There is a growing industry now with more than 30 companies playing in the Backend-As-A-Service (BaaS) market.
The principle is simple: give companies a secure way of exposing data housed on premises and behind the firewall publicly.
This can include database data, as well as Legacy PC data through established connectors; SAP for example provides a connector for transacting with their legacy systems.
Early attempts were fixed providers for specific systems like SAP, IBM or Oracle, but the new breed is extensible, allowing Channel Partners and Consultants to build robust integration applications that can consume whatever data sources the client wants to expose.
I just happen to be close to finishing a Cloud Based HTML5 application platform that provides robust integration services, and I would like to break ground on an extensible data proxy to complete the system.
From what I can gather, I need to provide either an installable web service of some kind, or a Cloud service which the client can configure with VPN for interactions.
Then I can build in connectors, which can be activated with a service account, and expose those transactions via web services of some kind (JSON, SOAP, etc).
I can also provide a framework that allows people to build in their own connectors, and use some kind of schema to hook those connectors into the proxy.
The end result is some kind of public facing web service that could securely be consumed by applications to show data through HTML5 on any device.
My gut is, this isn't as hard as it sounds. Almost all of the 30+ companies (With more popping up almost weekly) have all come into existence in the last 18 months or so, which tells me either the root technology, or the skillset to create the technology is in abundance right now.
Where should I start on this? Are there some open source projects I can leverage? A specific group of developers I can hire? I'm confident someone here can set me on the right path and save me some time.
You don't see this many companies spring up this rapidly if they are all starting from scratch with proprietary technology.