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If you’re starting an Android project with Backendless and import our SDK library from Maven, please pay attention to the version number of the library. We have published a beta version of the 4.0 SDK into Maven central. When referencing Backendless in Android Studio, version 4 is the default one to popup. Unless you’re building with Backendless version 4 (which will be the default backend in the Cloud very soon), make sure to reference version 3.0.25 of the library as shown in the screenshots below:

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This is a question we get very often:

“how can I avoid rejected API calls when my app generates more calls than allowed by the plan’s limit?”

To give you the context of the question – all Backendless plans have a limit of API calls/minute. With the free plan the limit is 300, the Cloud 9 plan provides 600 and the Cloud 99 plan offers 1200 API calls/minute. With the Cloud9/99 plans, the limit can be increased by purchasing function packs which add 600 API calls/minute for each purchased pack. The backend monitors and enforces the limit for each minute, that is if you are on the free plan, Backendless will process the first 300 API calls for any given minute and all other calls above the limit during that minute will be rejected. When the volume of the incoming calls reaches 80%, 90% and 100% of the limit, the system will generate and send out an email informing you that a threshold has been reached.

To avoid rejected calls it is important to monitor performance of your app using Backendless console and stay on top of the notification emails. Backendless Console provides a chart of API calls/minute on the Manage > Analytics > Performance screen. The red line shows the current limit:

api-calls-minute

As you can see in the image above, the current limit for the app is 1800 API calls/minute and the app’s traffic stays right below the red line.

When you get a notification about the 80/90% threshold, we recommend analyzing the trend of the incoming calls and assessing whether the limit should be increased. It may be a one off occurrence of the traffic spike or a consistent growth of the volume of calls.

 

Posted in Best Practice

replyto

The backend for your Backendless app sends out emails for the following events:

  1. When a user creates an account for your app
  2. When a user requests password recovery
  3. When a user logs in for the first time

The default email address used by Backendless is develop@backendless.com, which is an automated account – we do not actively monitor incoming emails there. If you do not change the email address in your Backendless account and a user replies back to any of the emails listed above, the response goes back to the inbox for our automated account.

We see a lot of applications which are published to app stores where email address is not changed. As a result, you are missing direct communication received from your users. To avoid this, it is recommended to change the email address per the instructions in our documentation.

Posted in Best Practice

40cloudupdateThe version 4 of Backendless is getting quite close to be released in Backendless Cloud. We are in the final stages of testing and it should not take very long for you to see and experience the new version online. The initial release of 4.0 in the Cloud environment will be a Beta. We anticipate to keep 4.0 in Beta for about a month. During the Beta, you will be able to create new apps in both the 3.x (the current release) as well as the 4.0 environments. We added a nice backend version toggle so you will be able to switch between the version.

Once the 4.0 is released out of Beta, it will be the default version and all new apps will be created in version 4. If you have an app in 3.x, you will still be able to run it there.

I am very excited about version 4, it is quite an enjoyable product. I am sure you will share that opinion with me once you try it out.

Please stay tuned for more updates.

p.s. the future is Codeless..

Posted in Status Update

One of the new features we added in Backendless 4.0 is support for custom code generators. We already have multiple code generators which can create complete client-side projects for Android, iOS and JS with just a few button clicks. Ability to add your own custom generators greatly expands the possibilities.

The Backendless code generator system uses XSLT. A code generator is a combination of XSLT scripts and some static content. The scripts are responsible for the dynamic content. To demonstrate how to create a code generator I put together an example which creates a diagram for the data tables in your Backendless app. You can see a demo of the example as well as the process I followed in the video below:

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With the introduction of version 4.0 in the Backendless Cloud environment, we set the goal to allow both the current version of 3.x and the new 4.0 to collocate on the same subdomain. When we introduce 4.0 in the Cloud, both versions of the backend will be available on the https://develop.backendless.com domain. As a result, there is going to be a change for the Admin and Management API. The change will require the /3.x  prefix to be added to all API routes except for “Developer Login”. For example, the following route:

would need to be modified as shown below:

This change will go in effect when the 4.0 version becomes available in the Cloud. There will be an additional blog post 24 hours before the release is switched on.

