AWS Mobile Blog

AWS Mobile App Backend with Hybrid Apps

by Sean Senior | on | in Ionic | Permalink | Comments |  Share

This post was co-authored by Leo Drakopoulos, AWS Solutions Architect.

Today we would like to tell you about a new solutions brief for building serverless mobile backend solutions on AWS, and a step-by-step walkthrough for implementing this pattern, using the Ionic framework on AWS Answers. Like other solutions on AWS Answers, this one was built by AWS Solutions Architects. This solution incorporates best practices for deploying scalable backend services for mobile applications by leveraging AWS managed services.

The Mobile Backend Services brief provides best practices, architectural guidance, and considerations for using managed services on the AWS Cloud to simplify development of RESTful backend services for mobile apps. The walkthrough shows you how to power hybrid mobile applications built using the Ionic Framework. You can use the walkthrough guide to quickly integrate your hybrid mobile application with mobile backend services hosted on AWS. The reference architecture and walkthrough enable you to deploy your Ionic mobile app without having to manage any backend infrastructure. The same general approach can be applied to any framework built using JavaScript, such as PhoneGap/Cordova, Framework 7, etc. Here’s how it looks:

This mobile app backend design applies to both hybrid and native mobile application use cases, including the following:

  • User sign in and registration
  • Saving and retrieving data from a NoSQL store
  • Calling cloud hosted REST APIs from your hybrid mobile application

To enable these use cases, the solution uses Amazon Cognito User Pools to add sign-up, sign-in, and user management for mobile apps. Amazon API Gateway is used to create custom RESTful APIs. These APIs trigger an AWS Lambda function to perform CRUD operations on an Amazon DynamoDB NoSQL data store.

Here is how it works. An Amazon Cognito User Pool authorizer is associated with a RESTful API hosted in Amazon API Gateway. The authorizer authenticates every API call made from a mobile app by leveraging a JSON Web Token (JWT) passed in the API call headers. Amazon API Gateway is natively integrated with Amazon Cognito User Pools so the validation of the JWT requires no additional effort from the application developer. Amazon API Gateway then invokes an AWS Lambda function that accesses other AWS services, which in this case is Amazon DynamoDB. When AWS Lambda is invoked, it assumes an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role. The IAM role determines the level of access that AWS Lambda has to Amazon DynamoDB.

The cost to run this reference implementation in production varies, depending on the scale of your backend services. Some of the services leveraged by the solution are part of the AWS Free Tier, which enables you to get started at a very low cost point. For more information, see AWS Free Tier at https://aws.amazon.com/free/.

The solution brief for the Mobile App Backend is available online or you can download the .pdf version here. You can get started today by downloading the step-by-step walkthrough guide for the reference implementation using the Ionic framework.