We’re always looking for new ways to make it easier to get up to speed on our MarkLogic database. Recently, I sat down with Greg Nist, Senior Manager, MarkLogic University to find out about the newly released MLU training app. This new app supports our goal of creating a portfolio of different ways for users to access our free training content. Consider this an invite to download the app, take it for a spin and tell us what you think.
What is the MLU App?
At the start of this project, we asked the team: In your typical day packed with commuting, meetings, emails and appointments – where could you carve out 15 minutes of free time to spend learning something new?
So the team at MLU set out to build an app chock full of on-demand content with busy schedules in mind, focusing on short, easy-to-consume video tutorials covering very specific features or key concepts that are easy to view in short bursts – whenever you might have them. With our iOS release (Android coming soon!), users can stream our on-demand content to their devices with a WiFi or cellular connection – or they download the content to their devices to consume offline.
Building Apps on MarkLogic
My conversation with Greg revolved around just one question: Describe how and why you built an App on MarkLogic. Here’s Greg’s response:
When building the app, we put our money where our mouths were and built it on our platform. Why? Well, other than some obvious bias — MarkLogic makes it easy to manage all of the diverse data types required to deliver this content to our users — and we had a tight development timeline (sound familiar?).
To serve up this type of content, we needed a way to manage both metadata about the content and the content itself. The metadata is stored in MarkLogic as XML and the content as MP4 video. And because not all metadata for each piece of content is the same, we were able to benefit by taking advantage of MarkLogic’s schema-agnostic approach to managing this data. We didn’t have to spend a lot of time upfront trying to anticipate every variation of data that might come our way. Instead, we spent more of the projects overall time building the app to achieve our business goal and less time data modeling. Both video and metadata could be easily integrated into the mobile app through the use of the MarkLogic REST client API, which is provided with MarkLogic right out of the box. Our total development time, from start to finish, tallied one month (with only one week of that allocated to MarkLogic specific programming).
That’s really the beauty of MarkLogic – we’re able to take a simplified approach to data integration, allowing us to develop applications in a truly agile way – in about half the time it would take using legacy relational databases. We’re excited to hear about how our customers and prospects are utilizing the app when they find those ‘free’ pockets of time in their day.
If you have ideas on improvements, put them in the comments below. Here’s to finding small pockets of time to learn new things, in the new year.