A Quick Introduction to Back-End Mobile App Development
- Would your app be saving anything pertaining to your users?
- Would your app be required to display any dynamic data on the basis of the users’ behavior within the app?
- Does the app need to authenticate the user or would it need to have any configuration functionality that is admin-driven?
If you answered any of these questions with a ‘Yes’, chances are that you would need a back-end application programming interface or an API to access the back-end resources for your mobile app. Now, majority of the back-end architectures tend to follow the MVC pattern i.e. Model, View, Controller. I am going to try here and clear up the basics of the back-end of a mobile app so that you would have a clearer idea of what all the buzz is actually about.
Back End – what it includes?
At the most basic level, the core of a conventional back-end architecture consists of an application server, web server, and a database. In case of an architecture that is growth oriented, it might also include a load balancer and quite a few service integrations like email notifications, push notifications, and queuing services. What you would actually need in the back end of your mobile app depends almost entirely on what kind of functionality and features you want to be integrated in it.
Back End Technology – what does it mean?
Any dynamic application mobile or otherwise would require data synchronization across platforms, in addition to the ability to send alerts and notification messages and to support various HTTP methods. It is the back end of the application that establishes the limits of these abilities while helping you manage them better.
Back End APIs – handling the security
The foundation of the security for back end APIs lies in getting a robust secure sockets layer or SSL. It is possible that you may not be able to handle it all on your own, you may not even be familiar with the whole concept of SSL and in that case, it is important that you talk to someone who does.
When you consult an expert in this arena, they can ensure that all the necessary safety features are implemented in a suitable manner. Apart from SSL, two other major pillars of security for the back-end APIs viz. API token integration and authentication, and while discussing the security aspects you must consider including these as well.
Back End Stack – deployment in the cloud
The power of the cloud is being recognized and acknowledged by everyone who is even remotely associated with any kind of mobile app development. The modern age cloud computing services offer a scalable distributed architecture which are definitely going to be a big help in the growth scenarios when you are scaling up the application and are adding new users. There are multiple cloud platforms today that are essentially growth based, and hence offer multitude of services that can come in handy when it comes to scalability and growth.
Popular Back End Technology Stacks
Majority of the open source options for the back-end technology stacks that are available today follow the MVC pattern for web architecture stacks and offer core libraries to access the databases, security, and session management. I have here, some of the more popular options that would help you with your back-end development.
Known more commonly as ROR, the Ruby coding language and its framework are near veterans and have been around for over 10 years now. Ruby has the distinct advantage of having a huge community and a great number of third-party libraries that are available to create modern day web applications.
Django is programming language for coding in Python – one of the most popular languages for data and for web applications and enjoys a big community around it. It allows you to write simple, beautiful, and explicit code. Django is unique in offering a great many libraries thus making sure that the entire process and the resultant web applications are fast, safe, and robust.
PHP MVC Frameworks
If you were to consider the size of the community as the deciding factor, then this is the most popular back-end option in the world! Some of the several other frameworks available to the users include – Symfony, Laravel, Cake PHP, CodeIgniter, Zend, YII, and many such more!
This one is unique in the speed with which it allows you to build applications. Many of its core features are designed specifically with the intent to get the back end up to the functional stage as quickly as possible.
It is always a good idea to read as much as you can and prepare yourself, even if you are planning to hire and expert to help you establish a robust back-end for your app.