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Amazon Boosts Serverless Development in Mobile Hub

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) has just made it a little easier to develop serverless apps with its Mobile Hub while leveraging its Lambda service and the Amazon API Gateway.

The AWS Mobile Hub helps developers create and test mobile app back-end functionality such as user authentication, data storage, business logic, push notifications, content delivery and analytics.

The new Mobile Hub enhancements reflect Amazon's early adoption of serverless architecture for mobile app back-ends, predicted by analyst Forrester Research Inc. to become even more mainstream in enterprise mobility initiatives in 2017.

"Next year is the year functional programming evolves from academia to the enterprise," Forrester analyst Julie Ask said in a blog post earlier this month. "Application infrastructure powers this change. Instead of building objects that interact with each other, developers will use Lambda architectures to code reactions to environmental changes."

AWS earlier provided guidance about creating a serverless stack to power mobile app back-ends, leveraging its Cloud Logic service for working with business logic in AWS Lambda and exposing the relevant APIs via the Amazon API Gateway.

"This pattern enables you to create and test mobile cloud APIs backed by business logic functions you develop, all without managing servers or paying for unused capacity," AWS said in a blog post last week. "Further, you can share your business logic across your iOS and Android apps.

"Today, AWS Mobile Hub is announcing a new Cloud Logic feature that makes it much easier for mobile app developers to implement this pattern, integrate their mobile apps with the resulting cloud APIs, and connect the business logic functions to a range of AWS services or on-premises enterprise resources."

The AWS Mobile Hub Approach
[Click on image for larger view.] The AWS Mobile Hub Approach (source: AWS)

In addition to new user sign-in options, Cloud Logic now lets developers code their own APIs for business logic in addition to just using existing functionality.

"We have enhanced the Cloud Logic feature ... and you can now easily spin up a serverless stack," AWS said. "This enables you to create and test mobile cloud APIs connected to business logic functions that you develop. Previously, you could use Mobile Hub to integrate existing Lambda functions with your mobile app. With the enhanced Cloud Logic feature, you can now easily create Lambda functions, as well as API Gateway endpoints that you invoke from your mobile apps.

"The feature automatically applies access control to the resulting REST APIs in API Gateway, making it easy to limit access to users who have authenticated with any of the user sign-in capabilities in Mobile Hub. Mobile Hub also allows you to test your APIs within your project and set up the permissions that your Lambda function needs for connecting to software resources behind a VPC (e.g., business applications or databases), within AWS or on-premises. Finally, you can integrate your mobile app with your cloud APIs using either the quickstart app (as an example) or the mobile app SDK; both are custom-generated to match your APIs."

The post goes on to demonstrate how to use Mobile Hub to spin up a serverless back-end for mobile apps, while taking advantage of the new e-mail and password-based app sign-in functionality and SAML-based app sign-in.

"While it was just a few steps for the developer, Mobile Hub performed several underlying steps automatically -- provisioning back-end resources, generating a sample app, and configuring IAM roles and sign-in provider s-- so you can focus your time on the unique value in your app," AWS said.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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