PCA Launches Fast Cloud Development Service; iPad Prize for Smartest Programmer

Company: Postcode Anywhere
Published: 28 June, 2010
Data specialist Postcode Anywhere will make its award-winning web services platform freely available for the first time next week, allowing developers to upload their own data to the cloud and build custom services around it. The company is offering an Apple iPad for whoever develops the most impressive service.

The "MyServices" platform, launching at London's Cloud Computing World Forum on 29 June, will allow developers to rapidly build APIs and web services around any data either hosted on their own machine, or uploaded to the cloud. It will be offered to testers for free while the service is in beta. Postcode Anywhere's sales and marketing director Phil Rothwell said: "Data is at the top of the agenda today for both business and government, and MyServices finally let developers and CIOs make the most of it, either as publicly-available services or to staff within the firewall. "We're issuing a challenge to web developers to see what they can do with the service, either with their own data or with new, freely available resources such as Ordnance Survey's OpenData.

"The potential for the private and public sectors is huge. UK local authorities, for instance, are now obligated to publish all expenditures over 500 pounds Sterling by 2011. Using My Services this can be achieved in a few minutes.

"Moreover, authorities can rapidly build any kind of services they want around the data, in a fraction of the normal development time. The data can be brought to life by adding in information from other wards, or by mashing it up with mapping visualisations.

"Web middleware isn't a new thing, but it's typically either clumsy or costly - and if you want something a bit more exciting, you often have to hand over control to the consultants.

"With MyServices, organisations have finally been handed the keys to their own datasets. Of course they can host their own data securely in the cloud and build web-based APIs around it. But what My Services offer are ways to rapidly build myriad applications too without having to pay someone else to turn that API into a service, and without the normal headaches associated with data management. "Services like Amazon's EC2 have led the way with this kind of service. What MyServices offer now is a more flexible, robust system - with rapid development tools included - so you can not only store your data in the cloud, but truly take charge of it with reliable, value-added development."

Organisations such as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Severn Trent Water have been testing the My Services platform to build custom services both on internal systems and public-facing websites. Severn Trent's projects include a proposed service which allows customers to check current and planned works in their area or throughout the Severn Trent Water region. Fraser Pithie, Senior Operations Manager for Severn Trent, said: "Working with the Postcode Anywhere team is truly something different. Using some of the latest tools available, they work hard and quickly to deliver simple solutions to frustrating and seemingly complex needs."

Cloud computing expert and CTO of Bick Group David Linthicum said: "What's unique about this is the ease of creating the feed. While you can certainly build APIs around your data via weeks of custom development, or leverage one of the existing players that provide API enablement services, the cost of development and management headaches make this path impossible for traditional enterprises.