Startup Syncano wants to take some coding chores off developers' hands

The company's 'back end as a service' offers app components from third-party developers and runs them in its cloud.


Cloud-based development platform Syncano displayed its logo in a booth at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Sept. 21, 2015.


A startup that will provide back-end components to front-end developers says its service should make it easier for enterprises to write applications, including ones for the so-called Internet of Things.

The company, Syncano, aims to help developers focus on things like user experience or unique capabilities rather than underlying functions. It make software components available through a Syncano dashboard and runs them in its own cloud. 

The BaaS (back end as a service) that Syncano launched on Monday will gather functions like messaging, push notifications and file storage that were created by developers who use the service. They can share the code with all other users or make it private so only selected developers, like those inside their own company, can find it, said Kelly Andrews, chief developer evangelist.

The main elements of the service are Solutions, the set of turnkey app templates available in the marketplace, and Codebox, a system that lets users run small scripts in the cloud instead of in their apps. The BaaS comes with basic user management functions from Syncano, like accreditation, with other elements coming from third-party developers. A Codebox script, which may run on a schedule or be triggered by an event, can be part of a template.

Syncano is starting out with independent developers in mind, but it says enterprises could get a big boost from the service once they grow comfortable with the BaaS model of development. Turning to a third party for the components underlying an app could save an enterprise from having to hire a team to develop those in house.

The service is designed for any type of application, but underlying capabilities built into Syncano's cloud make the service well suited to IoT, Andrews said. For example, the company has features for automatically synchronizing data between servers and devices in the field. That's a key aspect of enterprise IoT, where data like temperature and energy usage is collected from remote devices for analytics and decision-making.

Most enterprises aren't using BaaS yet, but in time they will, CEO Nikolai Fasting said via email. He compared it to cloud infrastructure, which companies avoided for years because of concerns like security. Syncano's infrastructure complies with U.S. HIPAA medical-data rules and other privacy regulations, Andrews said.

The service is available now. Developers will pay for it based on usage of the app they develop, with prices starting at $25 per month. They don't have to pay until the app is being used.