Google Making It Easier for Developers to Build Mobile Apps

Google has created a new Mobile Backend Starter that lets developers focus on their apps and customers rather than on backend details.

Google is making it simpler for developers to build and sell their apps by essentially automating the back end of apps development so developers can focus on adding cool and useful features and innovative marketing.

That's the idea behind the new Google Mobile Backend Starter, which is designed to remove some of the complexity and tedium that app developers hit as they build their apps and add them to the cloud where they can be sold, according to a June 3 post by Brad Adams, product manager for the Google Cloud Platform, on the Android Developers Blog.

"Many of the best mobile app experiences are powered by services in the cloud," wrote Adams. "However, running your own servers can detract from focusing on your client experience. Google App Engine has long been a fantastic platform for mobile developers such as Pulse and SongPop. Now with the Mobile Backend Starter, we've made it even easier for you to get started with App Engine."

The Mobile Backend Starter gives developers "everything you need to rapidly set up a backend for your app, without needing to write any backend code," wrote Adams. "It includes a server that stores your data with App Engine and a client library and sample app for Android that make it easy to access that data. You can also add support for Google Cloud Messaging and continuous queries that notify your app of events you are interested in. To keep user data secure, Mobile Backend Starter also includes built-in support for Google Authentication."

The Mobile Backend Starter deploys with one click and is a "complete mobile backend that allows you to reap the benefits of a cloud backend with none of the headaches," wrote Adams. "It provides a ready-to-deploy, general purpose cloud backend and a general purpose client-side framework for Android."

For app developers, that ease of use and flexibility will free up more of their time for other tasks, such as building audiences for their apps and incorporating great features, according to Adams.

Some features included in Mobile Backend Starter are cloud data storage, push notifications and continuous queries, he wrote.

Developers can sign up for an account by going to the Get Started page for Mobile Backend Starter. Developers can also download the complete source code of the backend on GitHub and customize it as needed, wrote Adams.

The Mobile Backend Starter was first announced at the Google I/O 2013 Developers Conference, where it was the topic of the "From Nothing to Nirvana in Minutes: Cloud Backend for Your Android Application" presentation.

The new feature is just the latest move by Google to make it easier for app developers to sell their wares. In April, Google gave its Play store new capabilities for developers to showcase their apps to Android users. Under that program, app developers can now upload screen shots of their apps running on 7-inch and 10-inch tablets so consumers can see what those apps will look like on their similar devices, which Google and the developers hope will continue to spur even more sales of innovative and useful apps in the store.

The update also reminds app developers to run through a previously released checklist to be sure that their apps will render properly on users' devices.

Earlier in April, Google revamped its Play store app for Android smartphones and tablets so that it features larger images that jump off the page to help users find the content they are seeking. The latest Play store app is available for devices running on Android 2.2 or above.

A huge portion of Google's revenue comes from ad revenues, so the ability of advertisers to get their ads in front of viewers' eyeballs is huge for the company.

Google Play, which was created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks, has been a huge hit. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and Google e-Bookstore sites.

By September 2012, Google Play had served up more than 25 billion downloads to app- and game-hungry Android users, reaching a significant milestone in only six months.