Friday, April 27, 2012

Rise of Mobile BaaS and Future Ahead

The most recent trend in app development has been "backend as a service."  When it comes to an average developer to deliver support with server stacks and storage, data migration middleware managements, these services make possible things like authentication, push notifications, in-app purchases and other services that consumers take for granted.
After Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), "Backend as a Service" (BaaS) is the new trend. BaaS companies provide easily integrated cloud-based backends for mobile app developers. The drastic change in Data Accessing Methods and Usability has caused the BaaS ecosystem to evolve quickly from a niche vertical into an important industry segment.
Lately termed as Heroku (PaaS) for Mobile Platforms, these BaaS platforms , like Heroku, enable mobile app developers pick and choose which backend services they want to integrate into their apps, which gives developer to focus on perfecting an app's user experience, its design and client-side code than worrying about Backend infrastructure.

Started by StackMob, later the race was joined by Kinvey, Parse and Cocoafish.  There are at least 20 companies that now focus on BaaS in one form or another. The big list comprises of: 
Stackmob, Parse, Kinvey, Apple's iCloud, RhoMobile, Appcelerator (Cocoafish), FeedHenry Astrum Space, Scotty App, Webmynd, YorAPI, CloudyRec, Applicasa, QuickBlox, mobDB, Netmera, Kumulos, CodeCloud.io, Sencha.io,Tiggzi and Zipline Games (through its Moai platform).
BaaS and Mobile Applications
There are also a couple of large companies that could move into this space very easily, including Amazon with its AWS products, Microsoft with its Azure Cloud, Google with App Engine, and Rackspace.
And Appecelerator with its ACS (Appecelerator Cloud Services) taking Cocoafish has come up with titanium SDK 2.0 a BaaS system, that gives abilities to write apps,  Objective-C (iOS), Java, PhoneGap, Sencha and HTML5 (among similar services) for native, hybrid or mobile Web deployment.
The goal of each BaaS system is to provide basically the same set of functions to mobile developers. Yet some have broader goals while others focus on certain niches of the mobile development industry. For instance, iKnode calls itself a Backend as a Service provider, but it is designed specifically for .NET architecture, which will limit its broader appeal. CodeCloud.io is a hosted NodeJS and SQLite platform that gives it BaaS-like functionality but also provides a narrower scope. Parse supports both data persistence and push notifications through its REST API.
Ideally in case you are going for any BaaS, here are the point worth pondering over:
  1. The Providers should have atleast satisfactory aptitude in REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs management and implementation.
  2. Facebook/Twitter/Google Login support for User Profiles.
  3. Location Based Data
  4. Analytics and Metrics
  5. Push Notification
  6. Custom Data Objects and Space.
Further, currently a Lot of start ups provide some of them (all of them provided by only some startups that too partially). The best of the best in the BaaS ecosystem do more than just provide certain functions, but also look to be an entire end-to-end cloud service that can make app developers' lives easier. 

The picture of future is still hazy as with advent of New App Age, the biggies in the business like said above may also get adamant to enter this market. With a great promise of growth, the Mergers and Acquisitions are very much foreseeable . The War Started by StackMob, is going to grow further and Bigger. 

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