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Have you ever considered a mobile backend service for mobile app development?

Posted by Ben Dickson on Nov 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM
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Yes; it can take a considerable amount of time, use a lot of resources, and be very expensive to develop mobile applications that are connected to back-end infrastructure. One may very well be dissuaded from undertaking such a task. However, as a service, mobile backend slashes its way through red tape to save time and money for IT departments and developers alike.

Consider using mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) to eliminate the necessity to launch servers, establish and initialize authentication components, prepare yourself for scalability, enhance and adjust your systems, or any of the other arduous steps needed to implement complex back-end infrastructure.

However, there are some key questions to consider first. As with all new technology advances, developers may not actually need MBaaS, even though it is advisable that they evaluate the pros and cons of it in relation to their needs. If the circumstances allow it, MBaas can deliver a variety of benefits to your enterprise, despite the fact that it may not act as a one-size-fits-all for every organization.

As a service provider, a mobile backend is able to offer developers a general set of APIs to use when connecting to back-end resources. This assists in simplifying and unifying development efforts using a number of different platforms. MBaas also puts an end to the need to establish redundant app stacks and repeating boilerplate codes, as well as providing a range of back-end services, including the storage of data, geolocation, user authentication, management, and push notifications.

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Using MBaas means that developers can focus on front-end applications and user experience. It allows them to develop and release mobile apps a lot faster and much easier than before, with a fewer number of obstacles in the way. This advantage is considered extremely valuable for short-term projects undertaken by IT services, especially those that come with tight deadlines. For instance, an ordinary startup might refer to MBaaS if it is seeking to launch within a short period of time, and yet it lacks the necessary capital or long-range access that is vital for a wide-ranging back-end infrastructure asset.

Considering the API-driven model supported by MBaaS, developers need to keep in mind that their apps should pair up with the service. Moreover, the app cannot contain logic that is difficult to understand for the MBaaS community and environment, or be comprised of very unique back-end requirements that are not provided by MBaaS.

Of course, developers are always able to decide between various features and how to manage their relevant data. However, MBaaS also has almost no control whatsoever over back-end infrastructures. This unfortunately makes even the smallest optimization tasks very difficult to manage, and at times even impossible to carry out. Any user taking advantage of MBaaS technology should bear in mind that they are also at the mercy of the capabilities of their provider. One provider may, for example, use a single data storage center to house the entire line of back-end operations. If a particular app is then distributed across the globe, those users that are located farthest away will most definitely have to cope with latency and problems regarding connectivity.

When using cloud providers of any kind, companies should be striving to fully understand the risks and liabilities involved in outsourcing to a third-party service. They should also make sure the provider receives the same oversight and governance afforded to internal operations within the company itself.

MBaaS services may appear attractive when weighing up how to tackle the issue of the first startup costs. However, as an app becomes increasingly resource intensive, and as its lifecycle becomes even longer, MBaaS could become less and less cost-effective. Organizations must consider probing the financial stability of a possible MBaaS provider. If that particular provider goes out of business, it might force developers to relaunch their apps from scratch.

MBaaS is carving out a solid foothold in the industry, despite a number of disadvantages that remain. The amount of service providers is very likely to rise as MBaaS technology grows and becomes ever more robust and efficient. If you are weighing up your MBaaS options, however, you should definitely seek to evaluate them over a long-term basis with a view to use it with multiple apps.

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