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Maxwell Lucas

Maxwell Lucas logo

Business Objective

Provide enterprise customers, NGOs and government agencies access to fast-changing travel-risk management information so they can ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees worldwide.

Technical Challenge

Place a modern mobile experience in the hands of thousands of mobile users, and provide access to legacy database and associated web services.

The Solution

DreamFactory facilitates the exposure of backend services and provides an efficient, auto-generated API and SDK for fast front-end prototyping, development, and deployment.

Priority 1 - Quickly mobilize an existing legacy database

  1. Use a modern JavaScript framework to develop cross-platform front-end apps (both desktop and mobile)
  2. Connect two front-end apps with in-house and external web services via a single, scalable REST API
  3. Deliver critical health and safety intelligence to the mobile employees of 12,500 clients.

Priority 2 - Empower in-house development

  1. Eliminate the need to outsource any development and save $100,000
  2. Focus in-house development talent on delivering an excellent user experience instead of on API development
  3. Reduce development time from months to weeks

A dynamic geo-political climate mandates mobile access to security intelligence

The firm's clients depend on a web portal to access country-specific intelligence such as current events, risk profiles and security advisories. Increasingly, these clients prefer to access the portal using mobile devices, requiring the development of a mobile app to complement the existing desktop-based portal. In late 2014, Antony Smith, technical director of Maxwell Lucas, determined that that existing legacy framework could not easily be extended to meet these requirements, and searched for a solution.

"We needed to develop two separate applications that would access the same backend database and services. Firstly, a web app to provide a modern replacement for the existing intelligence portal, and secondly a mobile app that would give our corporate clients the ability to access up-to-the-minute information on the situation in any country," says Smith. "After consideration of PHP frameworks such as Symfony and Zend, I heard about DreamFactory. Installation was very smooth via Bitnami, and I was quickly able to verify that DreamFactory instantly exposed our backend MySQL database and services via a comprehensive admin console."

DreamFactory accelerates the development of an excellent front-end user experience

After completing the backend integration, Smith made rapid progress on the apps themselves. DreamFactory automatically generates a well-documented API for all backend services, which enabled Smith to build a front-end web app to replace the existing portal and connect it with backend services. To develop the new portal, Smith selected AngularJS, and used the DreamFactory Angular SDK to ensure a smooth and fast integration with the DreamFactory API platform.

"With all the backend services exposed, and a REST API automatically generated, hooking up the front-end apps was easy," says Smith. "For the mobile app, DreamFactory will also be invaluable. We're using the Titanium mobile app development platform to build fully native cross-platform applications that deliver an excellent user experience. Again, the DreamFactory Titanium SDK will turn something I had been somewhat dreading into a quite enjoyable experience."

Significant project savings and a fast time to market

The DreamFactory REST API provides both of the two new applications efficient and easily maintainable access to the Maxwell Lucas high-availability MySQL database. Additionally, this same interface provides a persistent connection so that alerts and notifications can be sent to Concur, a third-party web service. This level of technical sophistication was developed by a single developer with minimal experience in backend integration, and eliminated the need to hire technical assistance.

"Before we considered DreamFactory, we had explored outsourcing some of the integration work. We were looking at quotes of at least £70,000 (more than $100,000) to create an API for our backend, and this API would not have provided the same high level of functionality that DreamFactory provides, right out of the box," says Smith. "Also, a major consideration is that outsourcing would have taken at least six months, whereas I was able to complete the work in a few weeks. DreamFactory enabled me to take on a tough technical challenge and develop a modern, long-term solution that our clients really like."

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