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To Have and Have Not StackMob- Part 1 of 2: MBaaS Provider's Customers get Short End of Backend

by Martin Monroe on Mar 30, 2014 |

On Sunday May 11, 2014 mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) vendor StackMob will cease operations. PayPal dictated its closure after eBay's online payment system acquired the company at the close of 2013.

Reactions from the mobile community ran from dismay to stoic acceptance to "I told you so"…

ReadWrite commenter- Hovo Pogosyan · Los Angeles, California

I have been contacting Stackmob support since January, ASKING BEGGING for a support plan. Now they decide to shut down? You know some early notification would have been nice. (Cost us plenty of time and resources) Before I spent 30k developing my whole application around Stackmob's iOS SDK. Anyone know if Parse is worth taking a shot?

Tech Crunch commenter Waqasmakhdum-

That's why developers should be asking questions beyond uptime and cost...about the future viability of their provider like where is the data? What happens if the backend service disappears/ownership transfers?

ReadWrite commenter Ghazenfer Mansoor · Founder & CTO at Technology Rivers-

That's one of the (reasons that) I suggest customers (do not) use these type of tools. Short term benefits; mostly (ends) up like this in the long run. I sense Parse is going to do the same sooner or later. Good for some, who will get migration projects.

ReadWrite commenter- Fred Destin-

Think StackMob may have been the first but hardly a defining company. Defaulted back to HTML5 only, had made some odd architecture choices. Think we should be happy that all the people there found a home through acquihire but not overstate the importance of the shutdown.

Mobile app developers often use a backend service provider like StackMob to defray the cost of creating the less glamorous portions of their software program's nuts and bolts. Like authenticating, managing and storing their application users' data, to name only a few of the services offered by these keepers of the clouds.

Tech Crunch commenter Muthu Leesa JohnJan-

the popularity of MBaaS is shooting up for a reason - this light weight mobile middleware will provide a great app development infrastructure, access backend systems, integrate with third party platforms, and support application services to offer a great user experience.

With other industry mainstay Parse being acquired by Facebook not long ago, even the casual observer can see a trend developing where acquisitions of MBaaS providers are used to beef-up the reach of enterprises like Facebook and PayPal into the ever-widening mobile computing arena.

Taking notice of the explosive growth of the mobile ecosystem, Angel investors are spawning the proliferation of evermore MBaaS providers. These startups, along with their apps and customers' data will usually be locked-in to the proprietary technology that is featured by most MBaaS providers.

ReadWrite commenter- Matt Cumello (Director of Marketing of AnyPresence)-

MBaaS customers clearly need to weigh the pros and cons of using a 100% cloud-based solution versus an enterprise solution with no platform lock-in and flexible hosting. The platform lock-in is huge in this scenario, as StackMob’s customers have essentially been left out in the cold. With solutions like AnyPresence, the run-time and design-time APIs are separate, making it possible for customers to not only own the data in their apps, but also the server and app code as well.

In part two of To Have and Have Not StackMob we'll examine why MBaaS will continue to thrive.

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Check out LoopBack - The open source API server in Node.js for your own mBaaS by Raymond Feng

LoopBack is an open source API framework built on top of Express optimized for mobile and web. Connect to multiple data sources, write business logic in Node.js, glue on top of your existing services and data, connect using JS, iOS & Android SDKs.

github.com/strongloop/loopback

With the out of box support for the mobile specific models, such as user, application, push, and file and their counterparts in the iOS & Android SDKs, LoopBack gives you the full power of mBaaS under your full control!

See more information at loopback.io.

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