One of the most important ideas in the world of software engineering is the concept of loose coupling. In a loosely coupled design, components are independent, and changes in one will not affect the operation of others. This approach offers optimal flexibility and reusability when components are added, replaced, or modified. Conversely, a tightly coupled design means that components tend to be interdependent. Changes in a single component can have a system wide impact, with unanticipated and undesirable effects.
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There are many diverse organizations around the world leveraging the power of DreamFactory’s open source REST API to tackle some really cool projects. One government organization in Southeast Asia is using our REST API to power their Geographic Information System (GIS) website.
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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”
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.
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.
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DreamFactory 2.3 has shipped! This release includes major enhancements, including PHP 7 for faster performance, new APIs for Cassandra
, Redis, and Memcached
, and queued event scripts. Check out the release notes below and head on over to Bitnami
to get DreamFactory 2.3.
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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”
introduces the Cassandra NoSQL database service. Now, you can easily connect to a local or remote Cassandra database from your DreamFactory instance and perform operations using the same RESTful API that you already use for other NoSQL databases in DreamFactory.
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