You need to save money, deploy projects faster, and spend more time on developing application experiences that enthrall users. It is practically a certainty that APIs will play a critical role in your software development process, but how much does it cost to build an API?
It’s important to understand that there is more to an API than just coding an interface to some data source. Whether you are planning on hiring a contractor or assigning a new project to your team, an API calculator can help you understand the time and cost required to develop a mission-critical part of your next project.
DreamFactory 2.10 is live! The 2.10 release adds support for the OpenAPI 3.0 spec, role-based access control for the DreamFactory Admin App, and a number of bug fixes. Head on over to Bitnami or GitHub to install DreamFactory 2.10. Here’s what’s new:
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.
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 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 or GitHub to get DreamFactory 2.3.
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.
Supported Cache Services
To allow for more flexibility in server-side scripts as well as to add a quick way of storing key-value pair data, DreamFactory 2.3 introduces the ‘Cache’ service. The Cache service supports three different types of cache backends.
Local file based cache
Once the services are configured, all three types of cache backends use the same REST API interface to read, write, update, and delete the key-value pair data. Cache Services are native services of DreamFactory and are supported by features like role-service-access, lookup usage, live API documentation etc.
You can configure and use a cache service in a standalone way to store any number of key-value pair and retrieve them as needed. This allows you to easily implement a server-side caching system for your client apps. But the real benefit of cache service can be realized in server-side scripting. In your DreamFactory server-side script, you can make API calls to your cache service just like you do that for any other services. This will allow you to temporarily or permanently store any data related to your script. This can later be used in another script/process or even inside your client application.
Configuring Your First Cache Service
Let’s take a closer look at this new Cache service and it’s usage. You can configure/provision a Cache service just like any other services using the DreamFactory Admin console -> Services tab.
To learn more about the configuration, please see the wiki page.
Once you configure a DreamFactory Cache service, head over to the swagger API Docs by selecting the ‘API Docs’ tab on the Admin console. Your newly provisioned Cache service should now show up on the list of services there. Select your cache service to expand it. This will show you all the available APIs for your service. You can expand each of this API to get further details on their usage.
Cache for Performance
If you are interested in getting your API calls in a timely manner you can leverage Redis for consistent speeds. To do so you just have to follow a few simple steps.
First you will want to enable Caching for the Service you would like cached and set the amount of time each cached response is allowed to last.
Then you will want to edit the Cache Settings section in your .env file. You will want to uncomment the following.
CACHE_DEFAULT_TTL=Cache TTL in minutes
CACHE_PASSWORD=LEAVE COMMENTED OUT IF YOU ARE NOT USING A PASSWORD
REDIS_CLIENT=Which Redis client to use: predis or phpredis
Believe it or not, that Service is now being Cached. Confirm it in your Redis environment and never worry about slow response times again! Chat with an expert today or try out a free instance to see how easy it is yourself.
DreamFactory 2.3 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.