Choosing the Right Backend for Mobile App Development

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Syndicode
  • Date Published
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Choosing the right backend for mobile app development.

Developing a mobile app is difficult unless you choose the right backend. We are going to show you a few of the options that we often use to help you understand the process of mobile application development better. Syndicode provides custom mobile application development for startups and enterprises since 2014. We are experts in creating native and hybrid mobile apps for games, logistics, healthcare, e-commerce, fintech, education, and entertainment. We have collected some examples and information about the disadvantages and benefits of each technology. And we are happy to share our experience with you. Read on!

The launch of mobile apps gives you the opportunity to reach a huge audience of people to start a new business or greatly enhance an existing one. That’s why it’s important to know all the processes in detail.

What Is the Role of the Backend in Mobile Application Development?

Mobile app development requires a significant amount of time, critical thinking, research, and market analysis prior to development. The basic stages of the development will include:

  1. Planning (business rules planning, requirements gathering, reviewing best practices)
  2. Functions and features (exact functions and features of your mobile app).
  3. UI/UX Design (creating personas, form the task list, create mockups)
  4. Frontend development (a real prototype inside the app)
  5. Backend development (API, backend architecture, and quality control)
  6. Testing (functional testing, integration testing, user testing, device & unit testing and bug fixing)
  7. Deployment (ensure backup)
  8. Maintenance & Support (provide great user and client experience)

Together, frontend and backend development can take a minimum of five weeks. To complete a more complex product your team can expect to spend around 18 weeks on development. This figure is broken down into an estimated 10 weeks for backend development and 8 weeks for frontend development. But it is better to ask for a proper estimation depending on the planned performance and the functions of your mobile app.

The role of the backend in mobile application development is to ensure the proper work of:

  • Databases
  • Scripting
  • The architecture of the application

In other words, backend development is the code that will help to connect the database information and the browser.

The steps you need to remember while building a backend for the mobile application:

  • Write down the backend and frontend responsibilities
  • Decide on process endpoints and get them working
  • Design the API and write it down
  • Design the database
  • Get the backend test script ready
  • Use Programming language to implement the API
  • Deploy

Roles and Responsibilities of Backend Developer

  • Understand the website’s goals and to offer the best solutions to fulfill them.
  • Store data and ensure that it is displayed to the supposed user.
  • Develop Payment processing system like accepting data, securely storing, and making the charge.
  • Manage APIs resources across devices.
  • Be the part of an architecture of a system and Data science analyses.
  • Organize the logic of the system across various devices.
  • Know about building frameworks or architecture.
  • Implement algorithms and solve all kinds of system-related problems.

What Technologies Are Used in Mobile App Development?

The main core of a backend architecture is based on an:

  • Application server
  • Webserver
  • A database

The architecture also consists of a load balancer and some service integrations (email notifications, push notifications, queuing services). The backend of your mobile application depends mostly on functionality and features you need to integrate. If you don’t understand them yet, you have to go through a discovery session with your mobile development team.

Usually, mobile apps require data synchronization across the platform, as well as the ability to send alerts and notification messages. And it is a backend’s role to establish the limits of these abilities when you manage them.

Most of the open-source options choose the MVC pattern for web architecture stacks and use core libraries to access databases, security and session management. These are some of the most popular technologies used in the backend:

  • Ruby on Rails:  a coding language that has been created for more than 10 years. It has a large community and a great number of gems available to build modern web applications. That’s our main programming language.
  • Express/Koa/Sails (Node.js): mostly known as Node, a part of the Javascript stack. It works on an event-driven model and has a large community and packages.
  • Django: a programming language to code in Python. Today it’s one of the most popular languages with a great community. With its help, you can write simple and clear code. There are many libraries that help to build fast and secure web applications on Python.
  • PHP MVC frameworks: recently one of the most popular backend options in the world. There are several frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter, YII, Zend, CakePHP, Symfony, and a huge community as well.
  • Google Firebase: an option for fast applications developments. It has some important features to get a backend up and running fast.

As for Syndicode, you’ll find our tech stack for mobile development below. But we’d like to say that is it always good to do a little research on technologies to gain a better understanding of what you need from your mobile app.

What Mobile Application Functions Are Provided with Backend Development?

