X-Tables - a White Paper V1.2, 02 May 2001
1. What is x-tables
x-tables is an exciting new product for providing ultra-fast cross-tabulations, statistics and 'export' reports from large SQL/ORACLE type databases. It has been developed by bringing together two technologies -
All users of conventional databases need to produce reports, which aggregate the data to show summary results in tabular form. They need to do this very quickly - even on large databases. Most of these users have no formal programming knowledge and need something far easier than SQL to specify their request. They also need full flexibility of handling the output - very similar to Excel's features
The Advertising/Market research world has had the benefit of interactive
tabulators for over 10 years - based on the very formal structure of
"questionnaire data". Many clients are already using this
software and it is estimated that well over 100,000 marketing and research
executives at the world's largest companies are using these tools. However
these users are restricted to the Marketing/Research divisions - x-tables
now brings this technology to a much wider audience.
How does it work
There are two steps in the data-preparation phase
The user then accesses this data via a Windows based proprietary tabulator
- using one of a set of family of programs. It will also work via a
regular Internet Browser
What products are in the x-tables family
There are 3 products within the x-tables family
The primary design and development of x-tables system is under the direction of Mark Katz (see http://www.mark-it.co.uk). Mark brings with him over 30 years in the data-analytics world - including over 5 years developing using web-based systems. During that time, he developed a full range of internet-based tabulation/report delivery systems (http://www.e-tabs.com) and was responsible building an advanced e-marketplace Exchange system for the financial sector - http://www.interactiveintelligence.co.uk/
Since x-tables takes advantage of other packages already in the marketplace, a minimal amount of development was required to provide links between the various sub-system. On-going enhancements are carried out by a team of highly skilled programmers - plus a support team.
Tim Macer services at http://www.macer.co.uk/home.html - an independent web-site dedicated to the software available for the market research world. Although most of it relates to the data-collection (paper, phone and web-based), it contains good references to the most popular cross-tab and report packages.
The main players
Perhaps the main cross-tab packages is SAS http://www.sas.com/products/base/ which already provides much of the functionality of x-tables, however it is a big, complex and expensive piece of software - and not as fast as x-tables.
Data-warehouse software and OLAP technology shares common objectives
with x-tables. However it represents a major investment
of software, hardware, people and time.