Given all the databases that developers usually have to navigate, it’s no wonder that building an enterprise application is often a daunting proposition. Looking to reduce a lot of that complexity, DreamFactory Software is making it possible for developers of mobile computing applications to use an open source RESTful API to access multiple back-end databases via version 1.5 of its back-end-as-a-service (BaaS) software.
DreamFactory president Bill Appleton says the primary database that the company exposes to its back-end service is based on the open source MySQL database. The addition of a RESTful API capability means that developers can invoke other data sources via the MySQL database running in a cloud environment.
The open source DreamFactory Services Platform can be download via cloud marketplaces created by Amazon, Microsoft, Bitnami and VMware. Installers for most Linux operating systems, including Red Hat, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu, give customers the option to install DreamFactory on premises or in the cloud.
DreamFactory 1.5 also provides support for custom scripts that can be triggered at any point in the REST pipeline, while event information such as status and alerts can be posted to the client application.
In addition to providing a new RESTful API capability, DreamFactory is adding support for record-level access control. Administrators can configure server-side filters to provide fine-grained access control for database records without writing any code. Appleton says record-level access can be limited by user, role, application or any field value. Server-side filters can be used on both SQL and NoSQL databases.
Finally, version 1.5 of DreamFactory adds the ability to connect a client-side login with the corresponding user or role in a SQL or NoSQL database in a way that allows existing security permissions to be inherited by the entire REST API platform.
In essence, DreamFactory is making the case for decoupling BaaS from the infrastructure-as-a-service layer. Appleton says developers of mobile applications should be able to access back-end services that are consistent regardless of where they are deployed.
As for making money beyond providing service and support for DreamFactory, Appleton says customers should expect to see a more comprehensive offering based on its software that is specifically optimized for the needs of large enterprise customers in the not too distant future.
While it’s still too early to say what BaaS environments will ultimately dominate the cloud computing landscape, it’s also clear that in an age where no one can be sure which cloud service providers, outside of the very largest ones, are going to be in business this time next year, an open source approach to BaaS has its attractions.