Tag Archives: REST

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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 #mobile 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?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

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Click here to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

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Improve Productivity by Publishing Services to Mobile Employees via a Web Gateway

Rather than extending your entire #network out to #mobile devices via #VPN, publish individual services through a #web gateway or the #cloud.

Most remote employees gain access to Intranet resources through a virtual private network (VPN). Using 3rd party or built-in software, employees provide credentials and sometimes a smartcard to create a VPN tunnel. Once created, employees can securely exchange data with internal resources. This is anything but seamless and employees find setting up VPN sessions and re-authenticating due to dropped connections to be a hassle. They want to access things the same way they do on the Internet.

Let’s take a look at a better mobile reality. Most companies around the world use Microsoft Exchange for corporate email. For more than a decade, mobile users on virtually every platform have been able to securely sync their email without first creating a cumbersome VPN connection. This was possible because Exchange publishes its Active Sync service through a reverse-proxy over TLS. The email app is responsible for passing credentials to the server. It works the way mobile employees expect all their mobile apps to work.

You can do this too by publishing your internal web sites and REST + JSON APIs on port 443 through a reverse proxy that lives at the network edge. Reverse proxies are appliances or server software that let you create a multi-channel access gateway. Of course, when you move your workloads to the cloud, none of this will be needed anymore.

Improve user productivity by eliminating the need to create cumbersome VPN connections to achieve secure connections. What remote access technology changes are you making at your organization to make life easier for your employees?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Book Cover

Reduce Corporate Expenses by Mobile-Enabling Existing Business Systems with REST APIs

Mobile-enable backend business systems by wrapping them with #REST #APIs that speak the same language as any #mobile device, browser or #app.

Most backend business systems organizations have deployed over the last several decades have absolutely nothing common. They all speak different languages via myriad binary and text wire protocols. They typically don’t talk to each other and they don’t talk mobile.

This is a big problem in today’s mobile-first world because CIOs expect data from any of their backend systems to be delivered to any device, thus empowering their employees.

Companies are faced with difficult choices ranging from replacing the old systems with new, mobile-friendly ones, rewriting custom systems, upgrading to newer versions if they exist, or moving workloads to the cloud. Many companies are unable to make any of these choices for the same reason they haven’t upgraded their Windows apps from the 90s. Limited budgets.

A lower-cost alternative is to leave these working systems in place but create a RESTful API wrapper around them. You basically encircle these systems with commodity servers or cloud gateways that map proprietary APIs to mobile-friendly APIs. This mapping can be accomplished via code or through connectors or adapters. Now all your existing systems will be able to communicate bi-directionally with any mobile device and more easily interface with customers and business partners. Think of this as mobile SOA.

Reduce business expenses by extending existing workloads to mobile devices rather than replacing those workloads with new solutions. What is your company doing to empower every employee with any device?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

BuildSession

//build/ : Wrap a Mobile API around your Enterprise and take Data Offline with NoSQL on Windows Phones and Tablets

For those of you who couldn’t make it to San Francisco, here’s my session on Wrapping a Mobile API around your Enterprise and taking Data Offline with NoSQL on Windows Phones and Tablets from //build/.

Enterprise mobility is a top priority for Chief Information Officers who must empower employees and reach customers by moving data from backend systems out to apps on mobile devices. This data must flow over inefficient wireless data networks, be consumable by any mobile device, and scale to support millions of users while delivering exceptional performance. Since wireless coverage is inconsistent, apps must store this data offline so users can be productive in the absence of connectivity.

In this video you’ll learn how to build fast and scalable REST + JSON APIs using the ASP.NET Web API while employing techniques such as data sharding and in-memory caching. On the device, you’ll learn how your apps can work with offline data via in-memory NoSQL tables that use LINQ to support the same CRUD operations as relational databases. You’ll walk away from this session with the ability to deliver flexible server solutions that work on-premise or in Azure and device solutions that work with Windows Phones and Tablets.

Download the two Visual Studio projects and associated source code from GitHub:
https://github.com/robtiffany/build-2014-mobile-api