What is RAD Server and How You Can Use It?

I’m digging the new job. Lots of interesting things going on. Lots of great plans.

Now, you may not realize it, but I’m the Director of Product Management for all the Embarcadero products,  including a very cool product named RAD Server.

Many of you may have heard of RAD Server, but aren’t exactly sure what it is or why you’d want or need it. Well, read this blog post, and you won’t wonder anymore.

At its root, RAD Server allows you to build REST Server APIs with Delphi and C++Builder. You can read up here on what, exactly, REST is.

REST is beautifully simple. It functions on the notion that the four operations of the HTTP protocol – GET, POST, PUT, DELETE – correspond quite closely to the four CRUD operations – CREATE, READ, UPDATE, and DELETE. REST (along with JSON) has to a large degree taken over what SOAP and Web Services do/did.

So RAD Server accelerates building modern REST applications, services, and micro-services with Delphi and C++ Builder. This allows you a terrific amount of flexibility. First, you can easily build a back-end for a mobile application. RAD Server can provide a JSON-based REST API that your mobile application can use to manage all its data needs. The “heavy lifting” gets done by RAD Server, and the mobile application deals entirely with JSON. Nice.

In addition, because it uses the industry standards of REST, you can build any client front-end that you want for your RAD Server application. Any tool that can consume JSON via HTTP can be used to build a RAD Server client. PHP, Javascript, Angular, C#, whatever – doesn’t matter. As the graphic below shows, you can leverage almost anything to consume a RAD Server service.

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And of course, you can build a very nice REST client using the tools in RAD Studio.

Leverage Delphi and C++Builder

But the real power comes in that you can write your code in Delphi or C++Builder. It’s pathetically easy to create a powerful set of REST API endpoints using a RAD Server plugin built with Delphi. You have total control over the URLs and the results of those URL requests. You can use FireDAC to access your favorite backend database. You can, literally, build any REST service with the full power of RAD Studio. Another cool thing – it’s naturally really easy to leverage your existing code base and transform it into a REST API.

Built-in Services to Get Up and Running Fast

But wait, there’s more! RAD Server includes a full-featured set of built-in core services to power application back-ends, meaning that you don’t have to build any of them yourself. Such core services include User Directory services, Authentication, and Access Control, Push Notifications, JSON data-storage, etc. These services are all ready to go right out of the box.

REST API applications are different than the typical Client/Server application. You’ve heard me ranting about loose coupling for years now. Well, there’s no looser coupling than a thin REST API serving up JSON. Separating business logic from the client is a natural as falling off of a log. Basically you are building a different form of a multi-tier application. Thus, RAD Server is a great complement to DataSnap by providing another, industry standard way to build multi-tier applications.

Want to get started? RAD Studio Enterprise includes a test version of RAD Server that allows you to build RAD Server applications via packages.  It’s very easy to get going. 

A Simple Use Case

One of our customers had a client server app for order management. In its old form, a separate server was installed at every store. The development team used RAD server to re-architect the front-end with a Javascript Angular web-based client and the back-end with RAD Server.   In only three months, they had a robust application that can service a host of new stores with minimal infrastructure investment. At first, they were considering a costly parallel Java development that was going to take over six months and require a whole separate team. Want to find out more about this customer? Watch this great video by our partner Malcolm Groves of CodeInsight.

Conclusion

There never has been a better time to move to a multi-tier architecture that separates your concerns and makes your applications both easier to maintain and more flexible. RAD Server allows you to migrate existing code to a more robust, modern architecture using REST APIs. Keep your eyes peeled for a Webinar covering all of this in the coming weeks.

In addition, we’re going to be running some pretty compelling sales programs that will make it easier than ever to get started with RAD Server. All in all, RAD Server is a bargain and you should give it a closer look.