There is no denying that the effectiveness of the mobile app development process majorly depends on using different technologies in order to meet varied business objectives.
However, with the advent of the latest technologies and globalization, the way we use to see the mobile app development is witnessing a change. This is the reason, apps these days are more interactive making users perform things and tasks smoothly and that too in a customized way.
The discussion around an app that gives a seamless experience to the user is incomplete without referring to the mobile app backend architecture.
Reading this guide cum article can help you understand what makes Backend development so important along with looking at the software stacks for its architecture and tools meant for developing a strong backend process.
But before indulging into the software stacks and tools arena, let us first figure out what Backend server for mobile applications means and how it is very different from mobile frontend development.
Frontend vs Backend development
An app basically consists of two essential parts – the front end and the backend. Frontend allows users to interact with the app or a service and include colors, animations, text, etc. Overall, it adds value to the user experience while engaging users to the app by meeting their expectations.
On the other hand, backend development for mobile applications enables the core working of the application. It includes things like servers, databases, middleware, etc.
Both frontend and Backend development are two different sides of a coin. And if you ask a developer how frontend and backend development are different from each other, their answer would be- Frontend uses code to make an app pretty, presentable and appealing whereas Backend is all about writing codes to make the app work accordingly.
But this one-liner is not enough for understanding the whole concept, for there are a number of underlying things that both Frontend and Backend development processes are based on. Processes that form the KRAs of the developers working on both sides of the app.
Let’s figure out the processes that both sides of the development process entails by the face of the work that the respective developer does further in this mobile app backend development guide.
What does a Frontend Developer do?
A frontend developer is responsible for translating the app’s designs to a code which is required to display it properly on the browser.
The job of doing the same grow even more demanding with the introduction of responsive web design. The developer is required to look at all the parameters to ensure that the look of the app is supporting all the current browsers’ and various different mobile platforms. Meanwhile, they are also meant to note how the design of the app is looking at other computer resolutions and browser widths.
In short, every inch and corner of the app is meant to be absolutely perfect, presentable and precisely detailed.
Now the question which arises here is what makes mobile app frontend possible?
Well, this is where the backend makes the grand entry, holding the hands of a backend app developer.
A backend developer is someone who is responsible for the mobile app server related tasks, which requires connecting the overall content and plugins one sees on the app to the CMS. They are also involved in the process of logic development needed for making every element of the application work exactly as they are intended to.
With the definitions and surface-level KRAs of both the developers’ types now touched in our mobile app backend development guide, let us look at the difference between both Frontend developer and Backend developer, visually.
Now that we have looked into the difference in both the process from the POV of the respective developers, let us focus on the part that makes engines an application – Backend development. Starting with how backend architecture and backend server for mobile app actually works.
In layman terms, Backend development is about making the mobile applications work as it is intended to. And driving the whole mechanism of the activity are a set of tools and frameworks that are denoted as ‘Software Stack’.
Backend’s Software Stack
Instead of making the concept complex and technically complicated, let me simplify it by breaking the backend’s software stack into four main components – Database, Server, Software, and Operating System.
Here are the details about each of the components in this mobile app backend development guide-
Servers – The machinery
Whether your backend is on-site or in the cloud, the servers act as the soul and essence of the network. The high-powered computers render resources that networks require to run. These shared resources might consist of file storage, encryption, emails, databases, security, and web services.
Databases – The intelligence
Databases are the brains that make an application dynamic. Whenever the user makes a request from the application, the databases get accountable for accepting the command, fetching the data and returning it to the app.
Middleware – The Plumbing
Middleware can be described as software on the server whose role is to connect the application’s front end to its back end. It pipes the connectivity with the client and the server and can be multi-layered in both ways – Business layer or the presentation layer.
Also, Middleware allows cloud applications and on-premise applications interact along with offering services like error handling and data integration. A well organized and systematic middleware can boost authentication, engagement, business process management, content management, and many more things.
APIs – the most crucial part of Backend Programming
Not touching the concept of APIs is like finishing our mobile app backend development guide half done.
API simply connects software, applications, services and databases altogether that too seamlessly. APIs plays an integral role in building server-side software architectures along with allowing the software to communicate and for the data to be transferred.
So there are four main components that lay the foundation of mobile app backend development.
With that answered, it is now time to cover the best backend technologies for mobile app.
*The criteria that we have set to help shortlist the best of the many available technologies and frameworks in the market is the probability of usage irrespective of the project size.
Web server tools
Created in 1999, Apache is an open source web server and is currently used by half of the website among all operating in the world wide web. Apache is said to be one of the proven and reliable tools in the web server industry.
NGINX is another open source software meant for reverse proxying, web serving, load balancing, media streaming, catching and many more. It also takes the charge and acts like a proxy server for email (SMTP, IMAP, POP3) and a reverse proxy along with a load balancer for HTTP, UDP, TCP servers.
Open source object-relational database system, PostgreSQL has earned a solid reputation among backend developers for correctness, data integrity along with reliability.
The free and open-source database system, MongoDB is famous for helping in saving data in binary JSON format, making the process of passing the data between client and server easier and smoother.
One of the most popular open source relational databases, MySQL, is easy to set up, scales fast and most importantly, is free. This is the reason, many developers find it quite suitable for their multi-sized projects.
Git Clients & Services
SourceTree helps in simplifying the whole process of how developers interact with their Mercurial and GIT repositories. The tool also makes repositories more intuitive, allowing you to focus solely on coding.
Local Development Environments
This tool provides a faster and easier way to spin up an isolated Windows development while allowing users to install it as a software. Meanwhile, the platform comes pre-installed with many applications like Apache, Composer, MariaDB/MySQL, Node.js, PHP.
XAMPP is an open source, cross-platform web server solution stack comes up with the Apache distribution which consists of MariaDB, Perl, PHP stored in one downloadable file. BONUS- The tool is extremely easy to install apart from using.
WampServer, an open source local development environment tool allows mobile app building companies to create web applications with the help of Apache, MySQL, and PHP databases. Moreover, this platform decked up with PhpMyAdmin and SQLite in order to manage databases.
It is an open source platform putting microservices on the chart offering developers and testers easy to use and fast packaging, deployment mechanism along with distribution in order to build compartmentalized apps. Meanwhile, it also provides an ecosystem of tools like cloud service, native clustering, and registry service.
Kubernetes is an open-source platform meant for container cluster management offering a platform for scaling, automating deployment and also for the operation of application containers across the cluster of various hosts.
Asana is a SaaS platform that is designed for helping teams to work even more effectively. Meanwhile, it also focuses on allowing users to manage tasks and projects online without the need to use email.
One of the most popular cloud-based messaging & collaboration app Slack has revolutionized the way through which enterprises communicate.
Jira is another web-based project management platform tool that uses the kanban and scrum paradigms in order to manage projects.
As we have reached the end of the piece, we hope the complete guide on mobile app backend development help impart value to you for your future projects.
Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect at Appventurez. An expert programmer who is passionate and loves to explore emerging mobile technologies. As a leader, he is a perfect match as he is always there for the team to help and guide them to learn and implement smartly and effectively.
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