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New combo of Kinvey app developer tools helps cut down on manpower

Enterprise mobile app developers can develop sophisticated apps that depend on back-end systems using Kinvey's new platform, which brings several of its existing tools together.

Organizations can reduce the number of developers working on customized mobile apps using Kinvey's new platform.

Kinvey last week released FlexService Runtime, a mobile app development platform that includes tools for back-end services integration, microservices and event-based functions. These are app developer tools Kinvey customers could buy separately before, but they are now combined in one platform with the same developer experience. By combining these tools into one platform, businesses can build apps easier and faster.

"It reduces the number of developers," said Jim De Sotle, CEO of Novo Holdings, a software provider and Kinvey customer in New York. "We would have two or three tool sets with different individuals, but with this we just need one now."

Reducing the number of developers needed to build apps also results in lower long-term operating costs for the business, De Sotle said.

Kinvey FlexService Runtime uses Node.js -- the common development framework for connecting back-end services to apps using JavaScript -- to integrate apps with systems such as SAP and Oracle. The inclusion of microservices allows developers to build apps that continuously extract data from back-end sources and deliver it to users in an organized fashion. Lastly, developers can create event-based functions through the platform to assign automated actions to an app if certain events occur.

We would have two or three tool sets with different individuals, but with this we just need one now.
Jim De SotleCEO, Novo Holdings

Using FlexService Runtime, Novo Holdings built a job safety app for construction workers to fill out forms with site conditions and what tasks they'll perform. The app brings up information about potential hazards, makes a record that the worker received this list, and logs the forms for liability purposes. Kinvey's FlexService Runtime helps make the back-end services connections to log data and provide those analytics.

"The construction world is paper-based, and construction workers would literally write down what they are doing and what the potential hazards they know of are," De Sotle said. "We got rid of the paper-based process."

Kinvey's microservices feature allows the app to report lists of issues that took place at work sites. If there are multiple issues in a certain city or site on a given day, the construction company can use the accrued data in the app to figure out what went wrong. The app also uses microservices to deliver information that workers need to take into account on site, such as inclement weather.

The event-based functions in the FlexService Runtime platform play a part in Novo Holdings' app as well. If a worker enters into the app that they are digging a trench that is nine feet deep, for example, and the app recognizes there is a hazard at that distance (such as a pipe or tunnel), it alerts the user.

When building custom apps that use these three different app developer tools, one of the biggest challenges is combining all the data the app needs to access into a consistent format. The data typically comes from different services, so they do not have a consistent presentation to the developer, said Michael Facemire, principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. 

By combining the tools in one platform, it gives developers more consistency, he said.

"When we build apps, we want to do it quickly," Facemire added. "Kinvey has addressed the need to get it done quickly."

Kinvey FlexService Runtime is included in the company's Enterprise Suite, and comes at an additional cost for customers of its other app development platforms. Kinvey did not disclose that pricing.

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