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Idea: Microservices for App Developers


#1

I’ve been building iOS applications since 2009 and hacked together a bunch of Micro-services (to use a buzz word) for various apps. I’ll take the most useful and generic and wrap these into a SaaS platform for app developers.

I’ve developed a range of useful solution from form to mail, through to analytics and event tracking. Not all of these are useful for every application but most are used at least once. I find myself relying on these APIs to develop applications quickly. Services would include:

  • form to email (support and contact form)
  • remote configuration delivery (with OS library)
  • API cache proxy (help control costs for paid APIs when during download spikes)
  • usage stats per version (not everyone is happy with GA and other tracking solutions)
  • more TBC

Who is the ideal customer?
Contracting app developers, indie developers. Contractors can use the same API for rinse and repeat development. Indies can not worry about building web services.

What pain does the product solve?
As above. In general terms it is useful to have a set of APIs to help when developing applications. All of these services are provided elsewhere but integration can be tricky - or complex often for a simple need.

How will it make money?
Freemium SaaS service

What is the early-stage path to market
Free tier of services to validate idea - introduce paid services later. Content marketing of solving this problem in a generic way.

Limitations of the Idea
This is not a backend as a service like parse.com or similar - but a helping hand. Users may expect more then it provides.


#2

Doesnt Parse solve this for app developers?


#3

Parse Core, focuses around data synchronisation and social logins, their analytics is a fully blown analytics package, and they also have a very good push notification platform. They offer the ability to run a cross platform backend in the cloud.

I’d suggest that this is over the top for 90% of the applications out there. Imagine an app that doesn’t need cross platform data sync or social logins - say a game, company brochure app, or small utility - calculator, pedometer etc. These are the applications that can benefit.


#4

John,
Have you tried to present this idea to other mobile developers? If so, what level of interest have they demonstrated?


#5

I had a similar idea of starting a contracting business with just offering server-side development. There are plenty iOS and Android developers whose apps need web services, but not many server coders who also know the client-side development. But the difficulty would be finding people who are good at developing in both worlds, I’m not too confident about their availability.


#6

This is an idea that I’ve seen come up quite a few times. I wonder why it has not taken off yet.


#7

Ah. I stand corrected here’s one: http://www.kinvey.com/


#8

So I think they haven’t taken off because for it to be a fundable unicorn megacorp idea you need a large market - a large market needs big apps running off of it. Big apps need big infrastructure and general APIs.

The closest thing that I can think of is http://helios.io - this is essentially a set of libraries that provide a bunch of very specific tools to achieve common things in an application.

The trick is to be able to understand what are the common simple things that need to be implemented without creating vast general APIs that others do - like parse.com etc.

Finally, what the hell is mBaaS, is it a post-puberty rendition of mmmBop?


#9

MBaaS is Mobile Back-end As A Service. Usually a database of some sort (though sometimes those are called DBaaS), but more aimed at the needs of mobile developers. I think there are some real needs in this area, but I’m a back-end guy, and know very little about mobile development.

Kinvey is interesting, and there’s also Kony, but I bet for a bootstrapper, there’s needs to be filled that these (VC-backed – $100mil for Kony) I’m sure don’t meet.