This post is part of a series on Mobile App Development Trends for 2018 which is an effort to collate the important global practices that mobile app developers are adopting and finding successful results with.
It is no secret that mobile is a key ingredient in the digital transformation recipe. As smarter apps are developed and user expectations rise, app developers are turning towards a simple and effective solution to reduce delivery time and costs: moving mobile app backends to the cloud. Besides time and cost benefits, cloud backends also provide developers with the ability to maintain robust security standards.
What is BaaS?
Mobile apps consist of two main parts: the client side and the server side. Traditionally, app developers built their own backends. The process is a tedious and cumbersome one, fraught with unexpected challenges and bug encounters along the way. Predictions related to delivery times and costs are difficult and at times, inaccurate.
Backend as a Service, more commonly known as cloud backend is a growing trend in the mobile app development world which essentially preempts the need to develop a backend from scratch or host a physical server. The reason it is becoming so popular is that it allows developers to skip repetitive tasks and foster collaboration among large development teams comprising both technical and management staff. With both leading commercial providers like Google’s Firebase, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure Mobile Services and open source BaaS providers such as Baas box and Apache User grid foraying into the cloud backend market, app developers have a lot to choose from when it comes to selecting the right provider according to their needs, app category, services being offered and so on. With Firebase, for example, developers get the benefits of using other Google services such as AdMob, App Indexing, AdWords, and Notifications. Most BaaS providers today offer a basic set of services for free and charge a fee for premium services and features.
What are the benefits of cloud backends for mobile apps?
By shifting their mobile app backends to the cloud, companies can benefit from the economies of scale and provide users with novel ways of fetching the data they need. Almost all enterprises today feel the need to go beyond just having a website and build apps. However, building one from scratch is a complex process and often leads to overruns, both in time and cost. What management envisions may not be delivered in time, and this lack of agility can mount opportunity costs in a competitive market.
A cloud backend effectively circumvents this problem while allowing developers to wield the full range of services that make up the BaaS package: infrastructure, API, file storage, security, data management, database, social media integration, push notifications and other on-demand tools. It expedites the development process by enabling developers to write code for a variety of mobile platforms — scaling and sorting bandwidth issues much more easily and spending more time on innovation, quality of code and end-user experience. Moreover, it allows companies to take advantage of multiple pricing models, for example, a consumption based one.
Cloud backends have promising benefits and many companies are beginning to realise the As enterprises seek ways to deliver useful, agile and powerful mobile apps, cloud backends will help them navigate this digital transformation in a smarter, cost effective way.