There are several things you need to make sure of before starting to incorporate a backend for your mobile application. The most common functions to use while developing mobile apps are:

  • Using a cloud server: now everyone can afford cloud servers that come in different sizes and are stored in a safe location. The most popular cloud servers are Google App Engine and Amazon AWS, they are commonly used by large companies and are very reliable.
  • Using a custom server – You can always create your own server for your mobile app. Or ask a software development company like Syndicode about SaaS. It can have its IP address and store specific information. In such a way you will always have complete control over a custom server but will need more time on monitoring. If you’re interested, please read our material about IT infrastructure architecture.
  • MBaaS – “Mobile Backend as a Service”. If you don’t want to write your own backend servers or invest in a cloud-based server, that is your option. Nowadays there are many independent MBaaS providers can offer great functionality and an analytics system to monitor your apps. Syndicode also offers this service.

When choosing the right type, think about your priorities and time management abilities. Choose the best experts from the mobile app development team and don’t be afraid of mobile backend as a service. Remember that functionality is a responsible decision.

Cloud Mobile Backend

A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional web hosting:

  • It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour;
  • It is elastic – a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and
  • The service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access).

The cloud-based backend help developers with the following tasks:

  • Physical app server
  • Database
  • Client-server library
  • Admin control panel
  • API design
  • Hosting

Building, connecting, testing, and monitoring mobile backend services using Google Cloud Platform is easier nowadays as there are many services you can use now while developing mobile apps. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Firebase is a platform for building iOS, Android, and web apps that is responsible for automatic data synchronization, file storage, analytics, authentication services, messaging, etc.
  • App Engine standard environment is an app platform that is making monitoring, updating, and scaling the hosting environment.
  • Endpoints Frameworks is a platform that generates APIs, client libraries, and discovery documentation for an App Engine app.
  • Compute Engine is an app platform that allows you creating and running virtual machines on Google infrastructure. You can fully control this process.
  • The Cloud SDK has some tools and libraries that are made for designing and managing resources on GCP.
  • Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) is a cross-platform that allows you to reliably deliver messages and notifications to client devices on your app.
  • Cloud Security Scanner is responsible for finding security vulnerabilities in your App Engine web apps.

We host all applications through cloud platforms. Cloud computing (“the cloud”) is the delivery of on-demand computing resources — everything from applications to data centers — over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.

There are two modes for cloud computing deployment:

  • Private (when services are delivered from a business’s data center to internal users).
  • Public (when a third-party cloud service provider delivers the cloud service over the internet). You can find a comparison for main public cloud providers on our blog.

Mobile App Backend Development in Syndicode

We offer mobile apps for industries like logistics, healthcare, education, gaming, fintech, e-commerce, and entertainment. Depending on a project’s purpose, our mobile development tech stack includes different languages and technologies.

  • We use Ruby on Rails for mobile backends and RESTful APIs.
  • When there’s no need for heavy effects or computations we use React Native. This technology is beneficial for marketplaces and CRM, or projects where you need just to duplicate what you have on the web and add some geofencing, notifications, and other mobile features.
  • For native development of iOS applications, we use Swift.
  • The same story with Android SDK – we choose it in cases when features could be implemented only in the native tech stack.
  • Also, when it’s required by a customer, we work with PythonNode.js, and PHP.

Usually, the purpose of the application and the set of necessary implementation function determine the technology we choose.

We shouldn’t forget about the role of a software architect who needs to interact with developers in order to hand down instructions on technology stacks to the developers. A software architect has to constantly review the code to ensure the quality of the design by avoiding complexity, advocating clarity and to do this with the team. This usually requires hands-on work in terms of developing prototypes, contributing code or evaluating technologies and happens after discovery session. At the other extreme Agile development, a team may work without the involvement of an architect.

The quality attributes are also helpful in developing a high-quality product. First of all, they all must be measurable in some way. This allows different teams to know when they did the right thing and completed all requirements. The prioritization of quality attributes makes you pick the architecture and the choices that facilitate the priorities of your whole product.

Why Ruby Is Great for the Mobile Backend?

With a Ruby on Rails mobile app, we guarantee that you will be able to reach more people while keeping costs minimal. Ruby on Rails framework is a frequent choice for developers because of the next reasons:

  • Speed or RoR development. The procedure of the programming is much quicker compared with different structures and language programming.
  • Ruby on Rails mobile application development emphasizes security. Syndicode makes sure that they are tested thoroughly before being released to ensure that they won’t be a security threat.
  • Rails abstracts and streamlines the conventional recurring tasks – this helps software architects and developers to design applications the easier way.
  • Ruby on Rails coding is exceptionally coherent and for the most part self-recording.
  • Ruby on Rails is open source. And you wouldn’t pay extra money when it comes to licensing.
  • Rails follows DRY guidelines. Don’t-Repeat-Yourself implies that each bit of your framework is depicted once, which ought to make improvement and upkeep considerably easier and simpler.