Solving Backend as a Service (BaaS) Problems for Citizen Developers

Backend-as-a-Service, commonly called BaaS or mBaaS has grown in popularity in the last few years. BaaS solves the complex problem of backend integrations for app developers. Essentially, it’s a developers tool; using cloud computer technologies to provide a one-stop shop providing capabilities from authentication and push notifications to backend application data, social networks, and user management.

BaaS is the bridge that connects mobile and web apps to backend applications.

In the enterprise world, BaaS is much more valuable since integrating to enterprise applications usually takes approximately 70% of the time and resources for development. Enterprise apps have rigorous security and authentication needs, and they typically feature proprietary API’s, not to mention, being customized for unique business needs.

The Problems of Traditional Development and BaaS Providers

In an enterprise context, it’s much more difficult to integrate to enterprise backend applications, especially when some of them are a couple generations old. Integration requires not only knowledge of the business, but the business system as well in order to enable extracting data for mobile needs.

Where Typical BaaS Providers Fall Short

BaaS, and mBaaS, was designed specifically for developers. Although it makes the life of a front-end developer easy, the burden of integration is transferred to another developer, usually a backend enterprise application specialist. This specialist has to build all the necessary business and integration logic, along with complete security and authentication aspects, to be exposed as an API or Service, which can then be consumed by the front-end developer.

In essence, a BaaS tries to speed up the development process by transferring the bulky integration work from app developers to backend developers who can do it faster. However, it does not solve the core problem, which is faster enablement of enterprise mobile apps and faster time-to-value to deploy mobile apps to business users.

The Root Cause of BaaS Problems

In any enterprise, those who know the business needs as well as the business systems are typically Business Analysts, IT Analysts, Business Subject Matter Experts (SME), IT Architects, or even Backend Enterprise App Developers who may not have the programming skills to build the logic in a BaaS platform.

Typically, in this case, the person defining the business logic is not the one actually developing the logic in the BaaS platform. This falls into the traditional app development lifecycle trap, which leads to apps being developed that do not always meet the business requirements. It’s also the root cause of multiple, lengthy QA cycles, ultimately leading to long delays in delivery cycles.

A Better, Faster Development Method

The best way to avoid the common pitfalls and delays caused by the traditional app development lifecycle is to employ a model-driven platform that incorporates a BaaS capability. Model-driven platforms are designed for citizen developers in an enterprise, those who know the business needs and systems but aren’t professional coders. The model-driven platform can actually empower the Business or IT Analysts and Architects, and the legacy system developers to build enterprise apps.

Utilizing a full-featured, model-driven platform allows Citizen Developers to easily discover the API’s and business data from their enterprise backend applications, allowing them to focus on the business and integration logic in a code-less, visual modeling environment. This kind of platform doesn’t require custom coding to integrate to backend enterprise applications or for basic services like authentication, SSO, push notifications, etc.. Citizen Developers can combine and mash up business data from multiple systems to generate the BaaS for the app developer to consume via any development tool of their choice.

At appsFreedom, we’ve created a BaaS platform that tackles to root cause of lengthy, delayed app development cycles. Our platform provides full app lifecycle management capability that accelerates app development and improves time-to-value for app deployment.

We’re biased, of course, but we’re pretty sure we’re the only platform that can provide these benefits. If you would like to take the appsFreedom platform for a spin, we invite you to take a test drive.