TechnologyJanuary 17, 2024

Redefining GenAI App Development: DataStax’s New Data API and Developer Experience

Silas Sao
Silas SaoDesign
Val Kulichenko
Val KulichenkoProduct
Redefining GenAI App Development: DataStax’s New Data API and Developer Experience

Understanding what's going on with your data is critical to the success of generative AI apps. Until now, developers didn't have an easy way of doing this without being a database expert. Today, we’re proud to announce two major additions to DataStax Astra DB that provide developers with a frictionless experience for building applications and getting their projects to production as fast as possible: the new Data API, and a completely revamped developer experience that enables developers to upload and explore their data directly from the Astra DB portal. With these changes, Astra DB is an even better fit for developing production GenAI and retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) applications.

An enhanced Astra developer experience

Close collaboration with customers and developers has played a key role in enhancing the Astra product experience, particularly when it comes to GenAI applications. This process has involved direct usage of our products (dogfooding), co-creation with customers, and extensive developer interviews. These efforts have led to what, in our view, are some revolutionary updates in our product experience.

The new Data API

The foundation for the new developer experience is the new Astra DB Data API. This is a schema-less, document-based, modern API that provides easy and intuitive access to both structured and unstructured data.

The Data API eliminates the need for complex data modeling and enables developers to start coding their applications as quickly as possible; this is crucial in the rapidly evolving GenAI market. Under the hood, the API continues to leverage the scalability, performance, and real-time indexing capabilities of Apache Cassandra®. Together, Cassandra and the Data API enable Astra DB to provide a clear path for GenAI application development, from initial data loading and the first line of code to production.

While ease of use was the primary goal when we designed the API, we didn’t want to sacrifice flexibility and feature richness. The API equally supports vector and non-vector collections; developers can execute vector search queries and apply complex document filtering—and combine the two to get the most relevant results possible.

In addition, the Data API serves as an entry point for Astra DB to integrate with a broader GenAI ecosystem, which includes tools like LangChain, LlamaIndex, Google’s Vertex AI, Amazon Bedrock, and others.

New client libraries for Python, TypeScript, and Java

We’re excited to introduce new client libraries for Python, TypeScript, and Java, designed to simplify the development process with Astra DB. These tailored, language-specific libraries make it easy to get started for developers working on GenAI applications. With just an API endpoint and token, developers can quickly add the most performant and scalable vector store to their next GenAI application. Despite their language-specific designs, we've ensured a consistent developer experience across these libraries, allowing for the same ease of use no matter the programming language.

An upgraded Data Explorer in the Astra Portal

In the past, the Astra Portal primarily offered data access and management through the Cassandra Query Language (CQL) console. Recognizing the challenge this posed for those unfamiliar with the CQL, we're introducing an improved Data Explorer, accompanied by the new Data API. This tool enables developers with limited or no knowledge of CQL to quickly onboard and integrate data into their databases and applications.

A highlight of the Data Explorer is its ability to visualize similarity search scores. Developers can now conduct vector-based searches and receive a ranked list of up to 100 results, based on similarity. This feature is particularly beneficial for RAG and AI agent use cases, allowing for refined search results. Additionally, the Data Explorer supports hybrid search filters, enabling more versatile and powerful data querying capabilities.

Focused and practical documentation

Our reimagined approach to documentation is centered on delivering precisely what developers need at a particular point in their project development. We've transformed our documentation to serve as a practical guide, not just a repository of information. This shift means our documentation is tailored to meet developers at each specific stage of development, providing relevant and essential information without unnecessary details.

Our aim with this refined documentation is to instill a sense of simplicity and clarity. We want developers to look at our guides and resources and think, "Wow, this looks easy!" By achieving this, we hope to not only facilitate immediate development tasks but also engender confidence and ease in using Astra DB, making it a preferred choice for developers in their GenAI projects.

A straightforward and efficient developer journey

In sum, the new Data API and the enhancements in the Astra developer experience, including the intuitive client libraries, the versatile Data Explorer, and our streamlined documentation, underscore our commitment to making the developer journey in GenAI applications as straightforward and efficient as possible.

Want to see it in action? Join our livestream on Wednesday, Jan. 24, where we’ll build a fully fledged, production-ready RAG application using Astra DB, LangChain, and Next.js.



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Vector SearchDataStax Astra DB

One-stop Data API for Production GenAI

Astra DB gives JavaScript developers a complete data API and out-of-the-box integrations that make it easier to build production RAG apps with high relevancy and low latency.