There was recently an article on TechCrunch about how APIs are the new FTEs. Thinking about how usually startups have limited resources we thought we want to help start ups and companies that do not have the capacity to hire back-end developers to create REST APIs that support their front-end applications. We tried to come up with an approach that is flexible and easy to use.
What it does
UnicornLabs combines different APIs to let you visually create your backend. You can stitch together different APIs that you need and let the data flow through these APIs. Once done, you can download the server and either do additional modifications or deploy it easily using Docker to your preferred hosting platform.
Additionally UnicornLabs offers an easy way for API providers to create modules for our platform to enable users to consume their APIs straight from UnicornLabs.
How we built it
We used Node.JS and Angular.JS to create a server that serves UnicornLabs. Additionally the server has the capability to generate based on a set of instructions the necessary server to output and provide it as a download.
Challenges we ran into
How to structure the data efficiently and share it between a nice graph-based front-end and backend. OAuth tokens expire quickly. Ideally UnicornLabs wouldn't have to handle OAuth to enable mobile devs to actually use the native SDKs provided and just pass a token to our service.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It actually works and supports a variety of APIs including some of the sponsors.
What we learned
Quickly expiring tokens are evil. OAuth tbd.
What's next for UnicornLabs
Moar APIs. Find the best solution for OAuth based APIs.