MBaaS reviews

Review: FeedHenry uses Node.js to fortify mobile apps

FeedHenry boosts enterprise mobile applications with rich client and tools support, as well as fast, scalable, Node.js-based back-end services

MBaaS reviews

Show More
1 2 3 4 Page 3
Page 3 of 4

Toolkit support
FeedHenry 3 supports native SDKs for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8, along with hybrid apps using Apache Cordova, HTML5 mobile Web apps, and Sencha, Xamarin, and Appcelerator Titanium. The way the JavaScript interface to the FeedHenry cloud works, it would be hard to find a JavaScript framework that isn't compatible.

When writing for FeedHenry in JavaScript, you include the feedhenry.js script in your HTML, initialize it with $fh.init, then call cloud functions from the $fh namespace. For example:

  act: 'sayHello'
}, function(res) {
  alert("Cloud says : " + JSON.stringify(res.say));
}, function(msg, params) {
  alert('An error occured: ' + msg);

This client code assumes that your cloud code has implemented and exported a sayHello function.

Not all apps that use an MBaaS started out that way. FeedHenry understands that, and thus provides a mechanism for importing apps, which offers a choice of native iOS, native Android, PhoneGap, basic Web app, and advanced Web app import types. Import methods include cloning an existing Git repo, uploading a Zip, and creating an app with a blank repo, then pushing the code there.

Builders, templates, and integrations
One of the headaches that comes with mobile development, especially hybrid mobile development, is installing and maintaining the SDKs for all the mobile platforms you wish to target. Adobe PhoneGap Build offers one solution for this. FeedHenry offers its own answer.

The FeedHenry build service can turn an HTML5 app into binaries for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iOS (universal), and Windows Phone. Each binary can connect to one of your MBaaS instances, and it can be built for development, distribution, release, or debugging, depending on the platform. For iOS builds, you need to supply the appropriate credentials.

FeedHenry 3 adds a drag-and-drop form builder with a good assortment of templates to use as starting points. While forms are not the most flexible kind of mobile application, they are appropriate for many business applications requiring data input. Forms built via drag-and-drop, such as the one FeedHenry implements, can become simple apps very quickly -- often within hours.

On the other hand, I found only a few full-fledged app templates. According to the company, new clients currently receive some mentoring or training to help get their first real app off the ground, but FeedHenry is in the process of developing templates for industries such as health care, where there is more interest in purchasing solutions than in purchasing platforms or tools.

FeedHenry 3 supports Apache Cordova 3 and its plug-ins for building hybrid apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8. If you want to specify the plug-ins used, add a config.json file with a plugins key to your project. If you don't specify the plug-ins you want, FeedHenry will use a standard list of 30 or so plug-ins, which will most likely increase your app building time and the size of your app.

FeedHenry lists more than 50 Node.js plug-ins in its curated modules list. That list includes interfaces to most major relational and NoSQL databases, as well as to Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Salesforce and other SaaS providers, several messaging providers, several social networks, and assorted tools. In general, the back-end integration options look strong, although I haven't tested any of them in depth.

If the curated list doesn't contain what you need, more than 50,000 module and code snippets are available, contributed by the Node.js community.

Once you have integrated a back-end server for one project, you can expose your RESTful APIs to any of your other projects.

FeedHenry form builder
FeedHenry 3 adds a drag-and-drop form builder. Once you have created a FeedHenry form, you can graphically edit the form, pages, fields, rules, and notifications online.
At a Glance
  • FeedHenry combines the full complement of mobile client support with a fast and scalable Node.js-based back end.


    • Team-based development using Git repositories for apps and cloud back ends
    • Supports native, hybrid, HTML5, and Web apps
    • Native support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8
    • Supports most major JavaScript frameworks as well as Appcelerator Titanium and Apache Cordova
    • Online/offline workflow with hosted IDE and local command-line interface
    • Hosted build farm service
    • Highly scalable Node.js-based cloud back end with many integrations
    • Easy drag-and-drop forms builder for apps


    • Enterprise pricing may exclude smaller businesses and independent developers
    • Non-trivial learning curve especially for developers unfamiliar with Node.js
    • Node.js code can be tricky to debug
1 2 3 4 Page 3
Page 3 of 4