Why would you need a mobile backend as a service platform ?

Why would you need a mobile backend as a service platform?

To understand the need for a mobile backend as a service (MBaas) platform, one needs to analyse the anatomy of mobile or web apps  - rich device or browser hosted user interfaces collecting user interaction and translating it to data sent out to a remote server for storage and processing. Be it a game sending high scores to a global leader board or a simple todo app tracking daily tasks, the general theme is the same.

This means that as an app developer, one has to not only build an app front end, but also build a remote api backend which the app can interact with. However, there are a number of reasons why this can be particularly difficult when building mobile and web apps.

1. Rinse and repeat – Given the intense competition, the pace of development for mobile apps is hectic. There is no time for build scalable and well architected backends.

2. Short app lifetime – Market research indicates that the average life of an app is less than 30 days. This means within 30 days or less of a hectic app development schedule, most developers need to do all of the same thing, all over again.

3. Fragmented technology – There is wide disparity between the technology used to build the front-end for an app (iOS, android, html5) and the backend api(.net, python, ruby etc). Find app developers with all the required skills is not only difficult but expensive.

4. Scale – While cloud technology has matured quite a lot today, the sheer number of options available to developers can be confusing.

Apart from all this, there are more disruptive developments imminent with technology like the new Firefox mobile OS in the offing. Apps for the Firefox OS will be written completely in HTML5 and Javascript. This means that soon, every web developer out there will suddenly also become an app developer. And all if not most of them, will need a backend platform which unfortunately will not be written using just html or javascript.

This is where an MBaas platform proves invaluable. From a front-end developer’s perspective, an MBaaS platform cuts out the worst parts of build a mobile app. It shields the developer from all the nuances of building and maintaining a scalable backend, while allowing full freedom over all the data that is generated and consumed by his app. Easy to use APIs and SDKs ensure that the developer can leverage the full power of a server side backend without stepping out of the comforts of this ecosystem.


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