MBaaS: Backendless as a Means of Rapid Evolution of Middle-Size Client-Server Application

The division into client and server sides is quite well-known and these parts are united logically. Moreover, their development is completed in tight collaboration between the two teams: server part developers and the client part ones. They frequently meet to discuss the API, prepare the needed documents. Any changes in the client’s logic cause the API modification. This is the traditional approach to the creation of complex application and services that requires significant cash investment. The server development itself implies deep knowledge in programming languages, features of development environment, etc.

But the question is whether it is worth the efforts and all the money spent if the server part of the applications is occupied primarily with data storage and the common processing of these data? Sometimes we could also deal with the product startup or a prototype of the mobile project so usually are quite resource-constrained. In such cases there is no need to hire a team of professionals to develop the server part that has standard functionality. Or, when the mobile part development goes earlier than the main server part is ready, we use a temporary solution until the required server part is done.

That’s exactly where we tackle the topic of mobile backend as a service. Such approach gives you freedom not to develop the server part particularly for your application but use the cloud service instead. It also leads to saving the time and resources spent on development, server deployment, hosting fee, etc. Eventually, you simply cut the expenses of the project. That’s the main reason of MBaaS getting popularity nowadays and more and more similar services are becoming available.

Among the modern MBaas providers there are Kinvey, Kumulos, AnyPresence, Kii, Backendless. Some of the following platforms could partially act as mobile BaaS means: Firebase, Realm Mobile Platform, Red Hat Mobile Application Platform, etc.

After having used Parse for a couple of years, our Mobile Development Team has recently switched to Backendless as the cloud backend for mobile apps. It allows database design being created in an interactive way and the access to the data is provided through automatically generated RESTful APIs or official Backendless SDK. The good point of this platform is that you could implement some parts of your business logic into the project.

The benefits of working with Backendless mobile backend development:

  • Wide range of additional functions (Media Services, Geolocation API, PUSH notifications, Messaging API, File Services);
  • Integration with social networks and convenient user’s account management;
  • Option of using various programming languages while adding the business logic of your own;
  • Convenient creation of event(s) handlers;
  • The service is free to some limit;
  • API versioning is provided;
  • The service is scalable.

One of the biggest benefits of mobile backend as a service is that the mobile developers could design and edit the database independently. In the majority of cases it speeds up the development and testing of new mobile applications. Moreover, it facilitates the improvement of the existing applications due to a better structured and easy-to support code.

One more benefit is that developers could design the model on the server and it becomes identical to the local model of the application objects (in case of data caching on the client side). Unfortunately, Backendless doesn’t support a direct integration with ORM and any Realm like solutions. But, one step at a time I guess and very soon this issue will be solved.

Generally, such systems let the mobile developer or startup entrepreneur to concentrate on the main functions provided by the application, UX, application performance, marketing side and pay less attention to the server part of the project.

If you have any questions regarding mobile software development, feel free to contact us.

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