Serverless Stack for Mobile Application Development

There is a famous saying that technological advancement in the past 20 years has eclipsed the changes happening in the entire history of Mankind. The current digital gadgets which we use, such as wearable watches, Tablets, Smartphones, were not even thinkable a few decades back — the same goes with Softwares. The Technology world has evolved at an astonishing pace in the last 20 years.

Serverless Stack for Mobile Application Development

With the advent of Cloud computing, this usual pattern was changed; it offers flexibility to take server space and other computing capabilities on rent. Cloud vendors offer a pay-per-usage model, which was extremely beneficial for Application developers and owners. Cloud computing now has users pay only for those resources, which are in use — they don’t have to think about the maintenance and other aspects.

What is Serverless?

We believe the term ‘Serverless’ does not mean there is no involvement of Servers. However, these Services and Infrastructure resources are provided by a specific 3rd Party vendors as a backend service.

The developers can purchase these backend services on a pay-per-usage basis. Most of the cloud Vendors provide database storage services as Function-as-a-Service platforms. These platforms help developers to execute codes on the edge without storing any data.

What are the advantages of serverless computing?

Lower costs and “Pay as you Use.”

Compute resource cost is one of the biggest concerns for any organization, as it occupies most of the budgetary allocations.

Seamless Scalability – Everyone wants their mobile application to be used by millions of users, but the biggest hurdle is if we can scale the application in a similar proportion of our increasing user base. This question haunts the developers and Application owners, as they are not sure of the extent of the scalability of their application.

Here comes Serverless architecture for our rescue; it allows unlimited scaling, without worrying about the provisioning of Servers.

Simplified backend code

It offers Function-as-a-Service, which is a big boon for the developers. They can create and execute simple functions that can perform their intended purpose, like making Application programming interface calls and several other system functions.

Quicker turnaround and less time to Market – The application market is witnessing a cut-throat competition; If your competitor gets it first, then you will lose it. In this case, Serverless architecture offers the capability to add new functions and features in a few hours, instead of weeks or months.

It enables developers to cut down the time to market and deploy and release the updates so quickly. Developers get an option to add and modify the code in a piecemeal fashion.

Lower Latency for end-users – However, as code can run closer to the end-user and can run virtually from anywhere, it reduces the latency issues up to a great extent.

What is Serverless Stack?

The first thing to remember, if we talk in general terms — a Stack is a collection of Operating Systems, tools, languages, databases, scripting language, web servers, frameworks, and APIs, etc. All of these pieces of the “Stack Collection” come together to develop an entire software solution.

Nowadays, every mobile application has some common traits like scalability, security, and maintainability. A serverless stack enables developers to build the right product, which can specially fulfill these additional requirements.

Front End development stack

React – It is an open-source library developed by Facebook, that is used to create beautiful and highly reactive user interfaces for single web page applications and Mobile applications.
Babel – It is an open-source JavaScript trans-compiler that converts ECMAScript codes into a backward-compatible version of JavaScript. It offers developers the ability to use the latest features of JavaScript.
AWS Amplify – It is a group of tools and services that helps developers to build secure and scalable full-stack serverless mobile applications. By AWS; hence one can expect seamless support and features of AWS cloud.
Apollo GraphQL Client – It is a comprehensive state management library based on JavaScript, which helps developers to manage both local and remote data with GraphQL.
Webpack – It is an open-source bundler for JavaScript modules. It processes modules with dependencies capable enough to generate static assets corresponding to those modules occasionally.

Backend development stack

NodeJs – It is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment, which offers cross-platform support. It runs and executes the code outside a web browser.
AWS Lambda – It is a serverless computing platform that is driven by events and has been provided by Amazon as a part of AWS. It is a computing service that executes code in response to event-triggered and manages resources.
AWS S3 – It stands for AWS Simple Storage Service, which provides object storage via a web service interface. Amazon S3 uses Amazon’s famous scalable storage infrastructure, which is the backbone of Amazon’s global e-commerce network.
AWS CloudFormation – It allows developers to use code or a simple text file to execute provisioning and modeling in an automated and secure manner. It allocates required resources to the mobile application and ensures it never faces any issues. It also offers a common platform to bring in third-party resources to our application.
Serverless Framework – It is an open-source serverless framework written using Node.js.

