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Data and Dropsource

Dropsource is a “Bring Your Own Backend” platform, designed to connect to web services via REST API. You can use certain data types locally within your app, including simple values and basic objects (for standard Android/Java and iOS/Swift types) – but for structured data you will need to connect your app to an external API. Similarly, if your app uses any data that is stored on a server, you will need an API to connect to it.

If you have an API ready or under development, check out a few requirements for using it in Dropsource.

You can use APIs to connect to your own data or to a third party service, such as Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, etc. If you’re using a third party service, you will need to document the endpoints you plan to use in Dropsource with a Swagger (OpenAPI) specification – check out the wizard below for guidance.

ⓘ Note

If you don’t have a particular data source in mind but want to try out Dropsource API connectivity, use one of the library APIs – currently you can choose from Google Places, Slack, Buzzfeed, Open Weather Map, and the To Do List demo app API.

FAQ: What is an API?

Connecting your Data to Dropsource

If you are unsure how to create an API, or how to connect an API to Dropsource, use the wizard to get started:

Do you have an API?
Yes
No

Does it return JSON?
Yes
No

You will need an API that returns JSON to connect external data to your Dropsource app. If you use a relational database (e.g. MySql, PostgreSQL, Oracle), a NoSQL database (e.g. MongoDB, Couchbase), a BaaS solution (e.g. Firebase, AWS), or even raw files, you can serve that data to your app via an API. Many BaaS providers offer the ability to build a REST API from these data solutions.

We’ve found the Serverless Framework (with AWS API Gateway and Lambda) to be an effective solution, particularly since it supports several languages including Node.js, Python, Java, and Scala. However there are many great frameworks for most of today’s popular languages:

We also recommend using Postman to test your endpoints and prepare your specification.

Check out the API Tools section for guides to setting up and documenting your API without any coding, using platforms including Bubble and Backendless. The Dropsource team is always exploring the feasibility of connecting to different services so we’ll be adding guidance on more platforms over the coming weeks and months.

Next you’ll need to document your API

Is it documented using Swagger/OpenAPI?
Yes
No

You’ll need your API to return JSON to use it in Dropsource:
Check out our API guidance
Once you have your API setup, you will need to document it with a Swagger specification (OpenAPI Version 2.0 in JSON format). Certain BaaS providers provide the ability to export a spec file, which you can import directly into your Dropsource project. There are also plugins for many API frameworks that allow you to generate a specification. You may find the following additional resources helpful:

Great – you’re ready to build your app! Check out Connecting to an API for guidance on connecting your data to Dropsource.
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