# Chapter 1. Introducing REST and DreamFactory

No matter your role in today's IT industry, APIs are an inescapable part of the job. Marketers regularly integrate Salesforce, Pipedrive, and MailChimp APIs into campaigns, while software developers rely upon Stripe, Google Maps, and Twitter APIs to build compelling web applications. Data scientists down the hall are grappling with an increasingly unwieldy avalanche of company metrics using Amazon Machine Learning, Elasticsearch, and IBM EventStore APIs. Meanwhile, the executive team relies upon Geckoboard, Google Analytics, and Baremetrics to monitor company progress and future direction.

In addition to integrating third-party APIs, your organization is likely deeply involved in the creation of internal APIs used to interact with proprietary data sources. But unlike the plug-and-play APIs mentioned above, manual API development is anything but a walk in the park. This process is incredibly time-consuming, error-prone, and ultimately a distraction from the far more important task of building compelling products and services.

This chapter introduces you to DreamFactory, an automated REST API generation, integration, and management platform. You can use DreamFactory to generate REST APIs for hundreds of data sources, including databases such as MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, file systems including Amazon S3, e-mail delivery providers like Mandrill. You can also integrate third-party APIs, including all of the aforementioned services mentioned in this chapter's opening paragraph. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of building sophisticated workflows. But before we jump into this introduction, some readers might be wondering what a REST API is in the first place, let alone why so many organizations rely on REST for their API implementations.