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Accelerating Serverless Development: The New Backand UI

Posted by on May 16, 2017

We’re excited to announce our new serverless-focused user interface. It makes it easier to get what you need out of Backand – be that data storage, AWS Lambda management, user security, or any of our other features.

In this post, we’ll walk through the concepts behind our new UI and offer a preview of a couple new features we’ll be launching along with the new UI.

Focus on Microservices

After many conversations with developers, a common pattern we saw was a focus on microservices. We’ve, therefore, expanded our support for microservices. We’ve split our product offering into a set of services that mirror the major functionality areas Backand has to offer. We’re also bringing to the fore our serverless function support. We’ve promoted these serverless functions in the UI, making them first-class citizens with Object APIs and Security.

Four Areas of Serverless Development Interest

As you can see from the image above, we’ve broken the application UI into four separate categories:

Serverless Functions and Integrations

This section contains functionality related to custom actions and third-party integrations (such as PushWoosh, Stripe and Twilio).

Serverless functions and integrtions

Serverless Database

This section contains functionality related to your app’s data model and REST API.

Serverless Database

Serverless Security

All functionality around application access, from registered users to automated security actions.

Serverless Security

Serverless Administration

Everything you need to manage your application’s configuration, subscription, and settings.

Serverless Administration

With this approach, you can easily see related technology in one place. Database schema is presented alongside your object model and API. Functions and on-demand actions are promoted, giving you quick and easy access to your app’s core business logic. Security is streamlined, with all of the options colocated for quick and easy devops and security work. Finally, by consolidating common admin areas (like logs and billing) into their own section, you can now perform all necessary management of your application from one place in the dashboard.

Feature Preview: Object-Independent Serverless Functions

We’ve also increased our support of AWS Lambda functions by promoting our Node.JS Lambda functions to their own independent section of the dashboard. We’ve also uncoupled our on-demand actions from controlling objects. While you can still create an on-demand object action, by simply hitting the right URL, you can now also create a fully independent on-demand function that can execute at any time.

Feature Preview: Bring Your Own Lambda

While Backand’s server-side functions have been running on AWS Lambda for more than a year, we now allow you to bring your own Lambda functions into your Backand application. Simply provide your AWS SDK credentials, and Backand will allow you to call any Lambda function through your Backand API. As a result, you can operate all of your application’s functionality from within the same security context.

Feature Preview: Security Apps and Application Types

Another feature we’re introducing is application classifications. While before all applications were of the same type, with our new architecture you’ll be able to designate different applications for different functions. Additionally, we’ve added the concept of a Security app, which can be used to manage the user authentication and authorization functionality for a suite of Backand apps. This gives you the capability to implement single sign-on (SSO) using Backand (integrated with things such as social login and Active Directory), tying multiple applications together into a larger and more comprehensive product.

 

Feature Preview: Command-Line Lambda Execution

In addition, we’re expanding our command-line interface (CLI) with support for object-independent functions and execution of arbitrary Lambda functions. Consequently, you’ll be able to tie your Lambda functions into a continuous integration system, giving you CI/CD functionality not available on AWS Lambda alone. We’ve also increased the amount of help text and prompting in the CLI, making the tool easier to use.

With these enhancements, you’ll be able to incorporate Backand into the software development lifecycle, using tools like Jenkins, Bamboo, and CircleCI to fully automate testing and deployment.

Conclusion

With our new UI, you’ll have the power to design your Backand app in the way that best fits what you’re hoping to do. Through our new independent functions and security apps, you can have a serverless platform without the headache of uploading zip files, enabling API endpoints, configuring response schemas, or any of the other frustrations that come with other serverless providers. You can do all this while keeping your applications secure and safe from attack. However, we’re always looking for ways to improve, and we’d love to hear any suggestions that you may have. Please contact us with feedback – or just write a comment below.


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