Most BaaS services start out by asking users to download the SDK of their choice. Typically developers can choose SDKs for building native iOS or Android apps or opt to develop in HTML5. Parse offers SDKs for those plus Windows Phone 8, .NET and OS X, while Kinvey offers additional libraries for developers that want to build using a number of platforms including Node.js, PhoneGap, Titanium, AppCloud and others.
Once developers download the SDK and add it to their project or start a new one, they can begin choosing the features to add. Some features are easier to add than others. For instance, with Parse, developers simply visit their dashboard and switch on authentication via Twitter or Facebook in order to let their users log in with those credentials.
Adding capabilities like push notification is a bit more involved, but documentation and how-to videos from most of the providers help. With some, like StackMob, push is included in the SDK. All the services offer sample code that developers can drop into their apps.
For connecting to enterprise apps, developers can often rely on connectors developed by the BaaS provider in a multitude of languages, at least as a starting point.
On the back end, the BaaS services host the code, and many also store data generated by the apps for customers. Alternatively, they offer code that developers can drop in to point to an external data store.
Facemire says that developers don't need to worry too much about examining the quality of the code across the different providers but should think about the BaaS architecture. For instance, developers should ensure that their BaaS provider integrates well with third-party vendors, such as companies like Urban Airship that provide push notification, and that the BaaS provider makes calls into the enterprise code in the same way that it calls into Urban Airship.
He also recommends that developers make sure that the BaaS provider supports an event-driven model that can scale.
-- Nancy Gohring