On Open Data Platform. Q&A with Ben Haynes

Q1. What is special about Directus 9?

Directus 9 is the first Open Data Platform. We’ve expanded from headless content management to become a more capable data platform, focusing on flexibility, performance, and expanded data capabilities. 

With the surge in SaaS, IoT, BI, and more, the line between content and data is increasingly blurry, and therefore a more holistic approach to browsing, managing, and visualizing data across the entire business is crucial.

Directus 9 has been completely rebuilt in JavaScript (more specifically, TypeScript). This improves performance by 10x, modernizes the codebase, and makes it accessible to far more developers than ever. We’ve also added the following big features to this release…

  • Support for every major SQL database vendor, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, CockroachDB, Oracle DB, MariaDB, AWS RedShift, AWS Aurora, and more.
  • An overhauled permission system to use filter-based access control, allowing for the most granular configuration options within our category. 
  • Expanded Authentication options, with 2FA, OAuth2, OpenID, and LDAP.
  • A no-code dashboard builder for tracking any data through metrics and charts.
  • Improved digital asset management with virtual folders, automatic metadata scraping, and on the fly image transformations.

What makes Directus 9 so special is that it provides a simple, safe, and intuitive App for non-technical business users, while also enabling engineers and power-users the flexibility to lay a tailored foundation of data within their own tech stacks. Moreover, all of this happens instantly upon installation — with no migration or vendor lock-in — so rather than spending months of building, you can go to just a few hours of simple configuration. This is true data democratization.

Q2. You mention that this is the “World’s first Open Data Platform.” But there are plenty of open data platforms around.

For example: https://data.europa.eu/de/training/elearning/open-data-platforms, and https://ckan.org and https://www.opendatasoft.com/en/ to name a few. What does first open data platform mean and how is your platform positioned with respect to these? 

While there are other platforms available for managing data, their approach is the opposite of openness. Being an open-source DMS doesn’t mean your platform is actually open, and these platforms are often quite rigid and dated, lacking the flexibility that modern organizations require.

For connectivity, Directus provides a REST API, GraphQL API, CLI, JS-SDK, and even SQL access — compared to either no API, or a RPC-style API with XML output. Directus seamlessly layers on top of any SQL database, introspecting the schema so no migration is required (and avoiding vendor lock-in), versus a single datastore with a proprietary data model. And most importantly, Directus was built to be extensible, with modular code that avoids any hard feature ceiling — making it more of an unopinionated framework than a rigid DMS.

Q3. Tell us a bit more about how Tripadvisor is using Directus?

Tripadvisor has said the following about their experience using Directus: “Tripadvisor is using Directus to bring our products, data and content closer together. This will allow our users to plan and experience travel in new and innovative ways,” said Antoine Veliz, VP of Design at Tripadvisor. 

We are very respectful of our users, and do not collect personally identifiable information (PII) or usage details. Therefore, while many write amazing testimonials for Directus, we don’t track how they’re specifically leveraging the platform. This is especially important given that we power many projects for Fortune 100 companies, governments, financial institutions, and branches of the US military. 

For more information about Directus 9, please visit: https://directus.io/


Ben Haynes

Ben’s background is evenly split between design and development, and he has founded several highly successful digital agencies at this intersection of the creative and technical realms. His experience spans over 20 years of building innovative and high-profile digital experiences for industry-leading clients such as Google, Snapchat, AT&T, AOL, SoulCycle, IDEO, MoMA, Interbrand, HP, and the U.S. Government.

He is also the Creator and Project Lead of Directus, the leading open-source headless CMS. Ben and his team have spent over a decade building-out the Directus suite of products and its Cloud SaaS offering. In 2020, Ben became the CEO of Monospace Inc, the new managing entity of the Directus ecosystem.

Previously, Ben was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force specializing in Electronic Warfare, taught advanced web development courses at The School at Columbia University, wrote/illustrated a published book on 3D aircraft entitled Paper Pilot, and spends his free time writing music and woodworking.

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