API Calculator: Understanding the costs behind building an API-based application

Do you want to save money, deploy projects faster, and spend more time on developing application experiences that enthrall users? Then it’s practically a certainty APIs will play a critical role in your software development process. Accordingly, you’ll want to obtain a fairly accurate understanding of the cost and time required to building an API. But it’s important to understand that there’s much more to an API than just coding an interface to some data source such as a database. Whether you are planning on hiring a contractor or assign 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. Continue reading “API Calculator: Understanding the costs behind building an API-based application”

The Reusable REST API Platform Strategy

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”

How to integrate the Twilio API with DreamFactory to enable SMS for your app

twilio.png 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.

Continue reading “How to integrate the Twilio API with DreamFactory to enable SMS for your app”

DreamFactory Cache Supports Redis, Memcached, and local storage

Redis
DreamFactory Redis
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
  • Redis cache
  • Memcached 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.

Redis service in Swagger

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.

Redis

Then you will want to edit the Cache Settings section in your .env file. You will want to uncomment the following.

  • CACHE_DRIVER=redis
  • CACHE_DEFAULT_TTL=Cache TTL in minutes
  • CACHE_HOST=
  • CACHE_PORT=6379
  • CACHE_PASSWORD=LEAVE COMMENTED OUT IF YOU ARE NOT USING A PASSWORD
  • CACHE_DATABASE=2
  • 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.

Using Appery.io to quickly build apps with DreamFactory

In recent posts about DreamFactory power user Crystal Taggart, we highlighted the ways she uses our open source platform to quickly build effective app architecture and add features on the fly. By using the power of Appery.io and Dreamfactory together she gets a useful visual interface for building apps in days instead of months. Continue reading “Using Appery.io to quickly build apps with DreamFactory”