Ably has always been committed to making data as open and available as possible. Past initiatives included supporting a range of protocols such as MQTT and SSE, as well as helping support the OpenAPI and AsyncAPI initiatives. Today we're happy to announce the Ably Hub, a new way to help individuals and companies share their data.
Many systems contain data which, if made available, could greatly benefit the world. Actually doing this however can be expensive and complicated. Creating authentication schemes, endpoints, extracting data, and supporting the protocols your users need can be time-consuming, as well as expensive to set up and then maintain.
The Ably Hub handles all of this. Once you've made an Ably account, you simply need to start publishing data to Ably using any one of the many protocols supported by Ably, and then select the restrictions you want applied to whoever can access that data. You can style the page however you like, and we'll automatically generate code samples and live data feeds to allow users to preview what you have to offer.
If your communications are already based on the Ably platform, it's just a matter of selecting which Channels you want to make available to your consumers, declaring those channels in a collection we call a ‘Product’, and you're ready to share your data. Once you have consumers subscribed to your data, you can view stats on a per-subscription or per-product basis, what channels are most popular, which subscriptions are the most active, and more.
Benefits of distributing data on the Ably Hub
- Easy to get started. Group your data using Channels, and you're ready to go.
- Fine controls on user access to data. You can choose exactly what channels users have access to, how many messages/channels they can use per month, and adjust these restrictions at any time with immediate effect.
- Useful statistics on data usage: from which channels are most popular, to which users are consuming the most, and more. This can help massively with working out what your users actually find useful and potentially want more of.
- No need for additional infrastructure: if you already use Ably, you can simply provide restricted access to your existing system.
- No need to worry about what protocols your consumers might want to use: they can make use of the Ably-supported protocols, languages, or even push out data to webhook endpoints, queues, and Cloud Functions.
- No maintenance concerns for adding new protocol support, updating and maintaining existing support, etc. Ably does all of that for you so you can focus on your product, not on the minutiae.
Benefits of consuming data on the Hub
- Easy to get started. You just need to click the Subscribe button, put in some basic details, and you’re ready to use the data however you’d like.
- Before a user has even subscribed they have a preview of active channels, what data to expect on them, and more.
- Ably is dedicated to being protocol agnostic, meaning that a user can use your data regardless of their use-case or requirements.
Benefits of opening up your data
- Promotes community: Once data's been opened, you'll find people interested in using it, and discussing how to display and use the data (including in new, novel ways, see “Promotes improvement”). Open data makes it easy to get involved and helps form communities around your offerings.
- Promotes improvement: The more people are able to get their hands on your data, the more likely novel uses will emerge. By opening up your data, you'll be able to improve your offering far faster.
As the first iteration of the Ably Hub, we're excited for the future and the sheer potential it has. We already have many ideas on how to take this further, from versioning of Products, making APIs which make it easier to integrate Ably into your existing authentication systems, and self-generating documentation using AsyncAPI. If you have any ideas on how we can make the Ably Hub better for you, please get in touch with us and let us know!