Appery.io and More Mobile Development Democratization

Let’s get one thing straight – delivering applications to mobile users is a non-negotiable requirement for enterprise IT. It’s for this reason that every man and his dog is now creating a mobile back end to enable this change. The term mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) has only really arisen in the past year or so but already it has a massive following amongst startups. With the Facebook acquisition of MBaaS vendor Parse, this space has only got more attention. But it’s not only startups – even Salesforce is strongly articulating the value of creating an easy on-ramp for developers to build mobile apps.

So it was interesting to spend some time with Appery.io a couple of weeks ago and get a demo fo their mobile development platform. Appery.io combines a cloud-based IDE, alongside integrated back-end services and the catalog of API plug ins that make integration of different services easier. Appery itself is an offshoot of Exadel a 15 years old, privately held, software engineering company.

Appery sees its point of difference from other MBaaS vendors in that it is offering a complete platform – core development tools, backend services and the ability to integrate third party services. In contrast the others, Kinvey, Parse and StackMob offer, in Appery’s view, a less complete offering.. But unlike purely GUI based approaches, Appery.io also offers the ability to code in JavaScript to make more complex applications.

Anyway – Appery.io has a visual development environment that allows developers to create mobile apps by dragging components, selecting pull-down menus and connecting backend services to user interface screens. In use it feels a lot like Yahoo! Pipes, one of the earlier visual development environments Appery.io is cross platform – apps buils on the platform use HTML5, JavaScript and CSS and hence run consistently across different platforms. Appery.io also supports Apache Cordove and hence has some access to native device capabilities (camera, GPS, accelerometer etc).

Applications created on Appery.io can be distributed as mobile applications (via mobile browsers) os as native apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows 8. The platform has a ready built catalog of integration plugins which covers a wide variety of services rom companies like Salesforce.com, Twilio, ESPN, AT&T, Aetna and Best Buy. Additional integrations can be created for any service that exposes as ReST or SOAP using the parent companies RESTXpress product.

While on a call with Appery I was run through the building of a simple application – I was impressed by just how quick and effortless the process was – it really does feel like a modern take on VisualBasic. It really is a great example, yet again, of just how easy it is becoming to create applications in this modern world – an ecosystem of API-enabled third party services, a user-friendly development environment, and all the attendant back end services developers need make it as easy as 1, 2, 3.

apperyio_visualappbuilder

2 Comments
  • Pingback: Amazing 2013 for Appery.io – Year in Review | Maxa Blog

  • Appery.io is a good product but support sucks and it’s an exercise in frustration! The learning curve is way too steep and mostly because they’re trying to make money from hosting, from support and from outsourced services. They need a decent support manager or they will crash and burn in short order.

    • We gave up on Appery last year for that reason, and primarily because of the complexity of trying to customize css and JQueryMobile DOM, as well as overall quirks with JQM.

      @Carol, what frameworks do you use now?

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