How Are Backends for Mobile Apps Different?

Jigar Panchal

Before diving into the Mobile Application Development, each user must have the know-how of how the backend of Mobile Apps is a different form of Web Apps. We have tried to simplify, with below-listed points, how different building an API for mobile apps is from other systems.



Necessarily HTTPS, Not HTTP

The internet was set up on HTTP, but mobile platforms impose HTTPS requirements with modern encryption and trusted signed certificates. USE of HTTPS is an essential part of building a mobile backend. Each server used either for development, testing or running the app should be using the same type of signed certificates as this encryption method provides security. This allows you to catch security issues beforehand and saves you from many problems on the live server.

Centralized Data on Server

To reduce network data costs and battery life for users, you naturally want mobile clients doing as little work as possible. Keeping all the data on powerful servers makes it easy to just fetch required data, with querying, instead of storing whole data in mobile devices itself. Mobile app users prefer their data to be synced across all their devices, which is also solved by moving the data of the device with an API. Server stores heavy data enabling developers working on multiple platforms use the same and just present the result to any platform i.e. iOS or Android.

More Caution for Server Issues

Mobile users with their continuous finger tapping, have lost patience so if something goes wrong at server end or something does not work as expected, it just takes 1 minute to post a negative review for the app in App Store and Google Play Store. User-friendly error messages, instant notification to the technical team and swift resolution can only save the image of the app otherwise even a single error is enough to ruin the prestige of the app and will attract 1-star.

Versioning is Important

To cope up with the changing situations, new updates in the market, you need to keep your app handle those changes. The most common way to handle these changes is Versioning. It is highly recommended to have different versions both for developers and users. With multiple developers working on an app, versioning prevents to step on each other’s toes and overwriting of codes. While one version is running online, other can be sent to testing and concurrently run in case of troubleshooting an issue.

Plan for Push Notifications

Push Notification provides a useful way to communicate with the users of the app. Once turned on, it keeps on updating users at each stage with latest news and updates as set by the admin. To start sending Push Notifications from your mobile app, you are required to set up a server first. This server sends a notification to Apple’s Push Notification Service (APNS) or GCM (Google Cloud Messaging), which then sends the notification to the user’s device.

Reconciling Offline Activity

Many mobile users will expect a loss of connectivity, making the remote resources inaccessible so to maintain partial or full utility during the offline period, depending upon the nature of the app. Mobile Apps are made to ensure reconcile activities automatically, which is necessary for uninterrupted use of the mobile apps running on multiple devices such as phone and tablet. Coordinating API calls with timestamps and order of operations are taken into consideration while reconciling offline activities by the frontend and backend developers.

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