What Does it Mean to Set Up a Marketplace?
An Ocean marketplace app is one of the primary ways that end users use the Ocean network. For example, a data scientist could use a marketplace app to see what data sets and data services (data assets) a marketplace has available. They can use the marketplace app to buy access to assets. Publishers make those data assets available.
Note: In the early days of the Ocean network, there won’t be many marketplaces or publishers, so marketplaces will often also act as publishers.
If you want to set up and run a marketplace in the Ocean network, then at a technical level, you must:
- Have Data Assets to offer in your marketplace.
- Get those data assets set up to work with Ocean Protocol.
- Develop a marketplace application (app).
- Run your marketplace app in production.
Prepare Data Assets
At the time of writing, the only kind of data assets supported by Ocean Protocol were datasets stored in Azure Storage. See the tutorial about setting up Azure Storage to work with Ocean Protocol.
Support for other kinds of data assets (e.g. storage in AWS, computing in Azure) is coming soon.
Develop a Marketplace App
At the time of writing, we recommend the following steps to develop a marketplace app:
- Do the React App Tutorial.
- Grow your app from there.
For inspiration, check out the source code for Pleuston, a demo marketplace app (also written using React). It has an Apache v2 open source license.
Note that Pleuston is a “serverless” app: it runs entirely in the browser and has no server-side component.
Other Options for Developing a Marketplace App
There are many ways to create an Ocean marketplace app. For example, you could use one of the existing e-commerce platforms and frameworks (e.g. WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify). Or you could use a lower-level framework like Django or Vue.js. The main consideration is that you should probably use a programming language with an existing Squid library.
Note: There are examples of how to use squid-py in the Tutorials. squid-py is to Ocean like boto3 is to AWS.
Of course, you could always write your own Squid library in the language of your choice. A squid-java library is in development.
Run Your Marketplace App in Production
The Ocean Mainnet is slated to go live in March 2019.
Before running your marketplace app in production with the Ocean Mainnet, you may want to test it with an Ocean testnet. The Ocean testnets are similar to the Ocean Mainnet. The main difference is that there is less risk on the Ocean testnets.
Of course, there are many other things that must be handled for live production apps:
- Security of the infrastructure where the software is running
- Log aggregation, storage and search
- Handling crashes or other faults
Each of those is a big topic beyond the scope of these docs.