what is backend as a service

This article is a complete guide to Backend as a Service. You will learn how BaaS may save your money and reduce time to market based on our use cases.

In the early days of mobile app and web development, you had no other choice but to orchestrate both the frontend and the backend. But those days are gone, and you can now leverage backend as a service (BaaS) to reduce your workload — at least by half.

Here, we drill down into BaaS and how it can move the needle on your productivity gains and ROI. Acropolium takes pride in running a BaaS platform for businesses, which allows us to share something that can free up your developers’ time.

“BaaS is about NOT having to reinvent the wheel for every app or web development project you launch,” Acropolium’s Founder Oleksii Glib said. “It gives you a full-fledged infrastructure to spend less time fine-tuning frameworks or dealing with server-side challenges and more time “gussying up” your frontend. That’s why BaaS is a great low-code solution for businesses, driving product quality improvements and cutting MVP costs.”

Hungry for details? Keep reading.

What is backend as a service?

Backend as a service is a service provided by a third party to reduce the workload of a company's backend developers.

Backend as a service (BaaS) is a third-party service that lets you develop an app or a website without bothering with its backend. When using this service, you leave time-consuming and expensive backend tasks to a BaaS provider while channeling your efforts into the frontend. BaaS grants you access to a bundled infrastructure with tailor-made APIs and SDKs behind it. It saves you the pain of powering your development, managing user permissions, setting up cloud storage, and configuring user authentication. Your BaaS vendor takes care of this for you. In the mobile landscape, BaaS can take the shape of mobile backend as a service (mBaaS). Unlike traditional BaaS, this service is focused on managing the backend of mobile apps, but not web projects. Similar to it, mobile BaaS entails API-first development without having to even think about your app’s server-side tasks. Get ready to heave a sigh of relief.

Read also: BaaS vs FaaS.

Why should you use backend as a service?

The advantages of backend as a service are numerous, but having more time for the frontend is what all developers report among the biggest gains tied to BaaS.

If your business is surrounded by proprietary applications, in one way or another, BaaS should be at the top of your list. It can be used for:

  • Game apps, whether on Android or iOS
  • SPAs (single-page applications)
  • Websites
  • Chatbots
  • E-commerce apps
  • Data management apps
  • And more

There are many reasons to use backend as a service when developing these or any other applications. Let’s find out which of them appeal to your business most.

Keep doing what you do best on the frontend

BaaS allows you to let go of the backend grind. Under this service, your developers are never sidetracked by aligning open-source Node.js routing frameworks or building the backend for new app features over and over again. By outsourcing these tasks to a BaaS provider, you can zero in on your frontend and keep improving the experience you deliver at the user level. Enjoy faster rollouts Developing an app with BaaS unburdens your team of server-side manipulations that need to be handled to roll out an MVP or new features. That’s how BaaS enables you to deliver your application once your frontend is 100% ready. No need to wait for months until your developers bring the backend to perfection on their own.

Curb unnecessary expenses

This one is a biggie when considering the benefits of using a BaaS platform for an enterprise’s financial health. If you outsource backend development, you can roll out and maintain your apps with existing talents. You don’t need to hire full-stack specialists or expand your team with more staff to troubleshoot your applications as you leverage a BaaS vendor’s expertise. What makes BaaS even a more cost-efficient low-code solution is that it also brings cloud technology benefits to the table. In other words, you can avoid dropping money on physical servers and other backend hardware with BaaS.

Treat your developers to proven backend tools

BaaS comes with baked-in functionality, although it may vary from one BaaS provider to another. This functionality is available as a toolset of out-of-the-box solutions that you can use to implement your business logic and even get around the cross-platform app development problem. For additional value, some BaaS vendors also offer app analytics tools so that you can measure your KPIs and know what features your audience expects you to add.

Make your app as secure as the Pentagon

The security of the data being collected in your app or transferred between it and third-party services is the BaaS vendor’s responsibility. They have specialized expertise to make things safe at the web, database, and server levels while managing authentication and authorization processes. That’s how BaaS can help you deliver a GDPR- and HIPAA-compliant app for end-user security.

Read also: BaaS security explained.

BaaS architecture and key components

Ready to plunge into the technicalities of traditional and mobile BaaS? There’s no other way to describe its architecture — for better or worse.

BaaS uses a modular architecture that combines easy-to-manage and drag-and-drop functionality to simplify the complex backend for developers. This architecture is made up of three components.

