Postcode Anywhere (PCA) is to offer its own web services platform to developers, enabling customers to upload their own data to the cloud and build custom services around it.
The "MyServices" platform has been designed to 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.
The company is hoping to tap into the growing drive for more openness. For example, the company said. UK local authorities, for instance, are now obliged to publish all expenditures over £500 by 2011. Using My Services this can be achieved in a few minutes. The company said that the service could also be used to provide customers with more up-to-date information.
It's the company's own background in providing postcode information. "We provide software on address services and for that we used a cloud-based approach. Superficially what we do is simple – we need to make software robust enough for our clients," said Jamie Turner PCA's IT director. "With our expertise, we decided to open up the software to a broader audience and let developers use it."
Turner said that the company offered developers a more rounded service than those offered by the likes of Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. "We're much more flexible than these. For example, Amazon has no proper SQL offering and Azure is very Microsoft focused. We support a variety of formats"
He also said that as a British company, PCA could guarantee that all data is held within the UK, something that is a concern to many user organisations.
The company is launching the service this week and, as a special challenge to developers is offering a free iPad for the best new service developed using the platform.
The service has got the thumbs-up from cloud computing guru, David Linthicum, CTO of The Bick Group. He 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.
Details of the new service can be found on PCA's website.