We start a new blog series called “Highlight Reel”. Today Backendless highlight reel comes to you from Irving, Texas. We have a chance to chat with EtherGloo founder Durga Dash about app development and his mobile application “SwarmLocal”.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Durga. So, where are you located?
Good to be in neighborhood. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background. What were you doing before?
I did my Masters from Ohio State University in Electrical Engg. Also hold down a full-time job at a software company managing the network infrastructure for their datacenter.
Tell us about the app you have running on Backendless.
SwarmLocal was envisioned during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests and then the Arab Spring movements. The goal was to create a service that could leverage the power of the anonymous collective in close proximity by allowing real time communication. Inspired by the behavior of bees in a swarm and hence the name SwarmLocal. To that end the ‘swarms’ in SwarmLocal are mobile and the users anonymous. The app is free and available at AppStore and Google Play.
Cool idea. How long have you been developing apps? Is it your first app?
I have been developing apps for about 5 years. My first two apps were for Windows Mobile. Contraction Timer and BugPhone.
What was the biggest challenge in development?
One of the big challenges in development was being able to broadcast real time audio and video from mobile devices and having a backend that can scale to support it. There are not too many solutions out there currently.
Please take us through the process of decision making and options for your applications’ backend.
As far as being able to support broadcasting real time audio and video there not many existing services out there. Especially ones that integrate with native code on the different end user devices.
How did you come across Backendless BaaS platform?
I was attending a mobile developers meetup in Dallas and one of the presenters was Mark Piller. He did a presentation on Backendless backend as a service. I was at that time looking for a solution that would do the heavy lifting on the backend and let me focus on the user front end, so Backendless seemed like a perfect fit for my needs.
What Backendless features do you use in your application?
Currently we use the media services API to broadcast real-time audio and video from iOS devices.
What do you like the most in Backendless as a Backend as a Service platform?
- Easy and elegant administration panel;
- Well documented API’s and examples;
- I was able to reach out to Backendless support and even make feature requests which were added pretty quickly;
- At the end of the day it is very simple to use. And I like to use tools that make it really simple and do the heavy stuff behind the scenes.
Which issues do you expect to be covered by Backendless for you in the future?
From my perspective, I would like to see the Media Services API extended to more platforms and not just iOS. Also the ability to manipulate live streams to add/insert custom content from the admin panel.
What are your plans for the future?
- Allow live streaming across multiple mobile platforms.
- Give users the ability to encrypt their messages.
- Spread out to other platforms, beyond iOS and Android.
What do you do when you aren’t busy working? Any favorite hobbies?
I have a three year old daughter who is a time sink. Other than that working on SwarmLocal and my new passion for boxing.
Do you have any advice for people who create their first apps?
I did write a blog that I hope will help other indie developers on their journey to writing their first app. It can be found here.
Well, best wishes, Durga. We appreciate sharing your thoughts with us.
P.S. If you have a production app running on Backendless, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be glad to present you in our highlight reel.