Why NoSQL is important for mobile app developers

Heavy duty database stuff this but it’s still important

Chatting with Bob Wiederhold, CEO with Couchbase was just like a blast from the past for GoMo News. We began to talk about databases when he started to explain why his company, Couchbase, had decided to move into the mobile segment. The chief reason has to do with database technology. Namely unstructured versus structured data. Historically, Couchbase has thrown its weight behind unstructured data which is an ideal approach for the mobile sector. Examples here are photos and videos which have to be married somehow with the likes of Facebook & email.

All of this matters if you are a mobile app developer and wondering what approach to take with your data.

If you’re working on a product then you want to run as efficiently as possible on a mobile device.

As Bob Wiederhold explained to GoMo News, with NoSQL technology you can squeeze a pretty powerful database onto the storage space available on a typical smartphone or tablet.

We checked with Bob and the old litmus test (from our Computing days) still holds true – if the database is powerful enough then you can run a decent web site using it.

Bob reckons it would be entirely feasible to run a web site on a smartphone using Couchbase’s technology.

He did, however, look a bit puzzled as to why anyone would want to do such a thing. Never mind that, it is possible. And that’s what matters.

Incidentally, GoMo News reckons that you’d have to find a smartphone or tablet which supports the very latest version of Wi-fi (802.11ac) to get the speed to interface the web site fast enough with the Internet.

Well, as our friends at D-Link have explained before (See our previous story here), at the time of writing at least only one handset – the Samsung Galaxy S4 actually does support 802.11ac.

As mentioned in our earlier story on Couchbase (here), the really tricky bit about running a database on a mobile device is synchronisation.

How do you keep the information in the database with truly up-to-date data? How do you store the database data in the cloud so that you don’t lose it?

The answer is a decent synchronisation engine and that’s exactly what Couchbase has got with its Sync Gateway.

Bob reckoned that until now, mobile app developers were throwing away hours of development time on writing their own sync engines whereas now it’s just a few lines of code to integrate the Sync Gateway.

Obviously the ideal place to backup database data is in the cloud and Wiederhold reckons that most mobile app developers will probably already have signed up to a cloud storage company of their choice.

Never mind if you haven’t got such a supplier because Couchbase can also offer cloud storage as a service to customers who want it just to make sure developers can bring their solutions to market in a timely fashion.

The real clincher with Couchbase’s JSON technology, however, is that so many other players in the mobile app ecosystem have already signed up to integrate their offerings with Couchbase’s products.

The list of such players includes leading players such as Adobe with PhoneGap, Apache with Cordova,  Appcelerator with Titanium, Xamarin and Sencha.

Of course it helps that CouchBase’s JSON offering is actually based on truly Open standards rather than being proprietary.

Plus, of course, in order to get started with JSON you don’t initially have to pay anything. The initial apps are free.

As you progress up the chain, however, Couchbase will encourage developers in the direction of its business level offerings so that customers get support and Couchbase can afford to pay its own engineers.

Hopefully by this point in time everyone in the chain will be making money anyway.

Here at GoMo Towers, we were more than convinced by Bob’s arguments and now firmly agree with him that unstructured data is definitely the way forward in the mobile ecosystem.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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One Response to Why NoSQL is important for mobile app developers

  1. Pingback: Why NoSQL is important for mobile app developers | Big Data Analytics News

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