Mobile Backend as a service (MBaaS) is a model for providing web and mobile app developers with a way to link these applications to cloud storage, analytics services, and/or other features such as user management, the ability to send push notifications, and integration with social media services. These services are provided through the use of custom software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs). BaaS is a relatively recent model in cloud computing, where most companies date back to 2011 or later.
Web and mobile apps require a similar set of features in your backend, including push notifications, analytics, social media integration, and cloud storage. Each of these services has its own API that must be individually incorporated into an application, a process that can be long and complicated for application developers. MBaaS providers bridge the frontend of an application to multiple cloud backend services through a unified SDK and API.
Providing a consistent way to manage backend data means developers don’t have to develop their own backend for each of the services their applications need to access, potentially saving time and money. Although similar to other cloud computing web development tools, such as software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), MBaaS distinguishes itself from these other services as it is specifically targeted at the needs of mobile application developers, providing a means of connecting your applications to cloud services.
MBaaS providers generate revenue from their services in a variety of ways, often using a freemiummodel. Under this model, a customer receives a certain number of users or API calls per month and pays a fee for each user or call that exceeds this limit. Alternatively, customers can pay a flat fee for a package that allows for a higher number of calls or active users per month.
What should a Mobile Backend as a service (MBaaS) provider offer?
The purpose of an mBaaS is to facilitate the development of mobile applications. Therefore, some of the basic tools a provider must offer are:
- Analytics: How are users using the app? It is essential to have monitoring of user properties and usage events.
- Crash reporting: Crashes and crashes are the main cause of uninstallation of an application. And in the mobile world they happen beyond our control. We need to be informed of when and where problems arise.
- Authentication services: You must allow us user-based authentication (email) /password, OAuth integrated with Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Or integrate our own authentication system.
- Storage: Space to save and share files, video, images, documents.
- Database: Easy-to-use NoSQL storage that allows two-way synchronization.
- Push notifications: Allows us to send notifications to the app when we need to communicate something to the user or synchronize some data.
- Cloud features: Task automation. Trigger notifications based on triggers, periodic batch jobs.
- Dashboard: Control of all mBaaS, from user creation or database models to monitoring statistics.