Height and Width of all the images we have for that part number. This helps everyone in the supply change. Instead of the supplier having to spend time ($) trying to make sure everyone had their current images, they could tell their customers to found them in one place. The customer benefits because they will always have access to the latest images. One of the really cool things we built in was to take advantage of PIES digital assets. The supplier doesn’t even need to send us the actual images; they can send us the URL where to find the image on their servers, saving the industry the time and money spent trying to send images to everyone.
With this strategy of decoupling the data and the presentation it should make it easy for some smart mobile application developers to create iPhone or Droid applications without having to build the database. They can focus on what they do best.
Next up: ShowMeTheParts.com.