Seminar TIE-11406: Backend as a Service (BaaS)
Tampere University of Technology
Seminar TIE-11406 (Seminar on Pervasive Computing)
Fall 2013 (periods 1-2)
1-5 credit points (1 cp active participation in the seminar, 2 cp technology
presentation, 2 cp technology demonstration)
Professor Kari Systä
Adjunct prof. Antero Taivalsaari
Seminar Background and Motivation
The landscape of mobile software development has changed considerably in the past ten years.
Today's mobile applications are rarely standalone; rather, applications must commonly
- talk with various third party data services,
- work on a number of different platforms, and
- stay in sync across a number of devices that the user has.
The dependence on various backend features has led to the emergence of Backend as a Service systems.
Backend as a Service (BaaS) is a model for providing web and mobile app developers with a way to link their
applications to hosted backend cloud storage while also providing features such as user management,
push notifications, and integration with social networking services, all as an integrated offering.
The goal is to abstract away all the complexity related to cloud and cloud management, and provide
simple APIs that can be used across all popular mobile platforms.
Key selling points for BaaS systems include the following.
- Writing and hosting a full-fledged cloud backend can be very tedious and expensive.
- Small developers often do not have the resources or skills to write or host their own backends anyway.
- Backend offerings from major providers such as Amazon can be unnecessarily complex for inexperienced developers.
- Many BaaS systems are very easy to take into use; to get started, often just a line or two of boilerplate code in your web app is needed; excellent online documentation provided by most systems.
Part of the value proposition is pricing. Most systems use the freemium model; small-scale use is usually free.
Existing BaaS Systems
BaaS is a very popular area these days; over 40 startup companies in this area have sprung up recently.
A partial list of BaaS systems is provided below:
Seminar Goals and Format
In this seminar, we will investigate different BaaS systems.
Students will familiarize themselves with a selected BaaS system based
on available material and experiment with the system. Based on those
experiences, a presentation of about 45 min will be given in
the seminar. Optionally, it is also possible to build a demo
application with the technology, and give a presentation on that.
Presentations may be prepared and presented in English.
The seminar is intended for third-year students and up.
The seminar is suitable also for Ph.D. students.
If necessary, the number of participants will be limited to about 20-25
people to enable fruitful discussions.
Seminar Schedule and Presentation Topics
Seminar will be held on Tuesdays, 14:15 - 15:45, in Tietotalo
TB222 starting on September 10.
Tentative schedule for the seminar is as follows:
- September 10, 2013: Seminar kick-off meeting, topic area overview and presentation schedule definition (Antero's and Kari's kickoff presentation)
- September 24, 2013: Firebase (Database-as-a-Service), Jyke Savia (PRESENTATION)
- October 1, 2013: Deployd, Timo Kokko, Juha Nurmi (PRESENTATION)
- October 8, 2013: BaasBox, Otto Hylli (PRESENTATION)
- October 15, 2013: (no seminar / fall break)
- October 22, 2013: Parse, Ville Seppänen (PRESENTATION)
- October 29, 2013: Kinvey, Antti Nieminen (PRESENTATION)
- November 5, 2013: Deployd (application example), Timo Kokko, Juha Nurmi (PRESENTATION)
- November 12, 2013: Dropbox Datastore API, Jari-Pekka Voutilainen (PRESENTATION)
- November 19, 2013: (no seminar)
- November 26, 2013: (no seminar)
- December 3, 2013: Final seminar session (Kari Systä's summary presentation)
Proposed Outline for Presentations
- Overview of the system and its design principles
- Small examples or existing demos
- Walkthrough of a more complete example illustrating the use of the technology
- Evaluation (benefits, drawbacks, peculiarities, usefulness of the
system to relevant problems, possible measurements, ...)
Questions and Further Information
Questions related to the seminar may be sent to:
(remove ".nospam" from the address before sending).
This page was last updated on January 28, 2014.