Author PhotoBy Stuart Reavley, Product Manager, Google Cloud Platform

Cross-posted with the Google Cloud Platform Blog

Mobile backends enable you to create connected mobile apps without writing server-side code. Today we are simplifying server-side development for iOS developers with Mobile Backend Starter for iOS. With our Mobile Backend and Objective-C client libraries you can:
  • Store data in the cloud and share between users
  • Send device-to-device push notifications
  • Use continuous queries to notify devices of data changes
  • Authenticate users using Google Accounts

Mobile developer Ryan Harter used Mobile Backend Starter to grow his Hashnote app usage from 3,000 users to 20,000:

“Mobile Backend Starter allowed me to focus on the Android app, while ensuring that I had an efficient backend. Most importantly, the backend isn't a black box that's intended to be the be all and end all, keeping me locked in. I was able to extend the backend to include Hashnote specific logic, while learning how Google implemented the initial feature set from the open source code.”

The Mobile Backend Starter is a Google App Engine application, so you can support hundreds of concurrent users at no charge. This source code for the entire app, both the backend as well as the Android and iOS clients, is available on Github, so you are free to explore and add specific customizations if you want.

Getting Started
You can try out the Mobile Backend Starter on an iPhone or iPad in just a few steps (further details here):
1. Provision your backend on App Engine
2. Download the iOS client zip file (or clone from GitHub repository)
3. Run the sample on a physical device (note: the sample does not run on the iOS simulator)

You use our framework classes to interact with the deployed backend as if it was local to the device. We incorporated our recent work to deliver scalable, reliable push notifications to thousands of iOS devices via the Apple Push Notification Service.

The same set of features exists for both Android and iOS, and the backend manages the platform specifics such as using Google Cloud Messaging for Android and APNS for iOS devices. You can follow these instructions to set up the backend for Android, or watch our Google I/O session.


Stuart Reavley’s goal is to enhance Google Cloud Platform for mobile. Outside work he enjoys traveling with his wife, Jen.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor