Along with the release of DreamFactory 2.5.0, we added the ability to control and limit API calls to your DreamFactory instance on several levels. This feature is currently available in DreamFactory Gold. The API limits feature makes it easy to set limits on an entire DreamFactory instance, for a specific user, role, or service. Additionally, you can set limits for each user, where every user will get a separate counter.
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. REST APIs 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.