When Google launched Mobile Backend Starter earlier this summer, they made it easier for Android developers to tap into cloud infrastructure resources including data storage, push notifications and continuous queries. While the service has its limitations, it’s sure to help smaller Android development shops deliver apps that are easy to manage and scale.
Cloud environments are integral to mobile devices in a way that never applied to PCs. You could argue that cloud computing as we know it was only really developed in the last few years, just as mobility took off, and that’s not a coincidence. The limited processing power and memory of mobile devices was the catalyst for cloud-based storage. As our technology and society becomes more mobile, the cloud is only getting bigger for apps and the people who make and use them.
Coding the backend of an app is like prepping the kitchen of a restaurant for dinner service, it requires a large amount of tedious tasks the public never sees. When running Mobile Backend Starter on the Google App Engine, developers get to skip the unappreciated prep work and focus on the forward-facing product their customers ordered.
As Frederic Lardenois notes in a recent TechCrunch article, “This new tool essentially provides developers with most of the infrastructure services they need for their apps without the need to write any backend code themselves. Because it runs on top of App Engine, the backend should also easily scale to handle virtually any load a mobile app can throw at it.” Best of all, the setup is as easy as making one click with your mouse (or so Google claims).
As Lardenois says, “one click” is a bit of an exaggeration. One click will deploy the backend, but some configuring will still be required. However, once the configurations have been implemented, Mobile Backend Starter provides developers with “a backend that stores your data with App Engine and a front end in Android that makes it trivially easily to access that data,” according to Brad Abrams, lead product manager on the Google Cloud Platform team.
On his personal blog, Champion of the Obvious, Brad thoroughly explains the process of designing an App using Mobile Backend Starter. Using his team’s Geek Serendipity app as an example, Brad takes us from the one-click start to the first cloud message. If you’d rather see the demonstration, watch Brad and his colleague David Chandler present the project at last May’s Google I/O conference. The video’s unanimously positive YouTube reviews would suggest Mobile Backend Starter is a welcome addition to the Android market.