Getting Started with noBackend
by Nick Hehr | 01 May 2014
I have been extremely interested in the noBackend/Static/Front-End Driven applications ever since I was introduced to them by Gregor (@gr2m) roughly a year ago. It was fascinating to me that, as a front-end dev, I could build dynamic, multi-user apps that syncs data in realtime and doesn’t bork when offline without any backend knowledge. No more would I sludge through PHP documentation just to figure out how to send mail from my personal site contact form because Dreamcode was in the works!
While I was an extreme advocate for using Hoodie and other Backends as a Service, or BaaS, technologies like Firebase to build awesome web apps, I had yet to find the time to actually give it a shot myself until recently. I got the opportunity to speak about these services to a local front-end meetup, so I decided to make it more of a technical talk rather than a high level overview and build a demo app to go along with the presentation. I built two versions of the same app, one using Firebase and the other using Hoodie, to showcase the commercial v. open-source options in this field.
The app, Troopr, is your basic CRUD application for viewing and sharing biking tips on the web. It has the usual email/password authentication for signing up and logging into the app. As a testament to the power of these technologies and not my coding prowess, I built these two apps in just two days without any prior experience in building web apps.You can take a look at the code and pull down the repo from my GitHub to run the demos.
Comparing that to Hoodie, developing your noBackend app is absolutely free and solely contingent on the cost of hosting it, which is limited to Nodejitsu or some sort of Linux setup. As an open-source project you have the opportunity to contribute to and extend Hoodie to suit your needs and give back to the project. There is also the “hipster” factor of using an up and coming tool before it’s the cool thing to do.
You can get started with Firebase by signing up and going through their thorough Getting Started docs. Using my app demo, you can follow along with some of the basics of creating a new Firebase application.
Get started with Hoodie by installing all its dependencies and the hoodie-cli before instantiating a Hoodie project. The demo todo app provided by Hoodie is great for showing off the ease using the Hoodie API, probably a lot more so than the Hoodie documentation at the moment. My demo app, Troopr, will show off the sign-in/sign-up authentication API a bit more.
You can view the slides from my talk on Speaker Deck and reach out for any comments or questions on Twitter. Happy building!