Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS): A Comprehensive Guide 2023-2024
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An advertisement conveys the entire story to its audience within a few seconds. Similarly, your user decides whether to retain or abandon your app within the first few seconds.
You need a robust high-performing app to turn your user base into a loyal consumer base. And for this, you need to build a strong backend and frontend of your app.
As smooth and easy as a 1-minute advertisement seems, it takes hours of hard work and teamwork behind the scene (BTS) to fetch the audience’s attention on-screen.
So, what exactly is MBaaS, and why should you choose MBaaS for app development? In this blog, we have covered all the technical aspects of MBaaS including its features, functionalities, and benefits, along with some interesting statistics. To make it easier, we have also added a list of top-MBaaS service providers. Let us start with a brief introduction;
What is MBaaS?
MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service) is a cloud service model in which developers can outsource all the behind-the-scene aspects of the mobile application. So, the only task left for your development team is to write the code for front-end development.
MBaaS offers a ready platform to build and deploy mobile applications for any device regardless of its Operating System (iOS, Android).
MBaaS is a comprehensive solution to backend development. It includes complete infrastructure management, database management & data optimization, security management, API integrations, user authentication/verification, and push notifications.
How is MBaaS related to BaaS?
MBaaS is a subset of BaaS (Backend as a Service). The only difference you can note is that BaaS is more inclined towards web page and web-app development. As it offers higher storage capabilities, you can smoothly and efficiently deploy large-sized web apps with the BaaS model. Also, to entirely focus on mobile app development, MBaaS is the best choice.
The global BaaS market size valued at USD 2.45 billion in 2022 is expected to garner USD 22.07 billion by 2023, growing at a whooping CAGR of 24.6% from 2022-2032. The Backend as a Service market shows no signs of slowing down in near future.
What encouraged the development of the MBaaS model?
The Google Play store hosts over 3.5 million apps whereas the Apple app store hosts over 2.2 million. In 2022, these app stores recorded 255 billion app downloads worldwide.
The increasing demand for engaging apps has been consistently brimming opportunities for app development. So, to cater to the ever-increasing demand for efficient mobile apps, and most importantly to shed the load from the shoulder of developers, the concept of the MBaaS model emerged.
Now that developers can enjoy the luxury of ready-made back-end infrastructure, they can solely focus on writing the code for the front end of the app. And, the app is ready to deploy quickly.
MBaaS v/s Custom Backend Development:
Why are developers becoming a fan of MBaas?
Application development takes place in two phases: front-end development and back-end development. Front-end development deals with setting the UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) right. Whereas backend development deals with setting the infrastructure and database right.
The front end is the face of an application. It is different for different applications. So, developers need to build a unique UI for great UX. This is not the case with backend development. You can outsource a backend infrastructure from a cloud service provider and start building your application.
However, a backend is the backbone of your application. For any application to function efficiently & effectively, it is very important to set its backend accurately. The main advantage of using MBaaS is, your development team can just ‘set it & forget it.’
So, summing up, MBaaS saves time, effort, resources, and cost of overall app development.
What are the Benefits offered by MBaaS?
Some of the key benefits offered by MBaaS are :
1. Sorted Backend Infrastructure :
MBaaS model takes care of server administration, performance optimization, backups, scaling, security updates, and all other tasks required to run the backend infrastructure of a mobile application. So, without worrying about the backend, developers can simply focus on the front end of the app.
2. Speedy app development :
Assume the time required to build the backend as well as the front end of an app. It is obvious that with a ready-to-use backend infrastructure, development speed dramatically increases. This in turn results in faster release cycles. Along with saving on cost, you can quickly launch your app to the market, plus you get extra time for marketing.
3. Increased Productivity :
What was taking months will now take a few weeks. Within less time you are getting a more efficient outcome. Hence, the graph of efficiency and productivity will jog upward.
4. Higher Scalability :
With MBaaS there is no requirement to look into infrastructure planning or resource allocation. MBaaS handles all these complex tasks and enables developers to scale the mobile app up or down on demand.
5. Better Security :
MBaaS enable easy encryption of sensitive data. MBaaS handles data encryption and allows the safe handling of data while in rest or transit.
6. Easy third-party integrations :
MBaaS enables third-party integrations with new or existing third parties like Facebook, Slack, or Twitter. So, there is no need to duplicate functionalities across multiple systems.
7. Lower cost :
When you are using the MBaaS service, you do not have to pay for expensive hosting fees or hefty maintenance fees.
What are the Key Functionalities of MBaaS?
1. Infrastructure Management :
Infrastructure management is not an easy task. You need to hire dedicated developers to operate and manage the server infrastructure. Especially when your app undergoes continuous growth, it proves to be costlier and inefficient. Moreover, managing usage fluctuations varying up or down with time becomes a tedious and lengthy task for developers.
MBaaS handles all the aspects of backend infrastructure :
- Database creation
- Database management
- Data handling
- Server provisioning
- User authentication/verification
- Application monitoring
- Notification services
- Error Rectification
- Security configuration
2. API management :
MBaaS handles the development and management of APIs in different ways. One of the easiest methods is to test a new API on a local machine and then access or import the services by using the MBaaS platform.
For API management, MBaaS provides:
- All the tools required to build and test new APIs
- A platform to deploy new APIs
- Import the APIs from other sources
- A platform to code APIs or construct the APIs using a codeless builder
- Wide options of standard services for a variety of services
By using a codeless builder, developers can build logic with visual components. Once done, the MBaaS platform will automatically convert the logic to code and deploy it.
3. Database Management :
Not all service providers include data management services. Some MBaaS providers are capable of interacting with user databases, yet they cannot allow building a database within the MBaaS platform. So, this is an important point to consider when choosing an MBaaS provider.
