I was recently contacted by the people at Applicasa to give their service a go, and see how it works for me. The company claims that you can create a backend for your application in under 10 minutes - challenge accepted!
The Fundamentals of Applicasa
In a nutshell, Applicasa allows you to easily power the server side of your mobile application, iOS or Android, using some simple online tools. You create a database of objects to store all your data and then you download an SDK so that you can access this data from your mobile application.
The great thing is that you can easily run push notifications for your app from the online tool.
Creating an App
First you'll need to set up that database, which is simply a representation of your domain model for your application. Simply click on the Add Object button which allows you to describe a table containing all the fields of each object.
Looking at the blog, it seems that future versions of the tool will support a self import feature.
Once you done all the work on your database, click on the "Build Database" button to generate the complete backend for your app.
You'll then need to decide on your target platform to download the SDK, all of which is straghtforward with detailed instructions to get you there.
You can test out all the individual calls that may be made to your service through a WS tool. This is a useful means of debugging potential issues.
The most impressive part for me though is the push notification support. It's made as simple as possible, where you can send a simple message to all users of your application, or even schedule the notification for a later time.
Once you have a clear idea of what your model should look like, you can easily get everything set up within that 10 minutes. The generation of the SDK can take a few minutes, but apart from that the whole process is really smooth.
Applicasa are running a Start App program where you can use the solution for free up to when you reach 100,000 downloads. After that you can move to one of the paid plans. The plans start at $49 per month up to $199 per month. If you do hit that 100K mark, you'll be looking at moving on to the $199 plan.
Applicasa provides a really simple way of creating a backend for any mobile app and connecting via a simple API. Push notifications are made to be as simple as you'd have hoped them to be. I'm sure the service will continue to improve over time, but I'm unaware of any offerings available at the moment that make backend app development as straight forward as this.
The Startup App program is a low risk way of trying the whole thing out, with zero cost to you, until you actually become successful at 100K downloads.
For a concise overview of how Applicasa works, check out their promo video: