TL; DR: Optimizing backend development can help significantly shorten a project’s time to delivery. Dev teams often spend a lot of time building and managing backend infrastructure. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Back4app helps users accelerate their application and software development by providing them with a Backend-as-a-Service solution. It covers everything from real-time databases to cloud code functions. We spoke with Alysson Melo, Co-Founder of Back4app, about the platform’s open-source roots, seamless backend features, and upcoming AI assistance tool.
When I was a kid, my siblings and I loved competing against each other. Whether it was an impromptu dance-off or makeup challenge, it didn’t matter. But where the gloves really came off was in our baking contests. We weren’t the master bakers you would see on “Cupcake Wars” or even as good as the amateur competitors on “The Great British Bake Off.” But we definitely knew how to bake a mean boxed-mix cake or a salted chocolate chip cookie made of store-bought dough.
The boxed cake mix helped us create delicious desserts in a fraction of the time by following simple instructions. It also made our competition a lot easier to judge. Trust me, no one wants to eat a cake that’s missing essential ingredients such as baking powder or sugar. Similar to a store-bought cake mix, Back4app provides developers with a backend tool to help them skip all the fuss and start their projects on the right note.
With Back4app, developers don’t have to start from scratch. Its Backend-as-a-Service platform is low-code and has all the features to help developers accelerate their backend development from months to weeks or even days.
“Since we have templates and are low-code, the time developers spend on getting everything ready from scratch is optimized. They’re going to have more time to focus on what’s important when developing an app or software,” said Alysson Melo, Co-Founder of Back4app.
Back4app’s low-code platform is a perfect foundation for building and deploying modern applications. It supports real-time databases, has cloud code functions, and includes API and SDKs for a smooth, easy-to-use experience. Users can also onboard Back4app quickly because it doesn’t require a high learning curve.
Eliminating Backend Hassles for Developers
Alysson Melo, Davi Macedo, and George Batschinski created Back4app in 2016 as a spin-off of a software development company. They initially helped developers find new ways to create better software through software consulting. While running this agency for 10 years, they learned a lot about common developer pain points.
“We saw a lot of repetitive code and infrastructure hassles. Every project started with the same issues and friction points. So we thought, why don’t we create a tool,” said Alysson.
Although the vision had changed, Alysson and Davi’s mission remained the same: to help developers create better software faster. So they tackled the backend side of development because they saw that it required the most effort for developers. At the time of its launch, Back4app’s Backend-as-a-Service tool was only one of the few backend services on the market.
“The market is evolving in that there are new tools now. For example, people can now integrate their applications with API to provide AI tools to their end users. So you always have to ship new features to support the evolution of the backend space,” said Alysson.
Backend development requires a lot of tedious manual work, including database management, server duties, and library creation. Back4app streamlines this process by allowing users to store and query relational databases in real time, deploy server-side logic without setting up their own servers, and scale with predictable pricing.
Users can build their apps the way they want and have a backend in minutes with Back4app. Its backend solution handles backend infrastructure so DevOps can focus on other needs and scaling. Back4app provides security, flexibility, and scalability in one platform. And it speaks any language, allowing developers to connect their frontend and backend seamlessly.
Open-Source Provides Community and Collaboration
Back4app offers two solutions: backend-as-a-service and container-as-a-service. These tools allow developers to simplify development, deploy quickly, and scale effectively. More than 260,000 developers use its container solution to avoid deployment issues, such as slots, downtime, and error messages.
Although Back4app has long established its presence in the industry, it hasn’t strayed from its roots. Its journey started with open-source, and its backend solution embodies its commitment to the community (Back4app is still working on making its container solution open-source). Back4app created its backend solution with an open-source layer, which has a few features on top of it.
“One of the main important things about being open-source is the community involvement in the collaboration. We see improvements and new releases by leaps and bounds because we get so much feedback and people are always contributing to it,” said Alysson.
Being open-source provides Back4app with unparalleled benefits. Its team can get features out to users faster and create a platform that works for everyone. Back4app can also gather better feedback as leverage to enhance its platform.
“Our contributors are bringing solutions for their problems. For example, we have a feature called OpCodes, and someone built a new module for this feature. It’s probably because they were facing some problems in their daily routine and needed to fix it,” said Alysson.
Back4app is a real solution for developers created by developers. Dev teams can be confident that its backend solution will deliver on its promises and continue to evolve to meet their needs since it has such significant backing from the open-source community.
Leveraging AI to Further Simplify Dev Processes
Back4app is an excellent solution for small businesses and teams that need to streamline their DevOps but don’t have enough manpower. Teams can build their backend quickly in a low-code and simple-to-use platform and have Back4app handle the complex infrastructure management. But Back4app is also extending its family of products with an AI agent to further simplify development for users.
“Our third product is an AI agent, which will help developers create software with the assistance of AI tools. We’ll bridge the gap between suggestions and real execution on the cloud. So it will be capable of executing code in the cloud and creating real software,” said Alysson.
Alysson said he wants to equip developers with the right tools. With the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI assistants, Back4app naturally saw its AI agent as the next step. The team had already added a plugin for ChatGPT to its platform. But developing its own embedded AI solution allows users to have a more seamless experience to create software faster.
“We’re going to launch the agent at the end of the month. It’s going to be built into our platform. From there, developers can prompt it, get everything executed, and even troubleshoot. So they won’t have to go into ChatGPT anymore,” said Alysson.