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Predictive Analytics


Engine44
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Hi,

I'm not sure if this is the best place for this topic.  One of the areas I am interested in getting involved with is predictive analytics for small businesses. There is much talk about Big Data, Hadoop, Spark, etc.  My studying gives me the distinct impression that these technologies are best for big business. They are overkill and unnecessarily expensive for small businesses (1-50 people).

It seems that python, scikit-learn, D3.js, etc. are better suited for predictive analytics for small businesses.  However, are these technologies compatible with ProcessWire and with hosting providers based upon PHP?  I suspect they are not.

Can they be made to work here?

Are there other predictive analytics technologies better suited for ProcessWire, PHP and small businesses?

Thanks

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I'm not too familiar with the whole concept of predictive analytics, or big data for that matter, but taking a look at the tools you mentioned they seem to focus on visualising collected data (D3.js, scikit-learn) and making mathematical predictions based on it (scikit-learn). Please correct me if I'm wrong, though; the thick cloud of buzzwords surrounding some of these tools and concepts makes it very hard to figure out what it is that they actually do/mean.

 

As such, I'd say that "compatibility with ProcessWire" as a question makes little sense. ProcessWire is a great tool for defining data types and storing huge amounts of data, if that's what you're looking for. It's also a great tool for formatting and outputting said data in any way you – or another application – needs it. What it isn't, though, is an out-of-the-box tool for collecting data (but you could always build something like that yourself).

 

I'm not sure what kind of data you want to collect and analyse, so that's just about the extent I can go into this topic :)

 

If you're looking into technical details regarding the tools you've mentioned above, scikit-learn is based on Python, so you'd need hosting that supports that. I'm not sure if the "python" you mentioned is a specific tool or the Python language, but I'm assuming you mean the latter, which again leads to the conclusion that you need to look for a web host offering Python support. D3.js is a JavaScript library running client-side, and thus server-side considerations don't apply there.

 

Note: I've just moved this topic to the Off Topic / Dev Talk area of the forum, which seems like a better fit here. This question is very loosely related to ProcessWire itself, and has a lot more to do with other tools.

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As a more general response (since you have asked other questions lately about compatibility with other tools - PW can be used in conjunction with just about anything because it doesn't dictate any front-end markup.

I use PW together with D3js (and various mapping, charting, visualization tools based on D3) and AngularJS. I have also built sites that use Mapnik (using python) with the resulting maps displayed on a PW site. In some cases I let PW handle the data (use the Profields Table field) and sometimes I write manual DB queries to dedicated database tables (if I am dealing with huge amounts of data). In one case I use some custom scripts to query a database of "big data", run it through some algorithms to analyze and synthesize the data, and then populate a Profields Table with the final values that need to be mapped/charted - in this case the analyses is only run once a year and the queries take too long to do on-the-fly.

My point in all that is that you can use PW in many different ways to handle certain aspects of a site and still use other tools to query and analyze the data and/or contribute to the final user interface.

Hope that helps to provide some insights about what can be done with PW.

That said, if there is no need for content management (text, images), user management etc, and the front-end interface is purely about data analysis and manipulation then you might be better off with custom written server-side code that displays your data on the front-end - maybe even something built on nodejs - maybe meteorjs or a MEAN stack which includes Angularjs. So many options :)

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I thank both of you (Teppo and Adrian) for your thoughtful responses. As you know, getting involved with this field is a complicated proposition, I'm a retired mechanical engineer on a new start, lol.

It is good to know that PW is so flexible and inclusive,although, I'm sure there are limits. My primary interests run in the areas of machine learning and data visualization. That field is exploding as you know. I am now confident that PW can play a significant role in my web site development.

Thanks

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