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Enterprise Mobile Needs A Kick Up The MBaaS

DreamFactory 1.5 arrives this week with its latest developer proposition. The DreamFactory services platform lets developers connect mobile apps with back-end services.

The organization asserts that its technology "goes way beyond" the classic MBaaS definition already popular with so-called "consumer developers" that need somewhere to store high scores and a simple way to handle OAuth.

These consumer developer products provided basic CRUD services (CRUD services: create, read, update, delete) for data, says DreamFactory — and in each case used a NoSQL database for storage, perhaps MongoDB or CouchDB. This made sense, the firm agrees, largely because their customers didn't have a legacy database or the need for structured data.

The new DreamFactory 1.5 offers better scripting functionality to customize the REST API requests and responses on the server.

DreamFactory commentators specify that some of these other products (for example, Kinvey) are now trying to move upstream and appeal to enterprise customers.

A Kick Up The MBaaS

"This is where the BaaS (or MBaaS) story starts to diverge from reality. Enterprise customers won't store important corporate information at a startup company. It's a little unfortunate that DreamFactory gets tarred with the MBaaS brush — something we battle every day," says the team.

So, what are we talking about here? DreamFactory is like an open source software package, where instead of hosting the data, DreamFactory can create a secure connection to an existing database. The product can hook up any legacy SQL database and expose a comprehensive palette of RESTful services for CRUD and metadata access.

Developers can even work with SQL data and related objects in a JSON document, much like NoSQL. The product supports almost every kind of NoSQL database as well, and there are extensive security capabilities layered on top.

The software is available for download in the cloud marketplaces for Amazon, Azure, BitNami, and VMware.

"We also have installers for most Linux operating systems including RedHat, CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu. This allows enterprise customers to install DreamFactory on-premises or in the cloud and use their existing deployment, backup, management, and security policies," said the DreamFactory team.

… And Now, The News

In terms of new news, DreamFactory 1.5 can securely connect a client-side login with the corresponding user or role in a SQL or NoSQL database. This allows existing security permissions to be inherited by the REST API platform.

Lookup Keys can be used for the secure storage of the master credentials required for integration with an external system such as Amazon S3 or MongoDB. Lookup Keys can also be used to provide user- and role-based session information to the email service, email templates, external integration service, and URL integration links.

Also new are server-side filters. Until now, record-level access control of sensitive enterprise data required extensive server-side software development. With DreamFactory 1.5, an administrator can configure server-side filters to provide fine-grained access control for database records without writing any code. Record-level access can be limited by user, role, application, or any field value. Server-side filters can be used on both SQL and NoSQL databases. All of this functionality is enforced on the server, so the security and privacy of enterprise information is never in jeopardy.

"Now, developers can program the server itself to trigger and execute processes that add functionality to mobile apps — taking advantage of the inherent security of restricting processing to the secure server. Use cases include formula fields (create synthetic fields with dynamic or calculated information), field validations (write custom validations on any data field), workflow triggers (send out a push notification, email, or event under specific conditions), access control (implement fine-grained user access control of fields or objects), and custom limits (counting service transactions, or metering total throughput)," said the DreamFactory team.

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