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APIs are the accepted cloud-based data access approach, supporting mobile apps, web apps, enterprise integration, and partners  

But they are slow and costly to build and maintain - particularly the business logic and security.  Significant, because this can be as much as half your application.

So, Live API Creator provides Data Explorer, Live API and Live Logic - 
the fastest, easiest way to build an API

Here's how it works.
  
  1. Just by connecting, you get a multi-table User Interface and a RESTful API, including the service and data access layer - a running RESTful Service. 

  2. You then declare your custom API, security and Live Logic with a point and click interface.  Unique Reactive Programming makes it simple and fast as a spreadsheet.

  3. Declarative support is complemented by a rich JavaScript event model, ensuring you have all the power you need to address complex requirements, along with the logging and debugging tools you need.

 
 



 
Watch the demo.

Access Data using APIs

Most engineers agree that a Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) is the ideal solution for mobile database access. A Rest server, delivering JSON objects, has become the common approach, servicing mobile apps, web apps, other corporate systems, and partners.

Of special interest is the business logic. In this context, a Rest server provides:

  • Retrieval Services. GET requests assemble the desired data from the database, for example, a Customer with their Payments, Orders and LineItems, subject to security, such as only return Customers in my region, and Balances only in my district.
  • Update Services. PUT/POST requests send updates to the server. The server applies the transaction logic to ensure database integrity. For example, adding an order might require sending congratulatory emails to the sales rep and customer, a credit check service call, and ensuring the updated customer balance does not exceed the credit limit. If no validations are violated, the server writes the results to the database.
Transactional business logic is complementary to other aspects of business logic such as work flow, decision logic, analytics, and enterprise application integration.

Live Data: Security and Integrity are key requirements

Rest APIs are public, enabling business partner access to data. Such public APIs demand that the Web Services enforce your policies for security and integrity. Building a "dumb" server that provides Rest access to a raw database data is not sufficient, your API needs "live enforcement" for security and integrity.

But not so easy to build - particularly the business logic

While it's easy to see what Web Services do and where they fit in, it's not so easy to build them. As illustrated here, a conventional approach involves multiple sub-projects:
  • A REST-services layer. To analyze the request, unpack parameters, and invoke the business and data access layers

  • A business-logic layer. To execute the security and business logic

  • A database layer. To perform physical read/write. For example, a Java stack might include Data Access Objects for read/write interfaces, which invoke JPA operations on annotated Domain Objects.

The most obvious point is the time and expense to build a Web Services server. The service and data layers are tedious, but the real work lies in the business logic layer. Business logic must be enforced over multiple use cases. Our credit limit check logic must also be applied to other transactions such as changing order LineItems and re-assigning orders to a different customer. Each use case must then address complex, multi-table dependencies. Five simple requirements explode into 500 lines of code. For real-world applications, tens of thousands of lines of code are required.

But there are more subtle implications of the traditional "just code it" approach:

  • Code is slow to build and costly to maintain, often requiring a different skill set. This is more than an IT problem. It can represent a brake on the business.

  • Code is manual. There are inevitable quality issues (was the discount applied to changed orders, not just new ones?). It is difficult to establish compliance to regulations or company policy.

  • Code is not transparent. There is no common business/IT language to address requirements risk.
The following image shows the resources:

Live Data

Live Data means you:
  1. Connect to get a fully operational User Interface and default RESTful API.
  2. Add the following:
    • Resource Definitions. Define multi-table Resources to reduce latency and provide application-friendly document-model JSON results.
For more information about customizing your API by defining multi-table resources, see Define Custom REST Resources.
    • Business Logic. Define using a combination of server-side JavaScript, and business logic, or spreadsheet-like expressions.
    • Security. Fine-grained authorizations that control access down to the row and column level.

Business Logic

Until now, organizations had to put up with manual approaches, suffering excessive time and expense, with poor agility and transparency. After all, it's domain-specific logic, surely it must require domain-specific code? Not any more.


You declare your business logic as a series of spreadsheet-like expressions (rules). This diagram shows an example of fully-executable logic. These expressions automate complex multi-table transaction logic.

They address:
  • Derivations, including multi-table derivations, such as the customer balance and amountTotal.
  • Validations, such as checkCredit.
  • Actions, such as auditing, cloning, sending email, and copying data.
Logic declarations are non-procedural, business-oriented statements of what to do. You might regard such logic as the requirements document ordinarily input to the development process (architectural design, detail design, coding, and testing).

For more information about how to declare your business logic, see Specify your Business Rules.

Automation means that API Server directly executes the business-oriented logic declarations. This ensures database integrity, based on clear and concise statements that serve as both transparent documentation and maintainable implementation.

Simple but Powerful

The rules are simple, sufficiently transparent to server as a communication bridge between IT and Business Users.

But they are also remarkably powerful.  For example, the rules shown above would require hundreds of lines of code in a conventional approach.  
In particular:
  • Enforcement is activeAPI Server executes your logic on every REST-based transaction. Database integrity is not dependent on remembering to invoke the logic before updating the database.
  • Re-use is automatic. For example, the rules conceived for Place Order are automatically applied to Change Order Line Items, Re-assign Order, etc. Logic is defined for "base resources", so is automatically applied for all resources defined above.

  • Multi-table dependency management is automatic, so maintenance is simply changing the logic. Unlike manual code, the system recomputes a correct order of operations based on dependencies.

  • Optimizations are automatic, so logic is pruned based on actual updated data. SQLs are optimized for aggregate operations by using one row "adjustment" updates, rather than expensive aggregates which may be chained.
While this example is simplified for communication, logic is quite powerful. For example, it requires only a few specifications to perform auditing, or even complex logic such as a deep copy, or a bill of materials explosion. You can extend the logic is extensible. You can use Java Script to handle events, or to define new functions or rule types.

For more information:

Security

End users are authenticated when they log in. The authentication authorizes them to access information per the roles they play. Administrators can define role-based authorization for each table, including:
  • Predicates that control which rows are returned.
  • Columns specifications that allow you to enable, for example, only managers to see salaries in their department.
Live API Creator enforces the underlying security provisions regardless of which defined resource is used.

Final Thoughts

Live API Creator provides significant advantage to your project in automating your REST Web Services, with unique automation for business logic and security. Live API Creator fits into your existing architecture, is extensible, and crafted for performance.

For more information: