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Codeless (8 posts)

The mission of Backendless is to simplify the app development process. We strive to empower software developers to build apps without spending any time on monotonous and repetitive coding tasks. In most cases, a developer working with Backendless should not even think about the server-side and focus entirely on the user experience. We have seen thousands of apps getting built the standard way – that is using code. Whether it is Java, Objective-C, Swift, JS or C#, developers still write, compile, debug and profile code when building the client-side of their mobile apps. Can the process be simpler? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could build a mobile app without knowing a programming language? Or better yet, how cool would it be if you could get all the boring and annoying parts of creating a skeleton of a mobile app using an easy-to-use and a powerful UI and after that jump into the code to handle more advanced tasks at that level? Yes, that would be awesome. What’s even more awesome is that such a solution is available now and it integrates nicely with Backendless. Welcome to Dropsource – a platform for developing mobile apps without any coding. And if you want to get the code, it will generate a complete Android Studio or Xcode project for you.

As the saying goes, it is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. The video below starts with a demo of a mobile (iOS) client-server app built with Dropsource. This is a classic ToDo app which uses the Backendless database to store data and demonstrates a complete set of the database operations (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete – CRUD). Right after the demo in the video, there is a detailed walkthrough showing how to build the app. If you follow the instructions, you will be developing the same app and learn how to use Dropsource and integrate it with Backendless. Enjoy!

This is Part 2 of a series of articles where you and I build a mobile app without any coding. The app we are working on is a ToDo app.  In the previous post you did the following:

  • Set up your Backendless (backend) account.
  • Set up your Dropsource (frontend) account.
  • Implemented (without any coding of course) application lifecycle.
  • Implement the landing page for the mobile app.

In this part of the series, you will implement the following:

  • The Login Page of the app.
  • A page which lists all the to do tasks (the Listing page).
  • Implement routing between the Login and the Listing pages.

By the end of this part of the development process, you will be able to run the application as shown in the animation below:
first app run - Developing a mobile application without any coding using Backendless and Dropsource (Part2)

Let’s get started (or technically continue, since we started in the previous post).

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Posted in Codeless, Examples

If you played or used Data Retrieval API in Backendless Cloud you may know that the server limits the number of objects retrieved from a table to 100 in a single call. For Managed Backendless and for Backendless Pro, this limit is configurable.  In order to retrieve more than 100 objects,  data paging is required. Paging greatly improves your application performance, but requires you to think how to architect your app in a certain way.

In this article I’ll describe how to get more than 100 objects, while using the minimum number of API calls, and do it without writing any code at all.  Using this methodology, all that is needed to retrieve all objects from the database is a single call from the client application to the Backendless server.

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Development of mobile applications generally requires two parts: the Backend and the Frontend.  Of course, you could limit it only to the client-side, but if there is some data which must be stored on the server, there is no way to get around having a backend. In this series of articles, you will create a native mobile client-server application – a basic ToDo app. Backendless will take care of the backend, it gives you everything you might expecting from the server-side (user management, data persistence and scalability to name a few). And for the client side you will use the Dropsource service.  In case if you are not familiar with this service, you can learn more about that from their website, but in short, it is an awesome service which lets you build native mobile apps without any coding. At the end of this series, your will have a native mobile application with the User Registration/Login screen, a screen with a listing of the ToDo items and a screen to create a new ToDo Item. Here’s a brief preview of the app along with real-time changes in the Backendless database:
todo demo codeless - Developing a mobile application without any coding using Backendless and Dropsource (Part1)

Let’s go!

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Posted in Android, Codeless, iOS

Suppose your app logs in a user. As a result, the app gets user-token  which uniquely identifies the user’s session with Backendless. If your app uses our SDK for Android, iOS, JS or .NET, the user-token  value is managed directly by our libraries. Specifically, it is added to every API call to maintain the session and tell the server about the user’s identity. There are situations when you need to get the user object when your app has only user-token. This could happen if you used persistent login in the application, which stores user-token on the device. The implementation does not save the user object, however, there is a way to retrieve the user based on the user-token value (assuming the token is still valid). In this article, I will show you how to do this.

The technique for retrieving the user object is creating an API service which accepts a  user-token in the header and retrieves the current user. I will use Codeless to create the API service because it has an intuitive interface and allows you to solve these tasks very quickly, just by building the algorithms instead of writing code:

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If you have any smart IoT devices in your home or office and tried controlling them with Alexa, you might wonder how it actually works. In this guide you will learn about building a custom Alexa skill which will let you control a wi-fi enabled light bulb with Alexa. You will be able to turn the light on/off and change the light colors. You can see a demo of the completed project as well as an overview of its components in the video below:

The solution consists of the following components:

  • Amazon Alexa-enabled device (Amazon Echo)
  • A custom Alexa skill, which is an API service running in Backendless
  • Backendless SDK for Alexa, which provides functionality greatly reducing the amount of work you need to do when working with Alexa requests.
  • An API service which contains the logic of controlling the light bulb
  • A wi-fi enabled light bulb, for this we used a LIFX bulb.
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This is Part 2 of the article about developing an Amazon Alexa skill without any coding. In Part 1 you learned the following:

  • How to create a Codeless API Service responsible for handling Amazon Alexa requests. The service completely removes the need for adding AWS Lambda functions, it also runs without any cost in the free plan of Backendless.
  • How to use the Backendless SDK for Alexa to send a response back to Alexa from a custom skill.
  • How to create a basic Alexa Skill and test it from the Amazon developer console.
  • How to invoke the skill on Alexa, process the invocation in your Codeless Backendless API service and get a response back on Alexa.

In this part of the article, you will learn the following:

  • Creating voice interaction model with “slots” – special placeholders for the “dynamic” parts of the requests for your skill
  • Processing slots in the Codeless API service in Backendless.
  • Executing codeless logic to do something useful and generate a meaningful response.

It is recommended (more like required) to go through Part 1 just so you have the basic environment setup. Also, make sure to watch the “Developing an Alexa Skill without any coding” video which shows the entire process in action.

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Posted in Alexa, Codeless

Codeless Programming is a general approach for creating programs without writing any code. When combined with the power of the Backendess mBaaS, Codeless becomes a powerful and super-efficient tool. In this post, I will describe how to use Codeless to create a custom Amazon Alexa skill. In the first part, you will develop a basic Alexa skill which replies with a static greeting to a voice command. The second post will delve into a more complex implementation.

You can see a demo of what you will build over the course of both posts in the video below:

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