Programming Languages for Serverless mobile application development

Java – It is the most reliable option while choosing the backbone of the serverless stack. It frequently works with AWS Lambda; it comes with massive libraries and tools which come in handy while developing serverless mobile applications.
NodeJS – NodeJS got more popular because of all the plugins it supports. The spin-up times are better than you get with Java or C+. These two things make it the best bet for developing client-facing applications.
Python – Though this language has been available for almost 3 decades, it has garnered enormous popularity in the last couple of years, it attains a cult status, and Python applications could be seen everywhere. It comes with a huge number of Third-party modules, which helps it interact with other languages and development platforms. Due to its ever-increasing popularity, it enjoys brilliant support from its communities. Surprisingly, It has more than 1,50,000 support packages to provide necessary help to the end-users and developers. Another big advantage of Python is its simplicity, extremely easy to learn, and it helps developers avoid overcomplicating programming architecture.
Go – It is comparatively a new contender, but with some amazing features to offer, it already creates a niche for itself. The biggest advantage it has with its best-in-class tenacity of 1.x, which outperforms its competitors like Java. A good tenacity rate is an assurance of a quick compilation of code without frequent alterations. In addition, it uses static binaries, which gives the ability to developers not to worry about the static linking. Go offers forward compatibility with AWS Lambda programs which makes it a big boon for serverless mobile application development.
Net.Core – Net.Core language is popular among those who want to run their .net applications on AWS.

Database

AWS DynamoDb – It is an Amazon proprietary NoSQL database service, which supports key-value and document data structures. It shares an almost similar data model approach and derives its name from Dynamo Database; however, the difference lies in their implementation.
AWS Aurora Serverless – It is an auto-scaling and on-demand and auto-scaling configuration for Amazon Aurora. However, it is a MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible version, and it offers seamless scalability to the applications. It offers automatic scale capacity up.
FaunaDB – It is a distributed and consistent NoSQL database that offers a multi-model interface offering a unique architecture where it can span to clouds as well as continents. FaunaDB supports relational, graph, temporal, and document data sets from a single query. This database has its own FQL query language and supports GraphQL query language.
Azure CosmosDB – It is Microsoft’s proprietary database service, which is a multi-model database service and distributed globally in a way that it can manage the data at a planet-scale.
Firebase Realtime DB – It is a cloud-hosted NoSQL database, which lets applications store and sync the data between different users in real-time.

Authentication and Authorization tools

Amazon Cognito User Pool – It is a user directory available in Amazon Cognito. Using this user pool, users can sign into the mobile app or the web portal via Amazon Cognito. Users can also sign in through social media identity providers like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Apple, etc.
OKTA – It enforces strong security policies and still allows end-users to access supported applications on any phone model and has one of its kind of integrated platform, where it could be paired with the organization’s directories services and other identity tools. It is easy to integrate and can be implemented quickly at a vast level with low costs.
Auth0 – It provides a common platform to authorize, authenticate and provide secure access to the users, who want to use any application or device. It is very simple and highly extensible, with more than 4.5 billion average authentication transactions every month. It is a comparatively new tool but still has generated a huge clientele base.
Microsoft Azure Active Directory – It is one of the most renowned identity and access management solutions, which is cloud-based. It provides some of the strong and robust capabilities, through which one can manage users and groups. It can facilitate their secure access to the organization’s apps, along with Microsoft services like Office 365.
OneLogin – It is one of the simplest identity management software which provides one-click secure access for end-users, to simple or enterprise cloud-based applications, on all kinds of devices.

Docker

Docker is a tool to develop, deploy, and run serverless mobile applications by using containers. A container allows a developer to combine the application with all the necessary parts it requires, such as libraries and other 3rd party dependencies, and deploy it as one package.

On the other hand, It is a set of Platforms-as-a-service products, which uses operating-system-level virtualization to deliver packages in the form of containers.

