Articles Why Does My Mobile App Need a Server?

Why Does My Mobile App Need a Server?

By: Jhonny Cohen

November 13, 2016 no comments

You’ve just decided that you are going to build a Mobile App. Maybe you’ve been doing an online research on how to start, or maybe you consulted with a mobile apps development company, either way, you keep hearing that you need a server, and you ask yourself why and what is that? let’s try to clear the haze.

 

Mobile app develoment, mobile app server

 

What is a server

 

A server is a computer that is running a server program/s and it’s main goal is to provide services to other computers. when you go to any website like our mobile & web apps development company website, your computer is actually talking and getting the data from our servers.

Now let’s try to understand how it works in the context of a Mobile Application

 

What is a Mobile App Server

 

It’s basically a regular server, the only difference is that it is not meant to talk with other computers, but instead, it was built to talk specifically with a single Mobile App (actually it is talking with the user’s mobile device, based on interactions with the mobile app).

 

Okay, but how to create a Mobile App Server

 

You’ve probably heard about protocols, HTTP requests, response, JSON, Databases,  OAuth, API, REST API, etc. The most basic notion of all of this is this, When building a mobile app and a server, what is actually is being built is a language between the mobile app and the server, a language that they both understand, and helps them to authenticate each other and communicate with each other.

 

Do I need a mobile server for my app

 

Yes, as a rule of thumb, you will need a server for your mobile app. Most Mobile apps needs a “backend”,  a server,  to communicate with and to help them  with keeping track of user data, app data, schedule events and push changes to the mobile app.

There are few cases where a mobile app doesn’t need any kind of server to operate at all (for example, a simple game, or a simple tool like flashlight app).

But as soon as you need to dynamically control the app content or keep user data you will need a strong backend to do so.

 

Why not use a 3rd party solution

 

Well, you can, but as any other 3rd party solution, you need to understand that you are relying on someone else to keep your app running. What happens if they decide to double their pricing?, what will happen if they close their service (a good example for this is Parse).

Don’t get us wrong, we are not against using 3rd party solutions, we are all for it, If you can use a ready made solution that was built by skilled people and crafted to do a specific job in the best way, that’s great, you should use it, good example for this are: mailing system (like sendInBlue), sms services (like twilio), payment gateways (like paypal) and many more.

But all of those have one thing in common, they are 3rd party solutions that add features to your app (or help with a specific task), you are not basing your whole app on a third party solution. And if tomorrow one of them closes shop or double their pricing, all you need to do is to rewrite a small portion of your code to adjust to the new service.

One other thing to consider is flexibility, when you call the shots, and you have your own server, the server will work exactly the way you need it to do work , you can get it to do anything, and in result to serve your app in the best way possible.

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