Welcome to thriftly.io’s frequently asked questions

Getting Started

What is thriftly.io?

Thriftly is a revolutionary, API-driven suite of tools that enables Windows developers to create mobile and web applications from their essential desktop software programs.

Using Thriftly’s server and gateway combination, developers can easily generate an API from key subsets of data or business logic, expose it across the cloud and outside their firewall, and consume it from any front-end.


You might not be familiar with certain terms we reference on Thriftly.io, especially if you’re new to API development. Thriftly.io – Terminology includes definitions for many of these terms.

Quick Start Guide

This Quick Start Guide walks you through getting started with Thriftly, including sign-up, installation, and creating, publishing, and consuming your API using the Thriftly Gateway.

Technology and Features

What languages can I use to generate an API?

Thriftly currently supports the primary development languages used by Windows business desktop applications, including .NET (C# and VB), Java, and DataFlex.

Our marketing and engineering teams are constantly assessing ISVs’ needs, as vendors strive to move their trusted Windows desktop business logic to the API economy. Currently, we’re investigating adding support for Delphi and VB6.

If you have another language you would like to see Thriftly support, please let us know – we are always looking for new ideas for our product road map!

How can I consume the APIs I create?

Depending on what pricing you choose, Thriftly offers multiple options for connecting to and consuming your API, including multiple protocols (JSON-RPC, SOAP, REST, or Thrift Binary and Thrift Compact) and the ability to serve the API over a TCP/IP socket or an HTTP connection.

Can I use the Thriftly Server with different development stacks?

Absolutely. Often our developer customers need to access their Windows application code from a variety of front-ends, and the front-end developer often has a different development language skill set.

That’s where the API approach is so useful – a Thriftly API can be served with an Apache HTTP server, Microsoft IIS, NGINX, or no server at all.

This allows developers to use open-source software development stacks such as LAMP and its variants to suit smaller budgets, or other stacks that are ideal based on the application.

About Thriftly

What is the difference between Thriftly and other methods or tools for migrating data and business logic to the cloud?

We hear a lot of talk about how to access Windows applications from the cloud – such as virtualization, streaming the desktop to a mobile device, or tools that enable “automatic” changes to the GUI.

But these methods don’t do justice to the power of the Windows application.

Many existing on-premises applications are absolutely essential to organizations’ existing business processes. If these applications are made available outside of the desktop, they must be accessible with the ease and user-friendly nature to which users are already accustomed in their personal mobile and web usage. Users don’t want to experience limitations, network speed issues, or general awkwardness when using a mobile application.

Really, the only real, cost-effective solution is to create “subsets” of these mammoth applications via APIs which can be written to, or consumed, from any device. That way, users can access the data or functionality they need from anywhere, on any device, without the need for a costly and time-intensive code rewriting project.

Here are some of the features that make Thriftly so unique:

  • The ability to connect to your API in multiple ways. With our multi-protocol approach, developers can choose different protocols and transport modes, as well as different types of servers, enabling significant flexibility in the development process.
  • Secure gateway access. Your API will be safe when accessed through the secure Thriftly Gateway.
  • Easy API generation. Our API server enables developers to quickly generate an API from their Windows code, no matter what their experience level is with APIs. In minutes, a developer can turn a desktop application’s code into an API that can be easily consumed by a mobile or web front-end.

I am an independent developer - do I need Thriftly?

Absolutely! Thriftly gives you an easy way to create APIs from your legacy code no matter what your development background.

Become a rock star to your friends and coworkers by creating a mobile app from your desktop applications!

I am an ISV owner – do I need Thriftly?

Yes! Many ISVs have significant investments in business logic developed over years of building a business around their specific subject matter expertise. However, their customers are no longer satisfied with the desktop – in the era of app stores, cloud, and SaaS, ISVs need to find ways to turn their trusted business logic into new revenue streams.

The development languages used by many on-premises Windows-based applications are not compatible with the needs of mobile and web applications, which are cloud-driven and require access to the treasure trove of data that is often locked behind a firewall.

To convert these desktop programs into SaaS products without an API would require an entire rewrite, something which most ISVs are not able to do cost-effectively.

With the API approach enabled by Thriftly, ISVs can extend their traditional applications with fresh functionality, mobile access, web portals, and more, opening up an opportunity for new customers, channels, and revenues.

Why should I use an API?

APIs are defined by configuration, instead of hard code documenting different business rules. This enables an API to have a lightweight footprint and to be easily or dynamically changed, an attribute which enables the dynamic experience demanded by today’s mobile and web users and is imperative for gaining a competitive advantage in today’s cloud-driven economy.

For example, an API that extracts data about the user’s behavior within the site or app can then serve up relevant data to encourage the desired call to action. For the corporate user, this could take the form of better data or analysis, or a more efficient path to complete a task. Furthermore, if your infrastructure is already set up as a service-oriented architecture, this is a good basis for assembling your assets into APIs which can then be exposed via an API management platform.

Ultimately, an API is the most cost-effective way to turn your legacy Windows desktop applications into cloud, web, or mobile products.

If Thriftly is built on Thrift, why do I need Thriftly? Why can't I just use Thrift?

Thriftly.io leverages Apache Thrift, an open source software framework for scalable cross-language development, combining a software stack with a code generation engine to build services that work efficiently and seamlessly across many different programming languages.

Thriftly.io extends the core Thrift functionality with comprehensive multi-protocol & multi-language API extraction (repurposing) and publishing capabilities for Windows desktop applications.

With Thriftly.io, you can easily generate an API that repurposes existing business logic and data from .NET, Java and DataFlex. Thriftly.io can work with many protocols needed by your application without changing the underlying codebase, including SOAP, JSON-RPC, Binary, and Compact, but users of Thrift currently do not have SOAP or JSON-RPC capability.

Thriftly.io provides many developer-friendly features not available to users of Thrift, such as a built-in API testing framework, easy management with your choice of a Microsoft Management Console snap-in or a standalone administration interface, and simple, quick deployment. To try out Thriftly.io, see our demo here.

Learn More about Thriftly.io vs. Apache Thrift