New API Platform Targets Specialized Web and Mobile App Development

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A French software developer recently released the beta version of a new PHP framework designed to simplify specialized Web projects, including the creation of single-page applications, native mobile apps, and sites with complex interoperability requirements. 

Called simply API Platform, its creator Kévin Dunglas describes the open source technology as an API-first PHP framework. This means that developers use it to first build a REST API for holding an application’s data and business logic and then use client-side technologies, such as AngularJS, Ionic, Java, ReactJS, or Swift, native mobile apps and other products, he explains. 

Developing new products in that order enables programmers to easily integrate their projects with as many tools and partners as necessary, Dunglas told ProgrammableWeb. “Such systems can potentially provide access to all the data and features exposed through official websites and apps,” he added.

The main components of the API Platform include a data model generator to help developers reuse common schema types from Schema.org. It supports PHP, the Doctrine Project’s object-relational mapping (ORM), and Symfony validation rules. The platform exposes structured data through a hypermedia REST API and follows JSON-LD and the W3C’s Hydra Web standards, as well as Schema.org data schemas, Dunglas says. 

“As far as I know, it's the only framework with a code generator able to bootstrap a full and working data model, including validation, relations, ORM, and underlying database tables and columns from generic vocabularies provided by the Schema.org initiative,” he said.

Dunglas claims the framework is comprehensive enough to enable programmers to build a complete production API, with tools for specifying and testing the API, automatically generating human-readable documentation, creating an HTTP cache, and performing authentication (via JSON Web Token and OAuth support).

Although the beta version of the API Platform has been available for only a few weeks, a number of European companies have already made it part of their development operations and two open source projects—PartKeepr and Incipio, Dunglas says. 

API Platform is distributed free under the MIT license. Additional information is available from Dunglas’s software development and consulting company, Les-Tilleuls.coop.

Image credit: ​dunglas.fr

Alan Joch
 

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