Why Reinvent the Wheel When you have BaaS?

Upul Weerasinghe

June 17, 2022

Product engineering

3 Mins

Every software application includes a comprehensive series of back-end services that support the front-end that users see each day. The work involved in creating the back-end is daunting, time-consuming, and expensive. BaaS (back-end as a service) or middleware platforms could be utilized to save time and money, why reinvent the wheel when you could rely on cloud-based services for back-end processing? 

A BaaS or MBaaS or Back-end As A Service is a platform that optimizes back-end related development and takes care of the cloud infrastructure. With the use of BaaS, you can focus on front-end development by relying on a third-party service provider for back-end processing. 

BaaS also provides tools to help create back-end code and speed up the development process. It has ready-to-use features such as:

  • Scalable databases
  • APIs
  • Cloud code functions
  • Social media integrations
  • File storage
  • Push notifications

For every app built, developers have a choice between building a custom back-end or a BaaS. Listed below are some differences between BaaS frameworks and custom-built back-ends. 

BaaS vs Custom Built Back-end

A custom-built back-end needs to be developed from scratch, including the infrastructure. While it provides extensive customization possibilities, development costs are higher, and building them can be time-consuming, resulting in longer time-to-market. On the other hand, a BaaS will deliver ready-to-use building blocks and code generation tools. The advantages of this approach are a much faster development process and reduced time to market. The cons will be lower flexibility and following a standardized architecture which could inhibit customization. 

For example, consider GDPR implementation, 

GDPR privacy requirements are complicated, and the implementation demands considerable engineering effort. The requirements will range from implementing HTTPS for transit data to encrypting server-side data in rest (and several other conditions). The precise amount of engineering hours to fulfill all the elements will depend on the project’s size and complexity, but could easily surpass 100 hours. Outsourcing this implementation to a back-end as a service company makes sense, especially for small to medium-sized projects as BaaS platforms would reduce the investment made to implement GDPR compliance. 

BaaS vs. MBaaS

BaaS – Back-end as a Service and MBaaS – Mobile Back-end as a Service are pretty much the same thing. BaaS could be used for web and mobile projects. It’s recognized as a mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) or mobile BaaS when used for mobile development.

Reasons to use a BaaS

The advantages of a back-end as a service are mainly related to productivity gains and outsourcing cloud management responsibilities. For small to medium sized projects, they provide substantial benefits. The other advantage is quick time-to-market. Quick deployment has become imperative in competitive markets. Apart from the above BaaS frameworks could also:

  • Reduce time-to-market
  • Save money and reduce the cost of development
  • Require fewer back-end developers for projects (same results with fewer developers)
  • Cloud infrastructure deployment and management is performed by the third-party service provider

In addition, BaaS provides benefits from a technical standpoint. The whole point of a BaaS is to allow front-end developers to concentrate on what they do best.  That is, delivering front-end code and excellent usability for the application.

Conclusion

Applications have a front-end, a back-end, and APIs connect both ends. BaaS is a cloud computing model that will help automate developing back-end code. The back-end service providers are also responsible for the deployment, management, and scaling of applications by providing resources to run the framework. BaaS has proven to work well for web and mobile apps. The leading market players include Back4App, Parse, and Firebase.It could be a good way to reduce development costs and increase time-to-market for applications that could be developed within the limitations of BaaS frameworks in terms of customisation.

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