Our customers store a ton of important information in their Chameleon databases. Adding to that wealth of data is all the useful information available on Community. Community has a wealth of weather, sports, news, financial information and more. And with our soon to be released eventful support, calendars can be stuffed with local events.
While tickers are the ultimate way to show data for broadcasts whether for digital signage or traditional broadcast, it’s not the only way to utilize all that useful data. That’s why from the beginning we included BLADE, our RESTful api, for retrieving data from our database. We support all the standard formats like xml, json, rss, csv and others. We even created a UI in Flow, our web interface to Chameleon, to help customers discover the correct BLADE url for the data they need.
However, to use raw BLADE data, there is a technical requirement. Software developers would have no trouble turning a json file into html using PHP. Character Generators and Digital Signage players are also adept at utilizing BLADE standard formats as is. But how to make use of BLADE for the non-technical user? How can a web master insert data much like they insert Google Maps?
Well, the answer is to follow Google’s lead and create web widgets with our data. So, instead of raw json, xml or csv from BLADE, what if that url did more? How’s this for an example:
The above isn’t a screenshot. It’s a mini-app on this page. Click the arrows, the league dropdown or the logo and they’re all active. Also, leave this web widget up and you’ll see refreshes of the scores automatically. And these are real scores coming from live Community data. No smoke and mirrors!
The web widgets we’re adding will be more than just static data. For example, this scores web widget has lots of flexibility with colours, branding (logos/links), size, leagues, refresh rate and much more. For example, looking at what we have above, there’s a league drop down allowing changing of the league. This is optional since the league can be fixed but the important point is that the web widgets are mini-apps that are easily placed on any web page much like Google has done with Google Maps.
The above scores web widget comes to us courtesy of our Community instance of Chameleon. We expect to expand our web widgets over the next few months to include all of our data types. And by default, all Chameleon customers get this support. It’s not an option. It’s just an expansion of our BLADE support.