The Mobile App Trends Series is sponsored by Sourcebits, a leading product developer for mobile platforms. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iOS, Android, Mobile and Web platforms. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter for recent news and updates.
For mobile app developers, building an app rarely takes place in a vacuum, as most users expect their apps to interface and work with various Internet services.
Building a mobile app increasingly means building an app that can interface with its own server or set of network services.
For mobile app developers, picking and choosing a server or cloud solution for things like storage, push notifications, user information and analytics can be a struggle.
Fortunately, a new wave of companies and services are stepping in to help developers make the best choices.
With AWS, Amazon has really led the way toward making cloud services and distributed computing and storage solutions affordable and easily accessible.
Thousands upon thousands of application developers — mobile, web and desktop — use Amazon for storage, to run processes and to store or query data.
Amazon and its competitors have APIs and toolkits designed to make integrating their services with an existing app backend a snap.
AWS SDK — Amazon offers an AWS SDK for Android and an AWS SDK for iOS. These SDKs offer libraries, code samples and documentation to help app developers leverage Amazon’s AWS services, including EC2, S3 and Amazon SimpleDB within their own apps.
Cloud Backend Solutions
In addition to self-selecting cloud services from various providers, a number of startup platforms offer easy access to a variety of cloud services and backends, but without a lot of overhead hassle.
This space is often called Backend as a Service [BaaS] or Platform as a Service [PaaS] and it is heating up fast.
Most of these companies will work directly with the major cloud providers, like Amazon, RackSpace and Windows Azure, but will abstract the process so the developer doesn’t need to mess with a lot of settings, accounts or configurations.
Some of the players in this space include:
Parse — Parse recently closed its Series A funding round and is used by Band of the Day, Hipmunk and Yobongo. It works with iOS and Android and can connect with Heroku. You can also use Parse in cross-platform apps like Appcelerator and Sencha.
StackMob — StackMob is currently in private beta and has an SDK for iOS, Android, Java and custom server side code. Like Parse, StackMob can integrate with Heroku. It also offers server-side integration with Facebook and Twitter.
Kinvey — Kinvey was one of the earliest players in the space and it dubs its solution, Backend as a Service. Kinvey uses AWS, RackSpace Cloud and Windows Azure to offer up its backend tools, along with its own APIs that developers can drop into their own apps.
CloudMine — Cloudmine supports Ruby, Python, PHP and Java.
Buddy Platform — Buddy Platform is kind of a hybrid between developer platforms like Appcelerator and backend platforms. It has APIs for access to features like user management, geo-location data, photos and album information and user messaging.
Have you used off-the-shelf or infrastructure as a service tools in your mobile app? What should developers watch for? Let us know.
Series Supported by Sourcebits
The Mobile App Trends Series is sponsored by Sourcebits, a leading developer of applications and games for all major mobile platforms. Sourcebits has engineered over 200 apps to date, with plenty more to come. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iPhone, Android and more. Please feel free to get in touch with us to find out how we can help your app stand apart in a crowded marketplace. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter and Facebook for recent news and updates.
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