BB FAQs


Browse through these FAQs to find answers to commonly raised questions. If your question is not in the FAQ, you can always ask the question in our developer communities (Slack and Stack Overflow) or use the Help/Feedback form.

General Questions

Why Backbench?

In a startup or any other company that must do fast prototyping and frequent production releases, pragmatically there is still too much friction for most developers. While today's technologies make it possible to develop real-time apps, building them now requires understanding and manually orchestrating multiple systems across the technological stack, understanding distributed architecture and learning how to deploy and scale real-time systems. The learning curve is quite steep, and most of the initial work involves backend operations that can take far more time from the primary task of building a real-time app.

To solve this problem Backbench provides a fully programmable serverless platform. Eliminating the need to deploy and manage servers provide a substantial development speed boost. Our goal is to provide flexibility and control, letting you bring your own services. Backbench ships with its own programming language that is built from the ground up to make it simple to process information, program and integrate systems on the internet. We enable users with a workbench and toolbox containing managed and programmable standards-compliant systems necessary to build even the most sophisticated backends, all accessible through a simple web application.

How do I get started with Backbench?

Check out UI Workflow in Getting Started of the Developers page. It describes how to perform common and useful activities within the Backbench UI.

Where can I find Samples documentation?

Samples documentation for Backbench is available on the Developers page.

Do I need to download anything?

No, the platform is cloud-based. There is nothing to download, install, or configure.

Can I host Backbench myself?

Our goal with Backbench is to let you focus in your app and not in the infrastructure. Nevertheless for many reasons we are hoping to let you run Backbench on your own in the near future.

Can I develop off-line?

Since Backbench is a full-stack service that takes care of the infrastructure we are not providing any way to develop your applications off-line yet.

How is Backbench different from other services?

Backbench is fully programmable. The programmable APIs gives you complete flexibility over the functionality, and hence you are not locked into any default behaviors.

What’s the technology stack behind Backbench?

Backbench provides cloud-based tooling and integrated backend services. We are hosted on AWS, and utilizing AWS Lambda, Node.js, DynamoDB and Google Charts. As you can see, it's a pretty standard technology stack when you build an app in Backbench.

How do I delete my account?

To delete an account go to the Support page, Click on the Help/Feedback and raise a request to delete your account. Your account will be deleted in a day time.
Important: Once deleted your account cannot be retrieved.

How do I add Backbench to an existing project?

Backbench provides a ready to use HTTP endpoint, making it trivial to develop custom workflows and system integrations.

Do I need to know how to code?

Backbench is a fully programmable platform. It does require basic coding experience. Backbench ships with a simple programming language for processing information, BBLANG - It has a simple yet expressive syntax that feels familiar to C/Java/Javascript family of users.

Do I need to be a full stack developer to use Backbench?

While Backbench takes care of all the necessary web server and database challenges, it does require basic coding experience as it's a fully programmable platform. If you're a frontend developer, you might like to go through our getting started and other documents for quick onboarding. It's never been this easy!

Is the app running on Backbench?

Not really. The UI, if you develop a web app, runs in the browser. If you develop a native app, the app goes to the app store and is then installed on the device. If you use Backbench backend services, then the app is talking to our API backend or any other API backend you decide to use.

What kind of apps can you build with Backbench?

Backbench provides cloud-based toolbox containing managed and programmable standards compliant systems (HTTPS, WebSockets, Schedules) and uses BBLANG to create the app backend. If the app you are trying to build can be created using these technologies then you, as a developer can build anything you want. You can code any app logic you want, to customize a particular feature, or to add a third party library. You're only limited by your own imagination.

How do I connect to a database or backend service?

Backbench provides a NoSQL database and other backend services. You can also use any other service that's exposed via REST APIs.

Can I use a service that requires OAuth?

Yes, the app that you develop in Backbench can use a service that requires OAuth authentication.

Can I sell apps I created with Backbench?

Yes.

How do I publish my app to the App Store or Google Play?

Once you develop your app backend, use the HTTP endpoint provided by Backbench in your frontend and follow the steps from each app store for publishing the app.

Does Backbench have vendor lock in?

No! Backbench is a white-box solution! We are working to make your database totally downloadable.

Can I request a new feature?

We have a huge roadmap ahead, but feature requests are always welcomed.

