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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.


APIs are ideal for data access

Most engineers agree that a Service Oriented Architecture 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 (e.g., a Customer with their Payments, Orders and LineItems), subject to security (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, so our credit limit check logic must also be applied to other transactions such as changing Order LineItems, re-assigning Orders to a different customer, and so forth.  

Each Use Case must then address complex, multi-table dependencies,  So, 5 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, so there are inevitable quality issues (was the discount applied to changed orders, not just new ones?).  It is remarkably difficult to establish compliance to regulations or company policy.

  • Code is not transparent, so there is no common Business / IT language to address requirements risk

Live Data

Live Data means you simply connect to get a fully operational User Interface and default Restful API.

Then add:
  1. Resource Definitions - define multi-table Resources to reduce latency and provide application-friendly document-model JSON results

  2. Logic - defined using a combination of server-side JavaScript, and spreadsheet-like Reactive Programming rules

  3. Security - fine-grained authorizations that control access down to the row and column level
These are illustrated below.  

Resource Definitions

Rest retrievals can
return complex data, such as set of Customers with their Orders, Items and Payments.  You define multi-table 
Rest Resources as shown here using your Browser.

Multi-table resources reduce latency by delivering all the required data in one transmission (with pagination for large results).  Also, note that provisions for resource / attribute alias names protect the application from underlying database changes.

Once you have defined resources, your API is ready to use.  Client development can proceed in parallel with Logic and Security specification as described below.

Business Logic

Until now, organizations have simply 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.

Business Logic is declared as a series of spreadsheet-like expressions (rules).  This diagram shows an actual 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 shown here

  • validations, such checkCredit

  • actions, such as auditing, sending email, copying data, etc (example not shown)
Logic declarations are non-procedural, business-oriented statements of what to do, not how to do it.   You might regard such logic as the requirements document ordinarily input to the development process (architectural design, detail design, coding, and testing).  

Automation means that the business-oriented logic declarations are directly executed by the Live API Creator Server.  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 active - the Live API Creator Server automatically 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, so, 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 1 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 - see more examples here.

Finally, logic is also extensible.  You can use Java Script to handle events, or to define new functions or rule types.

Security

When End Users log in, they are authenticated which 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

As for logic, the underlying Security provisions are enforced regardless of which defined Resource is used.


Final Thoughts

Live API Creator can provide 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, check out the Doc Center.