Mobile App Development Platforms: Choosing the Right mBaaS

Mobile App Development Platforms: Choosing the Right mBaaS
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Backend platforms for mobile app development, known as mobile backend as a service -- mBaaS -- can be a great productivity boost. See what the mBaaS market has to offer and how to make the right choice. 

Designing and developing mobile applications is a demanding process.  Backend platforms, known as mobile backend as a service (mBaaS), can relieve developers of the need to code common functions in mobile apps. mBaaS can be seen as a specialized form of PaaS with an emphasis on supporting the particular needs of mobile app developers.

The mBaaS market provides a wide range of choices ranging from pure-play mBaaS vendors like Appcelerator, Kinvy, Parse (recently acquired by Facebook) and StackMob or you can work with IaaS/PaaS providers that offer mBaaS functions, like Google and Microsoft.

mBaaS services may be especially appealing to Web developers moving to mobile platforms.  Forrester Research takes the position that conventional Web three-tired architecture is insufficient for mobile applications.  Instead, a four-tier platform is needed to accommodate the demands of mobile computing, which include on and off connections, dropped connections and the potential for sharp changes in demand load.  The four-tier architecture suggested by Forrester Research includes client, delivery, aggregation and services tiers.   The client and delivery tiers provide interface and data transmission services. The aggregation and services tiers focus on access to backend systems, integration with third party platforms, and supporting application services.  mBaaS providers address needs in the aggregation and service tiers.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating mBaaS providers and your specific needs in the aggregation and service tiers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Sullivan is an author, systems architect, and consultant with over 20 years of IT experience with engagements in systems architecture, enterprise security, advanced analytics and business intelligence. He has worked in a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, software development, government, retail, gas and oil production, power generation, life sciences, and education.  Dan has written 16 books and numerous articles and white papers about topics ranging from data warehousing, cloud computing and advanced analytics to security management, collaboration, and text mining.

See here for all of Dan's Tom's IT Pro articles.

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