Building a mobile app is a complex task. It’s not limited to coding only but also involves app deployment and testing, server configuring, and other activities. All these operations can be costly and time-consuming. Due to intense competition in the mobile application market, mobile apps should have remarkable features to gain popularity among users.
But, how to create viable mobile apps with outstanding features and robust performance in less time and avoid extra investments? The answer is simple – use prebuilt services from mobile BaaS. MBaaS platforms allow mobile developers to create apps much faster and use the latest features in them. In this article, we will explain what MBaaS is and explain how your mobile apps can benefit from these platforms.
What is MbaaS and How Does It Work?
Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) is a type of Backend as a Service (BaaS) platform used for building back-end infrastructure for mobile apps.
MBaaS platforms remove the necessity to create mobile application business logic and data management functions from scratch. Instead, MBaaS platforms handle all the server-related tasks, allowing mobile developers to focus more on the development of apps’ frontend layers. For this, MBaaS platforms offer ready-made backend components that mobile developers can embed in their apps.
Here is a list of the most common services provided by MBaaS:
- database management;
- user management;
- file storage;
- cloud storage;
- API endpoints;
- server hosting;
- push notifications;
- integration of social media.
Mobile developers don’t need to set up all these services when they use MBaaS platforms. All they need to do is to access the cloud and simply use these out-of-the-box solutions in their mobile app architecture.
There is a wide range of MBaaS providers to choose from, including such market leaders as AWS Amplify, Cloudkit, Firebase, Azure Mobile Apps, and others.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an MBaaS
As with any technology MBaaS has its benefits and downsides. Let’s have a closer look at them.
MBaaS advantages include:
- Reduction of the development costs
With MBaaS, mobile developers can use the prebuilt backend services for a small payment. It means that mobile developers will pay only for those tools and solutions that they really use in their app creation.
- Increase of development speed
As MBaaS provides mobile developers with ready-made backend services, they don’t need to spend hours on building and testing the same features. Moreover, they can build their apps in short development cycles which helps to release mobile apps much faster.
- Ready-to-use infrastructure
Another pleasant MBaaS feature is that it allows mobile developers to focus more on building an app rather than configuring the server-side. Hardware, software, services, and network resources are set up in the server infrastructure and are ready for use.
- Simple app integration
Mobile apps based on MBaaS can easily integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google. Besides that, the MBaaS apps can connect to the existing systems, databases, and even other enterprise apps.
- Push notifications
MBaaS platforms provide mobile developers with useful frameworks that allow embedding such services as SMS, push notifications, and other types of notifications in their mobile apps.
- Performance metrics
MBaaS platforms have special tools for user analytics. They can track user behavior and provide businesses with valuable insights to increase their ROI.
- Cross-platform data delivery
MBaaS supports various client-side platforms such as iOS, Android, or web. MBaaS sends data to their clients in different formats, adjusting it to their platforms. This allows enhancing user experience as a mobile app feels and works like a native one.
- Variety of development tools
Besides offering prebuilt service packages, MBaaS platforms also provide mobile developers with sets of tools for building, testing, and deploying these services. For example, mobile engineers can use codeless API constructors, which make it easier to create new APIs.
- Enhanced security and efficiency
Mobile apps built with MBaaS are stored in the cloud, their backends are better protected from local server attacks and data losses. Above all, these platforms continuously work on the improvement of data protection techniques. For example, they provide mobile developers with an opportunity to identify users, their mobile devices and prevent unauthorized access. They also can wipe any sensitive data on stolen apps.
MBaaS disanvantages are:
- Lack of flexibility
In contrast to custom coding, MBaaS development is less flexible. It’s because of ready-made solutions that these platforms provide. For example, some MBaaS vendors don’t include database management services but provide prebuilt databases. As a result, mobile developers can’t build a database within a platform and have to use existing solutions. This way, MBaaS isn’t ideal for unconventional mobile solutions or highly complex backend architectures.
- Dependency on MBaaS platforms
Mobile apps built on MBaaS entirely rely their backends on them. Therefore, the possibility to migrate the backend architecture will depend on the service provider. Before opting for a particular MBaaS platform, make sure that you can retrieve your mobile app’s backend from it.
- Not free
MBaaS solutions are commercial projects and can’t be obtained for free. This way, for those businesses that decide to build an app with simple architecture, MBaaS platforms won’t cost much. Though, for large and complex projects MBaaS may be expensive.
Who Should Use a Mobile Backend As A Service?
MBaaS back-end development works well for various projects from mobile games to iPad app development. These platforms provide a wide range of tools and services for building stable and effective mobile backend layers.
Some small businesses and startups prefer MBaaSs as they provide quite cheap and powerful solutions. While large companies implement MBaaS for building their small and medium-scale projects quickly and securely.
MBaaS platforms are a new technology that is rapidly gaining popularity in the mobile development world. Despite some MBaaS disadvantages like apps’ backend platform dependency and conventional services, many businesses consider them as a viable solution for building their mobile apps.
MBaaS platforms offer cheap and speedy backend development for apps with simple business logic and functionality. Therefore, they suit small and medium-sized projects. However, the implementation of MBaaS for building complex backends may lead to considerable spendings on tools and services provided on these platforms.