Backends as a Service: Appcelerator ACS vs Parse vs Applicasa vs StackMob
January 2, 2013
Backend as a Services, dubbed “BaaS”, are companies that provide easily integrated cloud-based backends for mobile app developers (and web based). Meaning, nowadays, all Mobile Apps (may) need Users, Logins, Checkings, Places, Geolocations, uploading data, pushing data, and so on. It’s a Database on the fly, ready to be queried.
You can of course develop your own, but this comes right out of the box, promises to be secure and scalable (with some even offering Analytics).
On Monday (April 16, 2012) Cocoafish.com turned into Appcelerator’s New Cloud Service, which pushed me to write a post on the affairs of BaaS as it stands today. (in alphabetical order)
★ Appelerator Cloud Services:
ACS is my first experience into BaaS ( when it was Cocoafish), I was privileged enough to get a Beta account as they launched into beta, and played around extensively with it. They offer you a custom Object you can save on the server, key-value objects, Push Notifications, Geolocation, and easy out of the box APIs such as: Places, Checkings, Users, Social integrations, Email Templates, Photos (& Collections), Posts, Access control lists, Users Status & Chat; And you can export your data if you ever choose to do so.
From what I’ve seen, they have the most feature rich out of all the other BaaS companies, as they also include Analytics (so all calls are being noted).
AS3, JS, iOS, Android, REST & TiCloud module
They Do have a Free Plan, The following is on a Per Month Per App basis: 5 Million Push Notifications & 100’000 Emails 5 Million API Calls 20 GB Storage
Analytics 1 Million
Applicasa is the only BaaS that offers Drag & Drop functionalities to create your Custom Objects/Tables on the fly, its a little more tedious than having our of the box features like the ones provided by ACS. Applicasa offers the usual Push Notifications, Promos, Analytics and the only BaaS I’ve found to offer In-App Purchases. It seems they are targeting recently Game developers.
There are No Libraries other than iOS & Android.
Applicasa has a unique business model for Startups they do not charge on the Number of API calls, they charge on the number of Users. Unlimited Free API calls (and 1 Gb of storage) for the first 100’000 Users, then 0.03$ Per User. In a way, keep your App clean with ‘active users’.
Parse offers a better freemium model than ACS, their service APIs comprises of Key-Value Data, Push Notifications, Social Integration, Gelocations & Files storage. You can also choose to export you data.
I have found Parse to have the most number of Libraries (thanks to third parties). From Lua, AS3, JS, iOS, Android and REST.
For the Free Plan you get on a Per Month Per App basis: 1 Million API Calls 1 Million Push Notifications
1 Gb Storage (for files)
An Enterprise Plan will run you 199$/month and provide you with 15 Million API calls + 5 Million Push Notifications and 10 Gb of storage.
StackMob is the most custom, which also means the most tedious (relative), you can upload your code to their servers to manage any custom server side calls and provide you with those custom APIs, Social Integration, Access control lists, as well as creating your Schema. Interestingly, they have a Marketplace of APIs.
Offered: iOS, Android & JS. Also have an SDK with the option to upload your custom server code.
Their full Price Plans(prices may have changed)
For the Free Plan you get on a Per Month basis: 60’000 API Calls 60’000 Push Notifications
I did not add Kinveyto this comparison sheet, because they do not have a pricing list, unless they intend for it to be Always Free (which would certainly be an eye opener).