We recently saw the fourth installment of the largest cross-platform mobile conference in the world, and the excitement in Orlando was palpable. Straight off the high of the Microsoft acquisition, over 1,500 developers, industry leaders, and Xamarin experts came together to discuss all things Xamarin and the future of mobile apps.
It was good to hear that even at a developer conference like Xamarin Evolve, the enterprise got a shout-out in the keynote. Nat Friedman observed correctly that if you want to build high-quality apps that will transform your business, you need an intelligent cloud to power these experiences. So let’s dig into what that means in real life by exploring three common themes that kept coming back throughout the sessions and across the vendor booths.
First, you need a mobile backend that is easy to spin up, easy to scale and easy to manage. Companies like Kinvey, Couchbase and Microsoft all provide a backend for your mobile app, but beware: The devil’s in the details, not all of them are a true mBaaS stack offering fully managed mobile backend services. The session on Azure App Services showed that Azure’s “App Service” is configuration wizard on top of Azure’s infrastructure-as-a-service, where the developer manually has to choose web server tiers, code up an ASP.net backend, and configure a SQL Server database for storage. In contrast, Kinvey’s fully managed mBaaS platform comes with a turn-key secure API, storage backend for data and files, integrated engagement features such as push notifications and the ability to use no-code connectors to third-party data and auth systems, all managed by a full-time devops team that takes care of availability and scaling for you.
Second, the ability for the app to be able to function offline was a common theme across many of the technical sessions at Evolve, and across the many vendors in the exhibition hall.
By the way, going offline is the easy part. Coming back online is where the magic happens. Which records need syncing back? How do you prevent the app pulling down the full dataset over and over? How do you resolve conflicts when multiple parties, both online and offline, edit the same record?
Kinvey is the only mBaaS provider that provides all three features critical to an enterprise mobile strategy: a turnkey mBaaS platform that doesn’t require you to think about individual components such as databases, PaaS platforms, webservers; an easy-to-use SDK that includes intelligent offline sync for Xamarin and many other mobile development platforms; and a rich set of connectors to enterprise data and authentication systems such as SAP, Oracle, Sharepoint, Salesforce, and more.