Also known as MBaaS, Mobile Backend as a Service is a tool that simplifies the development of mobile apps. It offers already-built features that free development teams from the burdens of making the backend infrastructure of a project.
There are many MBaaS platforms, but generally, they all provide the necessary backend infrastructure for a mobile app with solutions for features such as data storage, notification services, authentication, monitoring, user analytics, and serverless functions.
These platforms' backend services can be customized to adapt to each project's specific needs, achieved through software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs).
What are the benefits of using a Mobile Backend as a Service platform?
One of the most significant advantages of MBaaS is the possibility of streamlining development processes, having faster releases, and allocating more time and resources to improving user experience with our applications.
Now, we will take a closer look at some key benefits of using an MBaaS platform to build the backend infrastructure of our application.
Improving the cost-effectiveness of your project
MBaaS platforms eliminate the need to maintain and invest in physical servers using cloud servers. Adding to a charging scheme in which you only pay for what you use, MBaaS is an attractive alternative for many medium or small projects, as it can reduce the initial investment.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned previously, an MBaaS facilitates the development of applications by favoring the speed of construction, including business logic and automating backend functions in serverless environments, which allows savings in the development and deployment stages.
Developing scalable and flexible applications
Another benefit associated with platforms' use of the cloud is that, from the outset, they give our applications flexibility and scalability.
Scalability allows applications to maintain a consistent level of functionality and performance.
If, for example, there is a spike in demand and we quickly go from five to hundreds of thousands of users, the application must be able to handle that increase without negatively affecting the user experience. This is achieved with a backend infrastructure that MBaaS platforms solve effectively without going through a long development process.
Scalability also delivers flexible applications, which constantly evolve. Besides, adding new features is not a nuisance since they are supported by a backend infrastructure that reduces the impact that changes may have on the application's performance to the minimum.
Integrating it with the backend infrastructure of other applications is often necessary to ensure that our app offers an excellent user experience.
This process, which is time-consuming and sometimes overly complicated, can be easily solved through an MBaaS platform.
Most MBaaSs offer pre-built integrations, including social media, messaging services, and payment platforms.
Despite being very useful and significantly improving project delivery times, these tools are only the most convenient for some projects. Some of its disadvantages are as follows:
What disadvantages or limitations does an MBaaS have?
Each project has unique requirements and needs. Having precise specifications lets us know if a Mobile Backend as a Service platform is the best option.
Below, we discuss some limitations of MBaaS platforms that can help you decide whether or not you should use them in a development project.
Using an MBaaS platform instead of developing a backend infrastructure can be especially useful, but we must remember that, to a certain extent, it will take away our independence.
If we decide to change suppliers at any point, we must remember that the migration process can be complex.
Moreover, the MBaaS platform may cause problems that affect the user experience offered by our application. Changes in terms and conditions, technical difficulties, or service interruptions are among the situations that may adversely affect our app's performance.
Performance and latency
If the needs of our project make an MBaaS the most innovative option, we should know, when choosing a supplier, that we can fully trust the capacity of their infrastructure.
When we use an MBaaS platform, the performance and latency of our project will depend on the response times and overall performance our supplier can deliver. So, it is advisable to look for partners with:
Security and privacy
When we use MBaaS platforms, the supplier is usually in charge of managing our application's data. This is not necessarily a weakness but requires particular care when evaluating the supplier's security policies and practices.
Ensuring that our supplier meets the regulatory requirements in our target audience's territory is imperative.
What is the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) platform?
We have already said it several times, but it is worth repeating: the MBaaS platform we choose will depend exclusively on the specific needs of the project we are working on.
Now, we will talk about the strengths and limitations of three Mobile Backend as a Service platform so that you can decide which one best fits the requirements of your application.
In 2014, Firebase was acquired by Google and has since become one of the most used MBaaS platforms.
Firebase has comprehensive technical documentation, user guides, and video tutorials that smooth your learning curve. There is also a highly active community of developers. It provides essential services such as real-time reactive databases, user authentication, hosting, serverless functions, push notifications, user and application analytics, and performance and exception monitoring.
Of note is that it offers a generous free tier that you can apply for low-complexity projects.
Launched in 2017, Amplify libraries make connecting to different AWS services easy, such as storing data, creating or authenticating user accounts, push notifications, and more. Additionally, it allows the use of AI/ML functionalities that can be used to recognize images, interpret texts, and transcribe speech.
It is ideal for large-scale projects in which safety and quality requirements are extremely high from the beginning.
It has a big problem: The learning curve is steeper than other options, which is very important to consider if our team still needs to learn how to use it and what we are looking for is to accelerate our development process.
Backendless offers features that put it on par with other options. It also has CRM features and includes landing page libraries, email marketing, segmentation tools, and even the ability to do A/B testing.
This MBaaS platform has two paid versions. On the one hand, there is Backendless Pro, which can be installed on the developer's computer but also in the public cloud, and, on the other, Managed Backendless, in which the client has an exclusive server cluster plus personalized support.
One of its disadvantages is that its free version limits the number of users and storage capacity. Importantly, its advanced functionalities may have additional costs.
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