Many years ago I was the lead developer for a software development company that was a market leader in the leisure industry. Back in the day, we were using Delphi 3 and then Delphi 5 to create the software. The software was a complete CRM that interfaced with access control systems, card readers, ran in multiple languages, and offered everything from reservation management to debt collection.
So why am I starting my post with this trip into the past? – In short, One thing that was true then is even truer today. The more customers the software won, the more systems we were asked to integrate with: From a finance point alone, customers wanted to consolidate their business accounts into Sage, QuickBooks and the like because they were the best at doing specific accounting jobs. While the software my team wrote managed a large percentage of the daily business, it was part of the mix that made up a customers technological capability/software systems. – No App is an Island!
Working with so many different systems and API’s can be a real handful, different API’s work in different ways which adds testing complexity, and more skills and knowledge that needs to be learned. If it was working with text files, SOAP (needed to get to Delphi 6 (ok 7) for that), sockets, or a growing number nowadays via JSON and HTTP, a lot was required to manage and maintain these connections (and develop the new ones each time they were needed).
Being at the heart of the connection!
While connecting to other systems was important, one thing that really establishes a product is what connects to it! One of the biggest boost sales ever received (while I don’t think they really appreciated it at the time) was the development of an external use API into the core system. This for the first time enabled customers to build their own extensions that worked with our software. Rather than limiting the potential for custom development, this added the desire for the customer to build their own applications that became reliant on our systems. Those that built on our frameworks became worth a lot more in the long term value that those that didn’t. But why is that important today?
RAD Server and Enterprise Connectors
This week has seen the launch of a brand new initiative from Embarcadero, who have partnered with CData to provide Enterprise connectivity to 80+ Enterprise applications.
So? I can program an API right…
Well, using FireDAC, these connections are easily added to any application as a database driver (just like connecting to InterBase or Oracle or any other SQL database). It then manages the magic of converting all API’s into standards base SQL to work with!
- live data at design time,
- easy configuration of connections (just like any other database)
- no need to learn multiple API’s…
- a far simpler development process!
This also means easy access to FireDAC’s core capabilities such as LocalSQL etc.
Enterprise connectors coupled with RAD Server enable developers using RAD Studio, Delphi or C++Builder to build amazing connected middle-tier systems rapidly, that are shared using modern JSON connectivity. With the ability to easily connect to so many different data sources, and make those available via JSON and YAML documentation, you can deliver a single sign-on server with amazing connectivity very rapidly. With API usage analysis built into RAD Server, management of the heart of your customer’s software systems is easy to achieve, making your products an integral part of their future.
Get RAD Server for FREE!
Right now (Until 30th June 2017), a Site license of RAD Server is available free with Architect editions of RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder. To learn more about RAD Server, I suggest checking out RAD Server home page or searching RAD Server on YouTube.
Enterprise Connectors – Beta
The Enterprise connectors beta is now available to those on the latest version of RAD Studio, Delphi or C++Builder. Visit the link here to find out more about the 80+ Enterprise systems included, such as Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Microsoft SharePoint, Paypal and Oracle Eloqua spanning Accounting, CRM, Marketing, NoSQL, eCommerce, Social Networking and more.