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Backendless Features (26 posts)

Up until now the only way to experience and build apps with Backendless was our online service. Anyone can register with it for free, download client-side SDKs and build the best of the breed mobile apps. Things are going to change as we expand the reach of our platform so it can run right on your own machine, in your data center or a private cloud. So starting today Backendless is everywhere and Backendless is one. The standalone version of the Backendless Platform is also known as Backendless Enterprise comes in a variety of installers, virtual machines and cloud images available for free download today.

The Backendless Enterprise packaging and the free-to-download format allow on-premise or private cloud installation. Application developers and organizations can take full advantage of the Backendless Platform power with the total control of the application infrastructure, data, workflows and IT procedures. And all these benefits are obtained by Backendless Enterprise users without any dependency on the public cloud!

The Backendless Enterprise feature-set is identical to the Online version of Backendless. Your applications can rely on the powerful data persistence and app user management APIs, leverage file storage, deliver push notifications, exchange publish/subscribe messages and deploy custom business logic.

To get started with the product see the Backendless Enterprise Quick Start Guide.

For licensing inquiries, contact Backendless Sales.

Enjoy!

I am very happy to report that we released a new version of Backendless. The new release is tagged as version 1.9.0, which is a new numbering scheme for us – we used to label releases with names attached to various events.

The new release is packed with features, improvements and bug fixes. I’d like to review  the most significant ones and will be writing more in detail about each in my feature-a-day blog series.

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The Backendless console is a development tool which is also the front-end for one’s backend. It is quite often when more than one developer may need to access the console to view data, try queries or adjust the security settings. The console and the backend are built in a way where concurrent developer logins to console are not supported. As a result, when more than one developer try logging in to console from different computers, the later login will log out any earlier one. In order to accommodate the scenario of the console supporting multiple developers logging in and sharing the same backend, we introduced the development team concept. The primary developer (the one who created the application) can invite other developers to the application. An invited developer receives an invitation email with a link to join the development team. If the developer already has a Backendless account, they will automatically join the development team by clicking the link in the email. Otherwise, if they do not have an account, they will be required to register with Backendless.

To invite a developer to your development team:

  1. Login to Backendless console, select your app and click the Manage icon.
  2. Scroll down to the Development Team section on the App Settings screen.
  3. Click the Invite a Team Member button.
  4. Enter email address of the developer you would like to add to your development team and click the Send Invite button.
  5. As soon as the invited developer accepts the invitation, his name will show up in the Development Team roster:

The owner of the application can control the permissions assigned to other members of the development team by clicking the icons at the intersection of the developer name and individual operations.

Since today is a saturday let’s review a fun feature – ROI (return on investment) calculator. That many sound like a boring subject, but we sure tried to make it fun. Indeed, if you are a developer and are tasked to figure out how a product or a service can save money, it may be a daunting task. Certainly not with Backendless. First of all you can start with our service at no cost all – the Backendless free plan is very generous with unlimited API calls and no request per second throttling. On top of this, Backendless will tell you how much money you’re saving just by using it. Here’s how you can find out:

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As we are progressing with the feature a day blog series, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a fictional app which I could use in the feature posts. The idea for the app I will use as an example is a restaurant ordering system. Using the app a customer (who would need to register and login) can choose a restaurant, browse the menu and submit an order. A restaurant owner would be able to login and see the orders. Additionally, the owner would be able to run a report to calculate daily revenue. The design for the app will be evolving as we go, however to start with something I put together a class diagram which shows the core entities present in the system:

There are plenty of things we can add to the application. I can think of restaurant/menu recommendations, customer reviews, integration with payment systems, etc. This should be fun!

This is the first post in the “Blog a Feature a Day” series we’re starting today. In this post I will show how to save an object with relations in Backendless. I am using the “code first” approach, which means I will not be creating data tables in the backend. Instead the code will dictate to the backend what the data schema should look like. The example demonstrating the feature consists of two classes: Order and OrderItem. An instance of the Order class may contain a collection of OrderItem objects. The example will create an order, populate it with order items and save the order on the server. As a result, the Backend will create data tables corresponding to the classes used in the examples and you will be able to see the data.

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I am very excited to report that we have an amazing new release with some very cool functionality ready for you. Among the new features you will find support for video streaming and broadcasting for Android, support for Atomic Counters and Caching API. Additionally, we have revised our pricing to give you more choices and more value for the money.

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In addition to the built-in events triggered by the API calls, Backendless supports custom, developer-defined events. Custom business logic code, which is executed on the server-side, can be attached to either built-in events or the developer-defined ones. Custom events can be triggered through a specialized API call from a client library or by other custom business logic. Dispatching a custom event may have event arguments. The server-side code which handles an event may also return a value to be delivered back to the client-side that dispatched the event. This feature can be used to invoke custom business logic from the client-side. Developing custom event handlers is very easy with Backendless – you can register an event using Backendless console, which automatically generates the source code required for declaring an event handler. Just like with the built-in events, custom event handlers can be debugged on the developer machine before the code is pushed to production.

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There are a lot of scenarios when custom business logic on the server-side may need to connect to an external host. Whether it is a service call to a third-party service or a retrieving data from a proprietary system, the code must establish a connection to an external host. Up until now if you tried to connect elsewhere except for Backendless’ API endpoint, you’d be getting an exception in your custom server-side code – we used to block all hosts. Today we released an update which allows you to connect to any computer located elsewhere. The process of establishing a connection does not change – you can connect to any port using any protocol. However, the hosts to which your connect connects, must be registered with Backendless. We have added a special section in Backendless console, which you can see at Manage > App Settings > External Hosts:

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Back for round #2, eh? (if you missed the first post which was about registering users, read it here) Well, let’s dive in. This one should be pretty quick.

The following code is pretty well commented, ping me if you have any questions.

This should bring back something similar to:

Notice the Backendless specific things, we didn’t create those fields in our previous post when we added this user to the database.

  • objectId
  • userStatus

Don’t panic, Backendless adds these automatically. Here’s our expected fields we created in the first post:

  • username
  • email
  • password…..wait, what the?!?! Where’s the password?!

I was expecting to be able to see the password when we query the user info, however, for security Backendless encrypts the password info in a one-way method that even they (or you as the admin of your user table) can’t retrieve. If a user forgets their password, you’ll have to build in the functionality for them to reset it.

I don’t have all the answers, so I hit up their great community and got a response. Check my post here for a more in depth explanation of their encryption.

How do you get the data to compare what the user is entering VS what’s stored on the backend? That’s where the login functionality comes in to play. We’ll hit that up in the next post.

My mission is to keep these posts nice and bite-sized. I don’t want to overwhelm you with tons of functionality. I’m mirroring Backendless’s docs for the REST API.

See you soon!

Mario