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Boost Employee Productivity by Replacing Proprietary Distributed Broker Technologies with Open RESTful APIs

Move your older, distributed broker technologies like CORBA, RMI, DCOM & RPC to REST APIs that communicate with any device, app, browser or endpoint.

A lot of the bigger companies built large, complex, distributed systems that relied on a variety of technologies to make them work. For example, code in an app makes local function calls in order to get things done. In distributed systems that spanned multiple servers, data centers and geographies, the notion of software in one system calling a function in a system somewhere else was referred to as a remote procedure call (RPC). This was a transformative technology but making it work wasn’t trivial.

The Object Management Group created the specification for the Common Object Request Broker (CORBA) based on the concept of interface definitions. Microsoft created a distributed form of its Common Object Model (COM). Sun baked a Remote Method Invocation (RMI) technology in Java and later added support for CORBA. Lots of distributed software built in the 90s used this stuff to make remote procedure calls, but it was tightly-coupled to those respective technologies and therefore not extensible.

The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) came along in the early 2000s and put all those earlier technologies out of their misery. This technology had broad support from standards bodies and corporations alike because it was based on HTTP, worked over the Internet and was platform-agnostic. Web Services were born. All kinds of specifications were created to perform every kind of object passing and remote function calling needed to build cross-platform, distributed systems. A new discipline around Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) came to life based on SOAP.

While SOAP was taking off, Roy Fielding wrote a dissertation on Representational State Transfer (REST) which was a software architecture style consisting of guidelines and best practices for creating scalable web services based on HTTP verbs. REST eventually won out over SOAP and XML during the 2000s due widespread, grass-roots efforts. David beat Goliath. Remember the lesson of standards bodies vs. grass-roots endeavors the next time you’re paralyzed waiting for standards to come along before innovating with new technologies. You might miss an entire technology wave.

The simpler, lighter-weight nature of REST makes it a superior choice over the bloated SOAP wire protocol for your mobile communications needs. Those LTE wireless data networks sometimes crawl along like GPRS and your employees will be glad you used something lighter.

A variety of server technologies allow you to create web APIs based on RESTful principles. Via server API code, you’ll write the same dynamic SQL queries or stored procedure calls that are currently in use with your existing client/server systems. This code will return data formatted as JSON that is consumable by any mobile app or browser. This mobile and firewall friendly way of moving data between devices and databases can also take advantage of server-side caching to further boost performance and scalability.

Reduce risk to your business by removing dependencies on unsupported, proprietary technologies and improve user productivity by implementing a distributed technology that works anywhere with any device. What is your organization doing to empower every employee with business API connectivity?

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Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Rob is a writer, teacher, speaker, world traveller and undersea explorer. He's also a thought leader in the areas of enterprise mobility and the Internet of Things.

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