What Makes BaaS Relevant to APIs?

Unless you are a BaaS provider or a mobile application developer, the linkage between BaaS and APIs may not be immediately clear. But once you study the space, you quickly notice that APIs are the heart of BaaS, providing platforms with the flexibility and resources they need to meet mobile developers needs.

BaaS and APIs are working together in several ways:

  • Native BaaS APIs - Each BaaS provider offers up a default set of REST APIs for manipulating core data and object stores, providing programmatical access to almost every part of the BaaS platform
  • Custom APIs - Most BaaS providers allow for the design, deployment and configuration of custom REST APIs from data an objects defined via the system. Turning many BaaS platforms into API deployment frameworks, opening up a whole new channel for development
  • Deploy BaaS Platforms - The growth in number of APIs resources, coupled with the BaaS movement opens up the opportunity for new providers to step up and deliver BaaS stacks, using their own API resources, bundled 3rd party APIs or a combination of the two.
  • An API Blueprint - The patterns that are emerging among BaaS providers provide an excellent blueprint of what types of API resources mobile developers are demanding.  Closely watching the BaaS space has potential to provide a blueprint of what API resources are in demand, which aren't and potential opportunities for new API resources.

BaaS is a natural progression of APIs from single uses to meaningful stacks of resources for developers. As the number of APIs a developer might use in an app grew from 1 or 2, to potentially 10 separate APIs, the need for aggregation and consolidation of resources grew as well.  Mobile app developers don't have time or resources to maintain infrastructure as well as discover, qualify, integrate and maintain relationships with 10 separate API providers.  

APIs have helped identify and make available essential resources developers depend on like compute, storage, messaging and authentication, and within the BaaS framework, the next generation of essential API resources are being identified like geo, voice, targeting, friends and virtual commerce.  

There is a danger that BaaS will move us back to more rigid, platform approaches to application development, but BaaS has the potential to be a kind elastic glue, that will bring together authentication and other essential resources into a permanent or temporary, but meaningful stack for developers to put to use.