A lot of people don’t know this, but our integration solution actually started as a tool to help us with another product.
DreamFactory originated as a Salesforce-focused product that helped administrators manage their data. What we started to see from working with hundreds of companies was that it was just difficult to access data, no matter the source. So we started getting really good at not only understanding APIs, but also empathizing with those who see things come to a crashing halt when lacking a mastery of APIs or an integration strategy.
In fact, we started getting really frustrated because of the multitude of different API flavors. As you can appreciate, it wasn’t apples and apples. There were apples, oranges, bananas… And sometimes there were even some dragon fruit. And they were built by developers that sometimes made APIs so complex that it was an alien language to anyone else. These dragon fruits adversely affected the company by slowing down everything and rendering project forecasts useless. And we were not alone in this conclusion – Gartner has found 80% of the cost and time of application development is devoted to the backend, and Forrester found that APIs are the single largest bottleneck for IT teams.
We started wondering, why isn’t there a way we can use convention over configuration? Why isn’t there a Ruby on Rails for APIs?
We looked at existing API Management providers, but the cost was insane and even during free trials it became clear that there the solutions were aimed at locking you in long-term with predatory pricing models.
We conceived of what we, as developers looking to complete a number of projects fast, really needed:
Something that was owned in-house and simple, so one could use it in a matter of minutes, and avoid a never-ending dependency of outsourced solution providers. Also, it must be simple enough that onboarding new team members was easy and scalable.
Something that built standardized and re-usable APIs, to stop the cycle we saw of dragon fruit integrations increasing business risk and inertia.
Something with the ability to conform to any governance requirement in a world of escalating cyber threats – so it had to be deployable on-premise and have a perpetual, security-related focus as threats evolved.
Something that was very fast and actually reduced the time needed to get integrations and associated API management completed – automated if possible. This was particularly important because we were seeing first-hand how API issues saw otherwise promising projects lose viability due to time and cost blowouts (see our calculator to learn more).
So with these lofty goals in mind we started building a platform ourselves. We not only wanted it to do most of the heavy lifting regarding these integrations, but would also incorporate best practices so we could move quickly onto the next project. An API framework – if you will.
Soon the idea took off, and we started seeing there was a real opportunity here to do away with a very painful, unpredictable, slow but critical part of development through automation. Better yet, we had a vision that no developer would ever need to deal with dragon fruit ever again. Just apples. Fresh, clean, perfect apples that all had the same dimensions. And a centralized platform that could tap into all your systems and manage business logic & governance across the entire enterprise.
Against advice, we released an open source version out of respect to the OSS tools we had benefited from, and without which, we would never have been able to complete this project. To this day, we remain fervent believers that the apps of tomorrow won’t arrive without companies dedicated to maintaining open source communities, despite the associated costs.
Now our automated integration solution is our bread and butter – and we are delighted to help commercial customers from some of the biggest companies in the world and hundreds of thousands of open source users build the apps of tomorrow.
If you haven’t generated a fully documented, standardized, live and secure REST API for anything in less than 30 seconds, take our open source solution for a spin. If you are looking to build a mobile app fast, combine data from unrelated data sources in a single API call or find a simpler solution to ETL and data warehousing, we are chomping at the bit to show you what our disruptive software can do for you!