Do you have a ton of data sources and do not know how to expose them? Do you know you need a SQL Server API but don’t know where to begin to build it? Look no further, DreamFactory can take any database and generate a fully documented and secure REST API faster than making a sandwich. All you need is your database credentials and DreamFactory will handle the rest, instantly generating Swagger documentation and securing your API by way of API keys. Follow along with the blog or our video below!
In order to get started you must install DreamFactory, which is Open Source and gives you the ability to try out a numerous amount of popular databases. To spin up your own hosted environment for free click here.
Generating the SQL Server API
Now the fun part. Once you have DreamFactory up and running you will be on the Admin panel. From there you will navigate to the Services tab to connect your database for your API. For example I have selected a Microsoft SQL Server database but it is nearly identical for any database you will be connecting to. Connecting your database typically only requires filling out these 5 fields as shown below.
Upon saving there will be a success window pop-up saying “Service saved successfully”. What it doesn’t tell you is all the magic it just did behind the scenes. In just that short amount of time, it generated your REST API. So now if you navigate to the API Docs tab you can see your new documentation for the API and actually interact with it via the “Try it out” button.
Securing and Interacting with the API
I can end it here now that you have generated your API, but where is the fun in that? Now let’s actually see the API in action! First things first, let’s generate an API key to be paired with the API for security purposes. DreamFactory does not allow access to the API without being authenticated. Let’s navigate to the Roles tab and create a Role for our API. This Role with correspond with the API key so different users can have different privileges based off different keys.
For my Role I have pointed it to the SQL Server Service we just created and told it to only allow GET calls on the endpoints. This will ensure anyone using this API key will not be able to, for example delete data from the database. We must now link this Role to an API key. If we now go to the Apps tab we can create a new API key with the corresponding Role.
Once we hit save we are able to see the API key generated for our use. Just to show how it works I will be using Insomnia, a popular HTTP service, to call our DreamFactory API. I will call the customers table, passing the API key in the headers for authentication.
As you can see I have access to our new API and how much time did that take? Way less time than building this API yourself! If you would like to find out exactly how much time and money DreamFactory can save you, check out our API calculator. Otherwise what are you waiting for? Go build your next application using DreamFactory already!
If you have any questions about the platform, or just APIs in general, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us.
No matter the size or industry, companies everywhere grapple with solving a deceptively simple problem: displaying database data on the web in a table. This problem seems to be universal in the sense that all teams have experienced the inconvenience of passing around Excel spreadsheets, and want to instead move this data to the web. Yet these same teams often lack the programming experience required to securely retrieve the data and present it within a paginated, filterable and often searchable web interface.
Fortunately, using DreamFactory and off-the-shelf software such as Tabulator or DataTables, it’s possible to create a powerful database-backed web interface such as the one presented in the following screenshot:
If you’d like to interact with a live example head over to http://tabulator.demo.dreamfactory.com/ and get your hands dirty!
In this blog post I’ll show you how easy it is to create your own database-backed web interface using DreamFactory and Tabulator with almost no code required.
Creating the Database API
DreamFactory is an API generation and management platform used by thousands of organizations around the globe. You can download our open source version from DreamFactory.com or contact us to start an on premise or hosted trial of our commercial version. The open source edition includes support for several popular database, including MySQL and PostgreSQL, whereas the commercial edition additionally supports Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.
Once installed, you can generate a database-backed API in literally minutes, secured by (at minimum) an API and role-based access controls. If you’re not familiar with this process head over to DreamFactory Academy and watch the following video, “Creating Your First Database API with DreamFactory”:
You’ll also find dozens of other videos on our Youtube channel.
Once the API created, you can query the database using a standardized API URL structure such as:
Of course, for security reasons you’ll need to additionally pass along an API key. This process is described in the aforementioned video.
Integrating the API with Tabulator
Let’s breakdown some of the key syntax found in this example:
The div identified by the example-table id will serve as the location where Tabulator will inject the table. When the Tabulator object is created, you’ll see this div ID (#example-table) is passed in as the first argument so Tabulator knows what div to use.
The columns defined in the columns array should match the fields returned within the DreamFactory JSON response. In this example, each record includes five fields: emp_no, first_name, last_name, birth_date, and hire_date.
The ajaxConfig object defines the X-DreamFactory-Api-Key header. You’ll assign the API key generated within DreamFactory to this header.
The setData method identifies the URL that will be contacted to retrieve the JSON data.
Consider a query which joins employee records found in an employees table with information about their assigned department, the latter of which resides in a table named departments. The relationship is formalized using a key named emp_no. When DreamFactory parses the schema it will create aliases for each relationship, including one for the above-described named something like dept_emp_by_emp_no. The join query will therefore look like this:
The engineering team at DreamFactory designed and built some of the very first applications that use web services. Over the years, we learned many lessons trying to create the perfect mobile backend for these applications. This article lays out some of the problems companies encounter when they build custom REST APIs from scratch, and after that, we look at some of the architectural advantages and technical characteristics of a reusable REST API platform.
The REST API Complexity Problem
When a company decides to start a new mobile project, the IT group first defines the business requirements, and then starts writing the actual software. Usually there is a client-side team that designs the application and a server-side team that builds the backend infrastructure.
These two teams must work together to develop a REST API that connects the backend data sources to the client application. One of the most time-consuming and expensive aspects of the development process is the “interface negotiation” that occurs between these two groups.
With the acceptance of BYOD and general proliferation of mobile devices, the modern enterprise may need hundreds or even thousands of mobile applications. New mobile projects typically have new requirements that were not anticipated by the existing services. You could go back and try to expand the scope of the old services, but they are already in production, and so in many situations a new REST API is created for each new project.
And so the API building process continues over time with various developers, consultants, and contractors. The REST APIs are often written with different tools and developer frameworks. They run on different servers or in the cloud. They are tied to different databases and file storage systems. Each new service has different security mechanisms, credential strategies, user management systems, and API parameter names, as this diagram illustrates.
Continue reading “The Reusable REST API Platform Strategy”
DreamFactory is a high performance request/response engine for REST API Services. You can hook up any SQL or NoSQL database and instantly get a comprehensive REST API for that data source. A big part of our platform is the support for JSON Web Tokens. JWT is an open standard for representing session information that is transferred between the client and server. JWT allows DreamFactory to run in a completely stateless manner, which makes the platform very easy to scale vertically with additional server capabilities or horizontally with multiple instances between a load balancer.
Continue reading “PHP 7 doubles performance for DreamFactory”
Twilio has a superb API for integrating SMS messages into your applications. It’s easy to add Twilio as a remote HTTP service to any application you’re building with DreamFactory. DreamFactory lets you securely store your Twilio authentication credentials, call the Twilio API directly from a DreamFactory session, and easily add role-based access control to any Twilio API endpoint. This brief tutorial shows you how to add Twilio to DreamFactory in five minutes.
One of the most powerful features of DreamFactory is the ability to write server-side script in pre- and post-process events and use as a custom scripting service. This provides the ultimate flexibility and allows the platform to support all sorts of complex backend business logics. However, DreamFactory server-side scripts are stateless and their scope is gone once the original process is completed.
Continue reading “New DreamFactory cache service supports Redis, memcached, and local storage”
The location of the all powerful DreamFactory code will be located in a different place depending on what type of installation you did. We call this location the installation directory. In many cases, the version number is included as part of the path. In this example, we’ll assume you got verion 2.2.1-2 from Bitnami.
Continue reading “5 things every DreamFactory user should know”