Feeds

Linux database becomes a browser

Mashups are us

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The fashion for "web mashups" just got a steroid boost with the release of a browser that is really a desktop database, with full SQL scripting and the ability to manipulate tabular data found on the Internet.

The browser, Kirix Strata, started life two years ago as a Linux desktop database, said Kirix founder and president, Nate Williams. He told The Register that "the world seemed very excited about it at the time, but sadly, the demand for a Linux desktop database, however powerful, wasn't large... people really wanted server products like MySQL."

Also, the original database lacked two features, said Williams. "People asked us 'Does it do scripting?' and 'Can I work on data in existing files?' and we had to admit, it didn't."

What Strata doesn't lack is muscle. Nate Williams told us that it's a full-blooded database, capable of handling a billion records. "We already have clients using it with 100m record data bases," he said. "We can sort a million records in a minute; so if you sort a ten million record data base, it takes ten minutes."

Even so, Williams and his brother, Kirix Chief Scientist Aaron Williams, felt that the market for a Windows and Linux database on the desktop wasn't going to get them famous: "We felt we wanted to differentiate ourselves a bit, and go beyond a Me-Too product. So we looked at the entire Web as a database, and decided to build a product that would handle that."

Today, as Kirix Strata enters public beta, it takes all those powerful database features, and embeds them in a Gecko-engined specialist browser. A tutorial screen cast will show how the browser works, and it can be downloaded in beta versions for Windows or Linux format.

"When it comes to working with data on the web, standard tools like spreadsheets or even web browsers behave like fish out of water," Williams told us. "Strata puts web data front and centre so you can deal with it in context and then manipulate it quickly." It handles many data formats natively, such as HTML tables, CSV files and RSS feeds. Right-click, and pick a tool, and you have an on-screen, structured table which you can manipulate with your mouse in real time, can control with ECMA standard versions of Javascript, or even, mount a remote MySQL database and link.

"We really didn't think it was worth trying to embed this very powerful database engine as a FireFox extension," said Nate Williams. "There are now quite a few special purpose Gecko-based browsers, like the Flock browser for social networking, or the Songbird music browser. We think that auditors will simply cry out for this ability built into a browser, and we think people are quite willing to try these speciality browsers, nowadays."

In any case, he said, a data engine capable of handling 60 billion records per table would probably never fit into FireFox as an add-on.

In the meantime, Kirix is building up a list of web sites with CSV and structured data, which would otherwise require tedious manipulations with mark, cut, and paste into spreadsheets or standalone databases, but which Strata can simply manipulate directly.

"We're asking people to try it out for us and let us know if they run into problems or have any suggestions for making it better," said Williams. "To return the favour, we're giving our free licences of the final version to anyone who provide us with good feedback during the beta period. Check the beta information page for further details." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.