{ DreamFactory: 'Blog' }

Meet our 100,000th admin, Blaine from Vodori

Posted by Alex Bowen

Wed, Jul 20, 2016

We’ve seen some incredible growth of the DreamFactory community over the past few years. That’s why we’re especially thrilled to announce our 100,000th admin sign up, Blaine Willhoft, and share his DreamFactory story!

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Willhoft is the Consulting Engineering Manager at Vodori, a hybrid consulting and product company that focuses on providing digital solutions to companies in the health and well-being industries. He's always looking for new tools to help Vodori build better applications and will use DreamFactory to help him react effectively to the needs of their clients and provide the most value.

Our clients generally ask us to store and manage data when it supports information shown on one of their websites or portals, so we may for instance have to store a database of all their products for display on their public-facing website.

If we can write the code that supports this more quickly, we can spend more time building richer applications, not just writing data manipulation code. Furthermore, if the cost to store and manage data goes down, our clients will be able to afford to integrate more data into the applications we build for them, which then increases the value they provide to their customers. It's a positive feedback loop in some ways.

Above all, Willhoft cites responsiveness as his main goal.

It’s really all about reacting to what the needs of the client are. We want to be nimble and provide the most value, so we choose our architecture carefully based on what will provide the most value.

Today, we write all of the code that reads and writes from those other data sources manually (we use Hibernate on Java, primarily), which while it does provide high quality and ensures we always get the capabilities we need, can often be time-consuming and fairly repetitive.

Our data access code today has to sometimes perform fairly complex data transformations. Being able to write scripts to augment basic read/write operations allows us to more quickly create rich data layers that can replace what we write directly within our applications today.

A product that could potentially remove the need to write data access code by hand in many circumstances could have tremendous value for our ability to deliver richer functionality to our customers.

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Leading the Consulting Engineering team, Blaine is responsible for making sure Pepper handles this combination of services in the most effective way possible. Such as building custom digital products for websites, mobile applications and custom data solutions. DreamFactory helps the Vodori team do their best work and refine how they technically build their products to ensure growth, and deliver better, faster results to their customers.

Our core product, Pepper, offers tools out of the box to manage web content (web pages, images, and other supporting assets). However, our clients often also require us to interact with or manage other related data (often relational, which doesn’t easily lend itself to a CMS) - product databases, form responses, and other data like that.

I heard about DreamFactory online. The value proposition stuck with me enough that I was reminded of it by another article I stumbled across about a week later, leading to me beginning to research the product. The ability to construct APIs out of our data makes it easier to integrate as we work with APIs all the time - both on the user end, as well as being a provider of APIs. In fact, Pepper’s interaction with our client applications is founded upon APIs.

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Other framework or middleware solutions usually require too much time investment with the time needed to ramp up new team members and costs associated with paying for and maintaining new technology. DreamFactory will help address all of these concerns and increases the potential value and time savings of the investment for Vodori.

Like many technology companies, we’re often exploring other frameworks and middleware. For instance, Vodori was an early adopter of ElasticSearch, which was a core part of our product for many years. We’ve also recently been investing into containerization technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker to host much of our middleware.

We use both cloud and on-site services, depending on the nature of the service. Since we work almost exclusively with users in the healthcare industries, our clients are subject to a relatively large amount of regulatory and legal oversight, which trickles down to us in the form of increased requirements around custody and security of data.

Without the ability to secure our clients' data, we wouldn't be able to store it at all. Having a platform that has a foundation of strong user management and security is critical given the security scrutiny placed on our clients.

As a result, for data management pieces of our stack, on-site installations generally are required to maintain custody and security of our customers’ data.

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Once Blaine decided to try Dreamfactory out, he was impressed by the quick setup and was up and running quickly.

Since I started from a tutorial, I was able to get something up and running in not much time, an hour or two.

Getting a DreamFactory instance up and running fast significantly cuts down on the cost and time investment needed to code those features from scratch.  DreamFactory also has a very strong community forum and resources to help cut down on support costs and get you up and running as soon as possible.

We’re excited to welcome Willhoft into the thriving Dreamfactory community and look forward to following Vodori’s progress.To learn more about Vodori, connect with them via their website.

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