If you’re not so tech-savvy or don’t have enough programming resources, then backend development is probably one of your biggest challenges. However, since you’re not alone in this problem, a recent phenomenon is becoming more and more popular – BaaS.
BaaS stands for Backend as a Service and it’s a platform that allows you to automate backend-side development. In other words, it allows you to outsource all the backend activities to a third party.
The popularity of this service is constantly increasing, so many apps are offering BaaS. However, one of the most-used ones is Back4App.
Let’s see why.
What is BaaS
The term BaaS probably sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
That’s because you must have heard about SaaS (software as a service), which is software made by a third party and available on the Internet. Moreover, you’re probably using some of them such as WordPress or Mailerlite. On the other hand, backend development is also a well-known term – a backend developer is someone responsible for building server-side systems.
So, as you can conclude, BaaS combines the two concepts. All you’ll need to do is to create a UI application, and the BaaS can take it from there. You or your team can take care of the front-end development, but everything concerning back-end development can be done by a third party.
When should you use BaaS?
As with every other application, BaaS has its pros and cons.
Using BaaS to save time
If you’re tight on time, using a BaaS solution could come in handy. BaaS services are reliable sources, so you don’t have to worry about that aspect, and at the same time, they offer you to speed up the process.
Using BaaS if you’re not backend savvy
If you’re not comfortable with backend development, then having someone who will take care of the website infrastructure and speed up the development process is extremely beneficial. If you have no experience, or you lack backend knowledge, it would be wise to let someone else take care of it. Many complex functionalities are not beginner-friendly, so if you lack expertise, you can do more harm than good.
Using BaaS to Get a competitive advantage
If you have a small or medium size company, using a BaaS solution helps with speeding up the process and lowering the costs. That will allow you to market your product faster, and not fall behind the competition. Moreover, if you’re in the phase of building a prototype, using a BaaS app would be a more affordable option. Prototypes usually don’t require extremely complex functionalities, so hiring backend developers can cost you more than using a BaaS app.
However, that comes with a price – if you don’t have a costume, in-house solution, that means less flexibility and customizable options, as well as not having full control.
Thus, your decision should be based on the type of project/website you’re working on.
So, if you decide to go for this option, your first step should be to investigate what kind of BaaS apps there are. As we said, one of the widely used BaaS applications is Back4App.
What is Back4App
Back4App is a BaaS service that helps developers build apps in a faster way and without the need to manage the website infrastructure on their own. Back4App is used by more than 200 000 developers and has a role in building more than 500 000 applications around the world!
It works pretty simple – you just need to bring your code and they’ll take it from there. This app allows you to connect your GitHub account and authorize the repositories you want to use to deploy your applications.
Another option that Back4App offers is an easy application scaling from your dashboard without downtime.
Why should you consider Back4App?
As you can see, Back4App helps you to improve development productivity by reducing repetitive tasks and managing the whole website infrastructure.
Here is what this app can offer:
- Open source
Back4App works with many open-source technologies. Some of them are Parse Server, NodeJS, and Docker. Using open-source technologies is very important for several reasons.
First of all, every open-source code is transparent and regularly updated. All these technologies are reliable and present on the market for many years, so the chances of your data getting misused are close to none.
Secondly, open-source technologies have lower hosting services. There are no costs for copyrighting which is automatically more affordable.
Lastly, their source code is free for downloading, which means that there is no vendor lock-in.
- Reliable infrastructure
If you decide to trust your whole website infrastructure to a third party, you want to make sure that it is completely reliable. Back4App works in a way that all your data and requests are stored simultaneously on two different servers. By doing so, they make sure that nothing gets lost, and that all the data gets properly backed up.
- Fully functional, yet less complex backend
If something it’s not overly complicated, that automatically leads to the conclusion that it’s not very functional. But, this app is very user-friendly! The APIs are automatically generated, and it provides requests and responses for any programming language.
Connecting your project with the Back4App server is rather easy – the only thing you need to do is to install the respective SDK, add the keys, and use the application over the API.
- The quick connection between the backend and frontend
One of the main worries when using a BaaS solution is whether it will support the same language you used for the front-end development. With Back4App you don’t have to worry about that since it provides a quick and simple backend and frontend connection, regardless of the programming language. In other words, you can achieve more by doing less coding.
- Relational data
This tool is built like an SQL solution, meaning that the provided data can be used further. For instance, you can do the indexing, function aggregating, and running many heavy transactional queries. Although this feature is very advanced, it’s very easy to use – building relations is just a few clicks away.
- User privacy
Whenever a company needs to outsource something, security becomes one of the main issues. Giving access to a third party can jeopardize user privacy, but with this tool that can not happen. They use customer data only for administrative purposes and internal marketing, but never to sell or commercialize that information with the general public or other companies.
- Affordably and predictable price plans
Whenever you think of this kind of application, one question inevitably arises – the price. People think that these apps are extremely expensive, and sometimes that’s completely true. However, Back4App offers a free plan to help all developers to get started. The best thing is that there are no hidden costs and everything is fully transparent.
If you want to upgrade your plan, you can do it at any time, but the use of any plan is not time-limiting. Instead, everything works by the principal pay-as-you-go.
- Community support
Besides their support team, Back4App has a big developer community on Twitter, Slack, YouTube, and StackOverflow that can help you anytime with all the questions and doubts that you might have.
- Trusted by startups around the world
Companies from different industries, and from all over the world, managed to significantly improve their business with the help of Back4App. This is a very important factor when deciding to entrust your business into someone’s hands.
Are backends-as-a-service the future?
The answer depends on the customer’s needs. As we explained, for non-tech people, using a BaaS tool can be a real game-changer. They will save money, quickly build and test prototypes, and have their project market-ready.
However, if you need very advanced and highly customizable assets, you’ll probably need to make further adjustments. It’s very similar to the case of WordPress – if you just need to build up a blog, or an eCommerce store, you won’t be facing any issues. But, if you need further customization, you will need to include developers.
Even though the BaaS tools keep evolving and trying to solve projects that can be classified as out-of-the-box, some projects will still require in-house developers. However, for the majority of companies, BaaS tools can be a real lifesaver.
Wrapping it up
BaaS services will help you to speed up the process of launching your product to the market by significantly shortening the development time. What would take months to make, now can be done in a couple of weeks or even days. Moreover, you’ll be freed from repetitive tasks and have the time to dedicate yourself to other business aspects.
Besides these general benefits, Back4App offers more functionalities such as being an open source platform, user-friendly, the ability to run complex queries, and many more.
We hope that you’ll find this article useful in case you’re on the hunt for a BaaS.
If you’re already using some of the BaaS tools, feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.