Serverless – simply an approach to building modern applications?

If you search for “serverless” you find that serverless is a new popular way to build modern applications. Is serverless really new?

Serverless refers to the notion that you don’t need to worry about servers – you don’t need to provision, deploy, maintain servers. Obviously there are servers but you don’t need to think or worry about them, the cloud or the platform where you run the code will take care of that for you. Another major benefit is that a serverless function (cloud functions or function as a service) will automatically scale when demand increases.

Interestingly, the idea of executing code in the cloud has existed for a long time as part of Backend as a Service (BaaS) or Mobile Backend as a Service (mBaas). Companies such as Parse (Founded in 2011. Acquired by Facebook and now lives as an open source project), StackMob (acquired by PayPal), Kinvey (acquired by Progress), (my previous company) and many others.

In addition to providing a server-side environment where a developer can write and execute code, these companies provided additional services such as a database, integration with 3rd party API and services, push notifications (for mobile), analytics, file storage, integration with login providers and other capabilities. They also provided various client SDK to work with their backend services.

I think serverless is simply an approach to building modern applications. It’s not a particular feature, but an approach. As for naming, I personally prefer the name cloud functions or functions-as-a-service.

Continue reading “Serverless – simply an approach to building modern applications?”

What is – The Complete Series

For the past two weeks I have been writing about the core platform components. Below you will find the complete series and links about these components.

Want to learn more? Check out our YouTube channel for many short videos on how to build apps fast.

How to Add In-App SMS to Your Mobile App with Twilio API

This short video shows how to add and configure the Twilio SMS plugin in You can quickly add in-app SMS capability to any app with this plugin and Twilio API.

For step-by-step instructions, visit the plugin documentation.

Build Responsive Web and Mobile Apps with Bootstrap, AngularJS and

This webinar shows how to build responsive web and hybrid mobile apps using Bootstrap and AngularJS using

Building a Mobile App with User Registration and Backend Services [Webinar]

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 1.58.46 PM

In this webinar, we are going to build a mobile merchandise app in which a user can sign in or register and maintain a list of the user’s merchandise items using’s database.

What: Building a Mobile App with User Registration

When: Tuesday, October 22, 11am Pacific Time

Register: Attend the webinar or get the recording


Exposing Enterprise Services via REST APIs has always made it quite simple to integrated with backend systems via REST APIs — but what if those systems are behind the firewall and don’t support REST?? Many enterprise apps required access to data that is sitting on a SQL Database or on some business application like SAP or Oracle.

Enter RESTXpress!

With RESTXpress enterprises can easily expose databases and business applications securely via REST. Once exposed as REST services, they can easily be integrated into apps.

Deployed behind the firewall, RESTXpress comes in two easy-to-install parts. An administrative console (running in a browser) easily sets up enterprise assets as REST services and a run-time gateway presents the enterprise assets as services to the outside world.

Right now, RESTXpress supports databases as assets to be made into REST services. You can use any SQL database with JDBC drivers. This month, we’ll be rolling out SOAP web services as a new type of enterprise asset that can be easily wrapped into a REST service.

And, RESTXpress is free!

You can watch a demo video, download the installer, or join the discussion community…all from one info page.

Originally published on the blog

Tiggzi, Cloud-based HTML5, jQuery Mobile App Builder At SF East Bay jQuery Meetup

I will be showing how to build HTML5, jQuery Mobile apps connected to REST API’s with Tiggzi at the SF East Bay jQuery meetup on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Anyone who attends the meeting will also get free Pro plan. Definitely stop by.

jQuery Mobile App In Tiggzi Connected to Kinvey Backend

Kinvey is one of those services that makes building mobile backend way too simple. If you combine Kinvey with a cloud-based app builder Tiggzi, you get everything you need to build an awesome mobile app using cloud services. Let me show you what I mean.

To start, sign up for Kinvey, it’s free and then create your first app backend. We re going to create a backend for beers(!).

Next, create a new collection where we are going to store names of beer we like:

Open the collection. When you open it for the first time it will be empty so we need to define at least one column and enter some data. Click on +Col, and add Name column. Then add a few sample entries by clicking +Row. You can simply double click in Name column to enter values (you don’t need to enter anything for _id or _acl).

That’s pretty much all you need to do. Simple, right?

Let’s now go to Tiggzi app builder and create a jQuery Mobile app.

We will first build the UI with jQuery Mobile:

Next, we are going to add two REST services. Once service for getting all the beers (BeerGet), and one service for creating a new beer (BeerPost).

This is BeerGet service URL:

For Kinvey to know who we are, we need to add Authorization header parameter:

Note you can also calculate the Authorization value in run time.

We can test the service to make sure it works:

Right from the Test window, we can automatically define service’s JSON output structure by clicking on Populate Response Structure button:

For BeerPost service, the service URL is the same but instead of GET we now do POST. As we also need to send the new beer name, we have to add Name request parameter:

Adding both services to the page:

Two more things we are left to do. First is to map services to UI, and second invoke the services. Let’s do the mapping.

When the page loads, we want to get the list of all current beers so we are mapping BeerGet first.

There is nothing we need to map on input (Authorization header is already set). Output mapping looks like this:

Before we can test the app, we need to invoke the service on page load.

We can test in the browser or on the actual mobile device:

Here is how it looks:

Let’s now work on adding a new beer.

Mapping BeerPost to the UI. We are getting the new beer name and mapping it to service’s input.

We don’t need to worry about mapping the response (in this example). You do get back JSON that contains the object id that was created.

Next, we need to invoke the service on button click:

The last thing we need to do is show the updated list once a beer was added. To do that, we want to invoke BeerGet service once BeerPost finished successfully. We are going to use BeerGet success event to invoke BeerGet:

Running the app:

After entering new beer:

And that’s it. Sign up for Kinvey, Tiggzi, and build your mobile app.

Book Giveaway: How Not To Write An App

How Not To Write An App is a great little book by Rod Cambridge (@appDebut, web site). Instead of telling you how to write an app (I’m sure there are plenty of books that do that), Rod tells you how NOT to write a mobile app in 10 fun, and easy to read lessons based on his experience building an iPhone Top-Tens app. However, the lessons and tips Rod gives in his book can be easily applied to Anroid, Windows Phone and mobile Web apps. It’s a great read and you can win a FREE copy (read below).

  1. Lesson 1: So what’s an app?
  2. Lesson 2: This is going to be so easy!
  3. Lesson 3: Research? Who needs it?
  4. Lesson 4: User Interface guidelines are for nerds
  5. Lesson 5: To-Do or not To-Do
  6. Lesson 6: An elevator pitch? Really!?
  7. Lesson 7: Why worry about the users?
  8. Lesson 8: Marketing, schmarketing…
  9. Lesson 9: Who needs Social Networks?
  10. Lesson 10: Who needs Developers?

Rod was nice enough to give FIVE free copies of his book to readers of my blog. To enter the giveaway, just enter your email address. One winner will be randomly picked each day.