Some MBaaS providers like Azure or Firebase provide database management services that are capable of interacting with user databases as well as provide tools to construct a new database within the MBaaS platform.
Such MBaaS providers offer :
- An internal database automatically tuned to provide high performance
- Complete application support without the requirement for an additional storage system
- External/legacy database support
- Easy connection to the existing RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) for accessing the schema and/or dataset.
- Capability to build a database that features real-time data processing and relational data functionalities.
4. User Management :
MBaaS provides built-in user management capabilities that enable user authentication and verification. Users can register, log in, and manage their accounts with either a combination of username & password or third-party authentication.
Some advanced features covered within the MBaaS platform for user management are:
- Password recovery
- Two-factor authentication
- Multi-user capabilities
- SSO (Single Sign-On) solutions
- Tokens for passwords
5. Business logic & Cloud Computations :
As soon as the backend receives data from the front end, it starts applying logic to process it. The influx of data is continuous. So, to free up memory at the front end, an application needs to compute data on the back end fast.
An efficient MBaaS provider sorts out business logic and cloud computations by :
- Enabling developers to build logic that triggers computations on the backend based on certain events.
- Reducing data processing time with cloud computation capabilities of the MBaaS platform
- Allowing developers to build cloud code. The event handlers and timers can render seamlessly on the backend as designed by the developers, plus require no coding.
6. Cloud Storage :
MBaaS providers offer developers access to cloud storage. So, there is no need to purchase or maintain internal servers. Yet, your backend remains available all-time to clients’ applications.
MBaaS integrates file storage, logic storage, and data storage systems. This drastically reduces the cost making storage more orchestrated.
One of the major advantages of MBaaS is that it allows cloud storage of bulky and infrequently used files. With team-sharing features, multiple members irrespective of their demographics can access these files on their local devices.
Most of the MBaaS providers follow the serverless model and use cloud hosting for all databases, backend files, and APIs. Yet some of the MBaaS providers offer local installation for hosting on-premises or on Virtual Machines.
7. Cross-platform data morphing and custom SDKs :
With MBaaS, morphing data for cross-platform delivery is not possible. Any application supporting multiple client-side platforms like Android, iOS etc, receives data in the format supported by that particular platform. This means that the data received from different platforms are in different formats, and MBaaS does not support data morphing.
Yet, advanced MBaaS providers are offering the latest SDKs that make this transformation automatic by eliminating the need for any additional set-up. Also, these SDKs help in the easy connection of the frontend and backend with the advanced functionality of versatile language support.
Simply put, custom SDKs connect APIs with the frontend server on the client’s side regardless of the platform type (iOS, Android, etc). Moreover, custom SDKs also support different frameworks like Flutter, React Native, Node.js, etc.
What are the Disadvantages of MBaaS?
- You do not get complete control over the application. As the complete backend infrastructure is managed by your MBaaS provider, certain services fall under their authority.
- Switching between MBaaS providers is not possible. So, once you register with one MBaaS provider, you cannot switch to another MBaaS provider with the existing application. To switch, you need to start fresh.
- MBaaS is the best choice to build minimal viable products. It is not a good choice for developing major projects.
Which are some of the popular MBaaS service providers?
The MBaaS service providers bridge the gap between the frontend and backend with APIs and SDKs. According to Statista,
The Most Popular SDK for Android apps across the globe in 2022
The Most Popular SDK for iOS across the globe in 2022.
1. Firebase :
After having a glance at the above statistics, we can call Firebase as developer’s choice. Firebase by Google offers a variety of functionalities that make it easy to build, support and release mobile apps. You can stream through a variety of options at reasonable prices.
2. AWS Amplify :
You can use AWS amplify by Amazon to configure the backend of a mobile app. With Amplify Studio or Amplify CLI, you can avail of the UI components and amplify libraries to link the front to the backend. AWS Amplify also features user management for coping with authenticated users and content management to update app data.
3. Apple CloudKit :
This is the best option to develop the backend of iOS apps. It offers simple and smooth integration. You can start with a freemium model and later upgrade to chargeable services as required. With Apple CloudKit, you can keep an eye on upcoming trends, review server activities, and measure parameters like user engagement rate or bandwidth usage.
4. Backendless :
It is loaded with advanced features and functionalities that can help you achieve your app development goals. Backendless authorizes backups, authenticates multiple-developer onboarding, and ensures security with an SSL certificate.
You can purchase a function pack from Backendless and you can raise or remove the limits on paid plans as required.
How to choose an MBaaS provider :
- The most important aspect is the ease to operate
- Make sure that the provider guarantees secure cloud data storage on the server side.
- MBaaS provider must offer a thoroughly tested architecture for the database. Also, its transaction processing capability must be up-to-the-mark.
- MBaaS provider offers SDKs to support cross-platform morphing and APIs to support multiple cloud services for the app.
- Definitely check for three crucial factors: Security, Scalability, and Reliability.
- Efficient technical support and easy-going business are a great combination to opt for.
Without a second thought, you can efficiently and cost-effectively develop a mobile application with MBaaS in remarkably less time as compared to manual app development. However, choosing an MBaaS provider completely depends on the objective of app development, app requirements, and compatibility of the desired services.
With proper technical guidance, it is always easy to achieve your mobile app development goals. Here we can help. Being a leader of one of the mobile app development companies delivering high-performing mobile applications with robust frontend and backend infrastructure. We can guide you to set your backend right as well as we can also help you build a unique, highly interactive and dynamic UI to increase user engagement & conversion rates. For the right guidance, you can call us for a FREE consultation with our tech expert.