Error Tracking and Reporting tools

Sentry – It is a popular error tracking and reporting tool, which is loved by the developers for its application monitoring platform. It helps diagnose and fix the performance of the code. Sentry uses stack traces to enhance the performance of the mobile application. It uses Breadcrumbs to identify the chronology of events that could have caused the error.
Instabug – It offers real-time Insights into the mobile application lifecycle. It has strong bug detection and feedback reporting systems; it also comes with a secure crash reporting mechanism which makes it strong enough to support 2 billion devices.
Rollbar – It is known for its high performance, which helps developers test and deploys software at a rapid pace by fixing coding errors. It works simultaneously with any existing tool to ensure better coverage to identify and close the broken codes.
Raygun – It works on both mobile applications and web applications and raises the alarm the moment any code error is identified. All we need to add Raygun to our code, and it starts detecting bugs in a real-time fashion.
Jira – It is one of the most renowned and widely used tools for tracking issues, organizing them, and taking a follow-up for them until closed. Similarly, It works seamlessly with all kinds of web applications and mobile applications.

Testing tools

Azure Functions Core Tools – It is Microsoft’s proprietary tools that let developers test their functions on a local computer from the command prompt or terminal.
Mocha – It is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework, which runs on Node.js.
Jasmine – is an open-source testing framework for JavaScript. It aims to run on a JavaScript-enabled platform and to have easy-to-read syntax.
Jest – It is a JavaScript testing framework, which is to ensure the correctness of any JavaScript codebase that runs through it. It provides an easy and simple interface to write and execute tests in an approachable and familiar way.
Local Stack – It is a local AWS cloud stack, that provides an easy-to-use test and mocking framework for developing serverless mobile applications.

Application Security Tools

Protego – It offers a full application development lifecycle security. It offers a Policy manager, Security posture explorer, and third-party vulnerability reports. It has a robust integration with cloud platforms, which helps us detect and address problems with access and privileges. In other words, Protego also comes with an inbuilt analytics engine, which uses ML algorithms to assess and detect threats. They also take preventative actions to avoid any threats, malicious attacks, and anomalies.
PureSec – It provides a full-fledged security solution for serverless architectures and supports all the major cloud vendors, and provides security dashboards, which can be used to retrieve forensic information to conduct investigations for security incidents. PureSec has a platform to analyze functions to find out the vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in the existing system. Hence, for security concerns — runtime protection for a serverless app, where it scans input data and analyzes any injection attacks.
An inbuilt behavioral protection engine, which uses deep learning to detect any malicious transactions in mobile applications. Seamless integration with available SIEM tools to fetch security event information.

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD)

It is a mechanism to deliver applications to customers rapidly by adding automation into the app development process. The first thing to remember CI/CD is a concept of continuous integration, continuous deployment, and continuous delivery of Mobile applications. We have certain CI/CD tools that can help us improve the integration and delivery process.

Jenkins – It is an open-source automation server, which helps in building and integrating the applications. It is basically a Java-based software, which also contains the components and packages from macOS, Windows, or Unix operating systems. There are many plugins in it, which support rapid development, deployment, and automation of mobile application development projects.
CircleCI – It is another top-rated tool that supports fast-pacing application development and publishing. Above all, It allows automation in various phases of Mobile app development. It performs continuous integration for cloud-managing options, and it runs behind a firewall on private infrastructure as well.
Bamboo is a continuous integration server that automates mobile software application releases by creating a continuous delivery pipeline.
GitLab – It is a comprehensive suite of tools used to manage all aspects of the mobile application development lifecycle, having an inbuilt Git repository manager that allows developers to run tests, deploy code, trigger builds with each commit. It allows the creation of jobs in virtual machines or Docker containers.
TeamCity – It is a continuous integration tool developed by JetBrains that helps the development and deployment of different types of projects.

Conclusion

It is a proven fact that having infrastructure as code and automating provisioning is the biggest way forward as far as Software development is concerned, and a serverless framework can help us achieve the desired results with much ease.

In addition, a Serverless stack is a big boon for developers, and it can do miracles if used efficiently for the right purposes. It allows us to keep a check on infrastructure costs and provides a seamless ability to scale application services.

Moreover, You can choose the best tool and technology to create your own customized serverless stack for mobile application development. It depends on your organization’s requirements and the vision for the application.

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