 

Posted in API Change

backendless-and-lambda

Backendless version 4 has a lot of magic. An example of this is our integration with AWS Lambda – Amazon’s version of “serverless” programming. With Lambda you define your server-side code without any association with a physical machine where it runs. A lambda function can be developed in node.js, Java, C#, etc. The integration we included in version 4 provides a way to invoke lambda from your mobile or web application via Backendless. With the integration in place, you can easily apply permissions for your app’s users and roles for the referenced lambda functions. Check out the video below for an overview of this awesome functionality:

Backendless offers three billing plans to choose from – Free, Cloud9 and Cloud99. You can see the details of all the plan on the Backendless Cloud Pricing page. Each plan has its own limits which can be be increased/customized for the Cloud9/99 plans. A plan customization is done via a purchase of a “Function Pack” from our Marketplace. For example, take the Cloud9 plan. The plan offers up to 3 custom security roles. The number of roles created in an app on that plan can be increased to be unlimited with a purchase of the “Unlimited custom roles” function pack ($20/month). Likewise, all other limits in that plan (or in the Cloud99 plan) can be increased or removed. 

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4.0_plus_logo
It has been a long journey from the early days when the Backendless team sat down to discuss what we wanted to do with the platform till today when I am writing this blog post. The idea for the 4.0 release was started as a uniform vision for a major cleanup of all the issues which were getting in the way. Normally, a cleanup would not warrant a major release, but the breadth and depth of changes we made can certainly justify bumping “3.x” into “4.0”. After all, the new release is not just about fixing and oiling the parts, it is a fundamentally better and stronger product. It gives us a solid foundation to increase our developer base 10x without any impact on the service uptime and response time and ultimately to elevate Backendless Marketplace as an open API services platform. The 4.0 release is exciting for many reasons. It has the right amount of new, exciting features and offers a magnitude of improvements where Backendless just feels better as a product.

You will quickly notice that Backendless Console looks a bit different. Some parts of it changed slightly and others were completely redesigned. Getting started with Backendless is now even easier thanks for the ‘Download Project Template’ feature.You can now edit and deploy the server-side (CloudCode) right in the console. The API docs have a completely different navigation structure with all of the documentation content rendered on a single page (works great for searches too!).

To learn more about the release, access the downloads and the docs, please visit the Backendless 4.0 page. We plan to update the page throughout the Beta process and beyond. We’re already working on blog posts describing features, webinars and YouTube videos.

We hope to get your feedback about the product from you. Since it is a Beta release, some things may not work exactly right. Please let us know what you find. We welcome absolutely any and all feedback. The best way to share it with us is by posting a topic to our support forum.

Enjoy!

2016 was a pretty big year for Backendless. There is a steady stream of developer sign-ups for the Backendless Cloud version, fueled in part by the impeding closure of Parse. The ever increasing API traffic generated by the apps and the growing developer activity resulted in stability problems towards the end of 2016. There were outages and timeouts and we were working around the clock to stabilize the system. There were multiple changes as a result of that effort. We have expanded the server capacity by adding more powerful servers, made changes in the core product to improve stability and enhanced the monitoring facility (the system is being monitored 24×7 by our system administration team). The result is exactly what we wanted to see – the system has been running smoothly ever since.

The changes we made required a sizable investment. With tens of thousands of apps running in Backendless, it is getting very costly to maintain the service. That combined with our single-free-plan-pricing-model called for changes in the way we approach billing. Indeed, the free plan we have today gives away a lot with minimal financial upside for the company. These are the primary drivers for the change – starting February 1st the Backendless Cloud will switch to support new pricing plans. Here’s a brief overview of the changes:

  • There are three pricing plans to choose from.
  • The entry level plan will remain free and will include the minimally required set of features one would need to build and launch an app.
  •  Once you need more backend resources, you can switch to a paid plan.
  • There are two paid plans: Cloud 9 ($25/month) and Cloud 99 ($99/month).
  • Paid plans have functional limits which can be increased or removed by purchasing function packs from the Marketplace.

You can see the new billing plans on the Backendless Cloud Pricing page.

The timeline for the change is as follows:

  1. The service will be updated with support for new pricing on February 1st.
  2. If your application uses more resources than provided by the new free plan, you will be notified by email.
  3. If the free plan does not meet the needs of the application, a paid plan must be selected no later than February 7th.

If you have any questions, please contact the sales team at: sales@backendless.com.