When you’re building an app, why build and maintain your own server-side data management systems, storage, and operations when someone else can do it for you? Why get bogged down in the boring bits when you can do all the fun stuff, the client side programming, and leave the rest up to someone (or something) else? Or, if you’re the brains of the operation, why get backend or full stack developers on board when all you really need is front end devs?
Backend-as-a-Service, or BaaS, has become increasingly popular over the past few years, mainly due to the rise of mobile app programming. Known in its niche as mBaaS (Mobile Backend-as-a-Service), it provides a distributed, extendable, predictable, and scalable backend, without the need to get in there and do it yourself.
BaaS allows you to build your mobile apps faster, with fewer developers, manage your app operations easily, and be prepared to scale if your app takes off.
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Things to think about:
So how do we build backends to support all these functions within our apps? Well, sometimes, we don’t. We let someone else do it for us.
Usergrid is Apache’s answer to Backend-as-a-Service, designed specifically for mobile. It’s Cassandra-based, and operations are exposed via a RESTful API, using JSON over HTTP. It’s your database and operations in one. You can either deploy with Rackspace, AWS, etc., or run it on your own infrastructure.
In the words of Usergrid, “It provides elementary services (user registration & management, data storage, file storage, queues) and retrieval features (full-text search, geolocation search, joins) to power common app features.”
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Of course, there are alternatives to Usergrid, such as Firebase, from Google, or Kumulos. They’re beyond the scope of this article, but they’re definitely worth checking out and stacking up if you’re interested.
Before you dive in with Apache’s Usergrid, or any other mBaaS service, you’ll need to crunch things over in your head. Specifically, think about:
BaaS is ideal for apps in the right circumstances. So jump in and see if it’s right for your next project.
Everything you need to know about outsourcing technology development
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