Modern apps excel not only because of slick user interfaces but because of their back-end services. Through these cloud-based, back-end services, app data can be accessed through different devices. With the increasing complexity of mobile apps, modern development is getting more complicated. Eighty percent of developers’ time is taken up by back-end development, developers need a better way to meet the demands of the market.
Mobile back-end-as-a-service (MBaaS) is designed for a simple purpose: to give mobile developers the ability to build quality apps faster, without neglecting security or availability. This is accomplished by reusing proven back-end services through unified integration methods.
MBaaS can be compared to putting different phone cases onto your phone. You can change how it looks, similar to changing how an app looks through its user interface, but that core functionality of the phone is still the same. Each time you want to update the look of your phone, you can get a new case, rather than a completely new phone.
MBaaS provides a consistent way to connect to prebuilt, external, behind-the-user-interface functionalities, like enabling push notifications, linking to social media, or connecting to cloud storage, so developers are not required to reinvent these services that their applications need to access.
This technology helps to boost mobile innovation in a number of ways, including productivity, flexibility and agility:
These days, MBaaS can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, depending on project needs. Although there’s no standard definition of what types of services should be included in MBaaS, the following are some common MBaaS APIs for reference:
- User management
- Push notifications
- Social network integration
- File and data services
- Usage analytics
These services are required in most of the modern mobile applications. It may be wise to reuse them across different projects and applications with centralized control and monitoring. Through a survey of 100 developers, it was found that back-end-as-a-services could reduce dev time by about 44 percent. Furthermore, the services provided by MBaaS are usually well-tested and optimized in order to stay competitive in the market. With those shared APIs, development productivity can be greatly improved and developers can refocus their front-end core features from the low-level back-end tasks.
Some leading MBaaS vendors provide advanced-service APIs and software development kits (SDKs), which allow developers to assemble apps with their advanced yet inexpensive services. These services, such as mobile AI solutions, would be very difficult and time-consuming for developers to build on their own from scratch. Such services are usually billed in pay-as-you-go models to minimize the up-front investments, giving companies the flexibility to assemble and test those advanced features for market testing. The development costs can now be spread over a longer period of time, and the investment can be easily justified once the market needs are verified.
In traditional mobile development, end-to-end development is needed from the back-end infrastructure to the front-end application. Developers only need to focus on their apps and data, and they don’t need to worry about the underlying infrastructure and networks. Because most of the infrastructure is automatically provisioned and back-end services are prebuilt and tested, the development cycle can be much shorter, with reduced time spent on testing. With the shorter development cycle, application products can be rolled out faster, with shorter iteration cycles, to gather user feedback.
In short, there are a couple of benefits of leveraging MBaaS for mobile innovation instead of building everything on your own. Start leveraging MBaaS as an emerging powerful platform to boost your company’s innovations.
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