The unprecedented growth in the Mobile app market has definitely led to the mushrooming of various services that are aimed at helping app developers – app testing services to back end management services. But, how much do we know about the efficacy of these? Are they worth their claim? It is difficult to answer these questions with a categorical ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because there is no one solution that fits all. Looking at it broadly, these services do add value to developers – especially those that provide cloud backend management as a service.
MBaaS stands for “Mobile Backend as a Service” and is a model that specifically addresses the cloud-computing requirements of web and mobile app developers by providing a unified way of connecting their apps to cloud services.
Mobile and web apps often use a similar features on the backend, including analytics, push notifications, user management, and cloud storage (among others). These services have their own API that must be individually incorporated into an app and some services require the developer to roll a custom back-end solution. This is often time-consuming and complicated.
MBaaS serves as a bridge between the frontend of an application and various cloud-based backends via a unified API and SDK providing a consistent way to manage back-end data. Developers won’t have to redevelop their own backend for each of the services that their apps need to access (saving time/money).
Moreover MBaaS provides scalability, availability and security making the developer’s life easier when apps become more popular.
Web and mobile apps require a similar set of features on the backend, including push notifications, integration with social networks, and cloud storage. Each of these services has its own API that must be individually incorporated into an app, a process that can be time-consuming and complicated for app developers. BaaS providers form a bridge between the frontend of an application and various cloud-based backends via a unified API and SDK
Providing a consistent way to manage backend data means that developers do not need to redevelop their own backend for each of the services that their apps need to access, potentially saving both time and money
Here’s a quick look at the various advantages of using Baas
Enables more focus on API and front end experience
The success of an app (especially consumer apps) depends very much on the front end experience. When such is the case, if the complexity of the backend can be outsourced, developers can channel more resources and time into fine tuning the front end experience instead of worrying about the backed complexities. The complexity of developing the right backed is also compounded by the variety of devices and platforms to be handled.
Most app developers have no clue about how their apps would fare once launched. It can flop altogether or get Millions of downloads. With the inability to predict future, it is a tough decision for the developers to decide how much time they should spend on fine tuning their back end. Should they risk launching an app with a not-so-robust backend or should they spend time and resources on building the ultimate backend which will never be a need if the app flops. The use of Baas definitely reduces the risk involved. It is ridiculously easy to set up and if the app takes off, the backed can scale up as required in the cloud. It is definitely a win-win in this case.
Reduces development time by almost 50%
It takes at-least 15 to 20 weeks to build a full blown app (depending on the complexity) that will work reasonably well across majority of the devices in the market. With the backend taken care of, it will take significantly lesser time – almost 50% lesser to launch an app. This offers a huge advantage for developers in terms of getting to the market faster than their competitors.
Suitable for all
This is a service that can be used by all – companies that are big to start ups and solo developers. Though there are concerns about security when it comes to using these services for enterprise apps, those are mostly myths that have been busted by the service providers with their case studies.
Mobile app development remains fun when it is about designing user interfaces, engineering social communication among users or bringing in stickiness. The backend infrastructure plumbing is too time consuming and less rewarding. Worrying about database scaling, thread locking, persistence, user registration handling, messaging and pushing notifications is not fun. They are necessary evils that have to be taken care of to launch an app. The Baas paradigm has definitely made app development much easier and fun. These services definitely present a powerful case for quick adoption.