With the advent and popularization of mobile apps, the focus has now started shifting on not just developing an amazing app but also on understanding the underlying factors that differentiate an amazing app from a common one.
Every detail of an app that provides an effortless experience is incomplete without the mention of its efficient mobile app backend architecture. In that context, read this article as a guide to understand what makes backend development so important, what are the software stacks used for backend architecture, and the tools that help develop a strong backend process.
So, let’s start with what backend server for mobile apps means and how it is different from frontend development.
Frontend VS Backend Development
If you ask a developer how frontend and backend development is different, the answer that you will get is that the frontend uses codes to make an app look pretty and the backend writes codes to make it work.
Basically, applications that are installed from the Play Store or App Store on your smartphone are frontend applications. Be it Instagram, Facebook, or Calculator, each application on your smartphone is a frontend mobile application. How? Frontend applications permit you to connect directly through buttons, text fields, flips, and so on. Since they work on mobile phones, they are mobile applications, too.
A frontend developer is accountable for translating the app’s design to a code that is required to display it properly on the browser. The job grew more meticulous with the introduction of responsive web design. The developer not only needs to ensure that the look is supporting all the current browsers and mobile platforms, but should also note how the design is looking in other computer resolutions and browser widths.
Now that you have understood what frontend development is, let’s understand what backend development is.
In layman’s language, you can assume the backend as an extra application for your mobile application. It is a piece of software that runs on machines called servers. Backend development for mobile applications empowers the main working of the application. It incorporates things like servers, databases, middleware, and so on and can be accessed through the internet via an application programming interface (API).
A backend developer is accountable for the mobile app server connecting the content one sees on the site to the CMS and developing the logic needed to make everything work as supposed to. On the design front, they are responsible for converting the designs and the front-end development process in the CMS setup, giving the clients an intuitive method to handle their app content. If they make the mobile app backend architecture very simple, chances are that the clients will not have control. And if they make it complex, the possibility that clients get lost in the design becomes high.
Here is a visual to show the philosophy and tools involved in frontend and backend developments:
Now that you know the difference between frontend and mobile app backend framework, let us dive into mobile app functionalities that require backend.
Mobile Application Functions That Are Provided With Backend Development
There are many things you need to ensure prior to incorporating a mobile backend for an app development company. The most basic function to utilize while creating mobile applications are:
Cloud server – Today everybody can afford to have cloud servers that come in various sizes and are stored in a protected location. The most popular cloud servers are Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon AWS. They are generally utilized by large organizations and are reliable.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or 3rd party services – It can happen that the functionalities which you need are already offered by some existing services. They offer backend solutions that are ready to be used by frontend apps. You just need to register, subscribe under a monthly fee and, that’s it, you’ve got a ready and working backend in a few clicks/seconds.
MBaaS – If you prefer not to write your own backend servers or put resources into a cloud-based server, then Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) is your option. These days there are numerous independent MBaaS providers that offer incredible functionality and an analytics framework to monitor your applications.
Custom server – This is the most flexible and powerful option. Everything which cannot be achieved by SaaS or MBaaS can be achieved by a custom backend. Of course, the obvious drawback is the price of setup and implementation. It requires having a dedicated backend programmer or a whole team. The custom backend can be a simple application or a complex distributed system, all depending on your app requirements.
After knowing about mobile app backend development functions, let us now move on to how backend architecture and mobile app server actually work.
Architecture and Server- Working
Gear up, we are now going to delve into the technicalities of custom backend development so that you and your team are fully accustomed to all the details necessary to make your mobile application a success. In layman’s terms, backend development is preparing your mobile application to work as it was intended to. Now to make it possible, there are some concepts which form the server or backend’s side ‘Software Stack’.
Before I get into that, I will take another minute of yours to tell you that the look of the backend varies from application to application. The points of differentiation can be counted down to the use of data warehouses, cloud–based servers, containerization, BaaS providers, or usage of APIs to replace complex processing.
With that out in the open, let me take you back to the mechanics of the backend.
Breaking Down Backend’s Software Stack
Instead of taking you down the rabbit hole, let me simplify and break the backend’s technology stack into its four components – database, server, software, and operating system.
Whether your backend is in the cloud or on-site, a backend server for a mobile app is the life vein of the network. It provides resources (shared) that the networks need to operate and work as a mobile app hosting platform as well. These shared resources might include – encryption and security, file storage, email, database, and web services.
Now, these servers use virtualization to get the provision to house various apps. Another term used in relation to servers is Containerization, which is the way servers provision the operating system out to contain compartmentalized applications.
The database is what makes an application or website dynamic. Any time a user makes a request from the app, the database is supposed to accept the query, fetch the data, and give it to the app user.
Along with getting the information to a user, the database is also responsible to accept new and edit the old data, as and when the user wishes.
Middleware is a software that works on the server which connects an application’s frontend to its backend. It enables connectivity between the client and server. It can be organized in various layers – both business and presentation layers.
It lets the on-premise apps and cloud apps interact and offer services such as error handling, and data integration. An efficient middleware can enhance business process management, user engagement, authentication, content management, etc.
To start with, these three are the main components that lay the basis of backend development.
Now for those still with us, let me now tell you about the best mobile app backend technology. The reason for calling them the best is because they have been used on a massive scale for a number of varying projects of all sizes.
Read more mobile app backend development