1. Modules

These are modules for a content-types builder, content-types data, and user models. With a BaaS content-types builder, developers can manage entries and fields to frame how the data is served over the backend to users. A content-types data module is where you can filter queries with GraphQL or APIs and perform CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations. Some BaaS providers also offer a business logic programming option within this module to help you control app data exchange processes. A user-model module is your BaaS strongbox of authentication processes and permissions. You turn to it to oversee how users log into your web or mobile app, manage what information they can access, and enable data sharing with third parties. These are not the only modules a BaaS platform architecture can have. It can also include add-ons for file storage, page and content builders, and state machine modeling, among other modules.

2. API

An API is the second layer of the BaaS architecture cake. Today, BaaS platforms bet on REST APIs that help developers stay nimble with backend operations. REST APIs simplify the management and configuration of BaaS architecture modules, including authentication and database changes. Another upside is that they make BaaS valuable for any app you can think of — from games to chatbot applications.

3. Data channels

Data channels are the highways that data travel on to reach the ultimate backend destination, which is a REST API. Once the data from your app channels are fed into a BaaS API, it initiates interactions with databases, servers, and modules. Specifically, these channels are like the circulatory system of a BaaS platform architecture.

What features of backend as a service can you get with a BaaS platform?

Different BaaS and mobile BaaS providers incorporate different features into their platforms, but some can be found with all vendors.

BaaS platforms are different, and some of them are bulging with more functionality than others. But good luck finding at least one provider who is missing out on these features.

Data storage

A BaaS platform provides unlimited backend storage for your app or website data. Your developers only need to set it up and watch the data flow consistently to where it can be securely kept and served upon request.

Read also: Guide to modern web app architecture.

Data manipulation using an API

BaaS and APIs go together, even when it comes to data manipulation. This feature is vital for organizing, mapping, sprucing up, or otherwise modifying data to be further fed into the backend or delivered to users. Remember: their experience starts with how flawlessly your backend works.

User modeling

User modeling is a colossal chunk of backend functionality, allowing developers to manage roles, permissions, and groups. With this feature, you can control authorization scopes and user access to any part of your product. If you’re developing a customer portal, user modeling is your way to create a walled environment that authorized users can flock to and interact with their data.

File storage

BaaS platforms take good care of file storage for mobile and web apps using specifically built modules. And you don’t even need to fret about backups. Your BaaS provider is permanently on guard against system failures so that your files are safe and sound, no matter what. These four features unlock the material advantages of backend as a service. Zooming out, BaaS can come up with add-ons to enable your developers to:

  • Visualize and configure backend tasks with visual development
  • Schedule cron jobs to automate commands and system maintenance
  • Set up hooks to trigger a targeted action like a push notification or email delivery
  • Create HTML pages using an integrated HTML page builder
  • Link user social media accounts with your app or web project
  • Go beyond baked-in platform functionality with custom URLs and extensions

Is there anything else your developers need for a smoother backend? Check with BaaS providers to learn more about the features of their platforms, or better yet, get started with Acropolium.

Read also: BaaS use cases.

Acropolium’s BaaS footprint

Acropolium is involved in developing a BaaS platform that blends the best features of backend as a service.

Feel free to raise your BaaS expectations because we will exceed them anyway. Acropolium has made its mark with a partner BaaS platform by contributing to its development for the last ten years. This platform has proved its worth for many projects, including event planning systems, exhibition management apps, booking solutions, and more.

Our partner BaaS platform brings both traditional and mobile backend as a service under one roof. Its functionality is extensive enough to speed up web MVP development and app prototyping. It also eliminates vendor lock-in issues, which are common with some BaaS companies, by making sure you can swiftly switch to your own backend anytime. For BaaS projects, we call on our experience with other BaaS providers (Parse, Firebase, etc.), headless CMS platforms, and AWS solutions. With Acropolium, you always have a professional nudge and technical foundation to go serverless.

Key takeaways and how you can use them to your advantage

Backend as a service is a hassle-free way to manage the backend using existing third-party platform functionality. With BaaS, you have someone to do the hardest server-side part for you, whether you’re building a website or a mobile app. You may want to use BaaS because:

  • It saves your time, which you can use to spruce up your frontend
  • It expedites MVP development and prototyping
  • It reduced backend workload drives cost-efficiency
  • It includes many features and tools you wouldn’t otherwise have free access to
  • BaaS vendors step up security for your web or app project

In chef lingo, a BaaS architecture resembles a three-layer cake. However, instead of fillings and toppings, it’s made up of modules and APIs stacked on data channels. BaaS is associated with a bonanza of features for developers. The biggest of them revolve around data storage, data manipulation, user modeling, and file storage. How can all this BaaS stuff pan out for your app or web project? Contact Acropolium to find out. Make no mistake: our partner BaaS platform can give your business a boost while reducing your developers’ work hours.