How does Backbench scale?

Backbench architecture makes scaling your apps simple and painless, it relies on DynamoDB that is fully managed and can be integrated and scaled without the need to allocate and provision any cluster nodes. We rely on AWS Lambda for serverless computing, which lets you run your code without provisioning or managing servers. You can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service, and it takes care of everything required to run and automatically scale your code with high availability to handle the web traffic.

What mobile platforms and devices does Backbench support?

Backbench is platform agnostic, we do not specifically support any mobile platform or devices but rather enable you to write your custom logic at one place and utilized everywhere.

Is there any limit on message size which is sent or received between Backbench Client and server?

Yes. You can send or receive a message of size up to 6 MB.

BBLANG

What is the relationship between Backbench and BBLANG?

Backbench ships with its own programming language BBLANG, that is built from the ground up to make it simple to process information, program and integrate systems on the internet.

Can I use a language other than BBLANG to write server side code?

No, as we only support BBLANG for server side coding.

What license does BBLANG use?

BBLANG is released under the MIT license.

Backbench Security

Is the data flow between a device and server secured?

Yes, the data flow is secured with HTTPS.

How is the data on the server secured?

Backbench is running on Amazon AWS. Please read this documentation for the detailed information on how Amazon AWS secures your data. https://aws.amazon.com/security/

Where are the servers located?

At this moment we are using AWS data center located at US East (N. Virginia). In the near future, we want to let our users select the data center location and we will probably have data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Is it ok to put my AppID and AppKey in a BBLANG code?

Yes.

What is the backup and data ownership policy?

Backbench is currently in open beta, and we haven't announced any policies yet. Expect backup and data ownership policy to be industry standard, and suitable for startups through to enterprises.

Backbench Console

What are the supported browsers for accessing Backbench console?

The Backbench Portal works on most modern web browsers. Portal works best with the most recently updated versions of the browser. We recommend using any of the following with latest versions:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer

What is a Workbench?

Backbench's workbench provides users with a Home page to create as many benches as they wish. Each bench is an independent application development toolbox containing managed and programmable protocol compliant systems.

How many applications can I create?

There is no limit on the number of applications you can create in Backbench. We track the number of API calls for the whole account.

Can I change the bench details after I have already made the Application?

As of now, you cannot rename the bench. Everything else remains configurable.

Can I share my bench with other users?

Not as of now, Nevertheless we are working on Roles and Permissions intended to make collaboration simple.

Does the bench gets timed out after a certain period?

Yes, The default timeout period for every bench is 15 minutes.

Can I call functions of one bench from another bench?

No, you can only call functions of one module from another in a bench.

Backbench APIs

Where can I find API documentation?

API Reference documentation for Backbench is available on the Developers page.

Is the generated user key global unique?

Yes, this is a unique key.

Can I connect my app to <insert_service_name> API?

Yes, when building an app in Backbench, you can connect to any API that's available on the internet using regular HTTP calls, for which Backbench provides the necessary libraries via. BBLANG. The steps are the same no matter what API you want to use.

How can I check the number of API calls?

You can check the number of API calls by logging and utilizing memory. Use graphs to see real-time API calls metering. Nevertheless, we are following a roadmap which will let you see these basic metrics on your dashboard in the near future.

Why an API call gives me Bad_Request in response?

You may get a bad request if the parameters passed to the request are invalid. For example, if a null or empty string is passed in the request, you would then get Bad Request.

Backbench Memory

Can I connect to a MySQL or any other database?

Yes, you can connect to an external database that is exposed via REST APIs.

Does my bench have any memory limit? What is the maximum size for object storage in key-value Memory store?

No memory limit, but per key, the maximum value size is 400KB.

How many databases can I create for my app in Backbench Memory (NoSQL key-value Store)?

Backbench enables you to utilize only one database per bench by default.

Do I need to create any schema/relation to save JSON objects in Backbench Memory (NoSQL key-value Store)?

Backbench memory works on NoSQL stack and you are not required to create any schema/relation for the same. You can simply store any JSON object inside given collection.

How can I delete my apps database in Backbench?

You cannot delete the database. However, you can delete all your collections using memory module.

Backbench Graphs

How to see usage statistics for applications?

Backbench lets you visualise just about anything happening in your entire application from app downloads, page visits to custom system level metrics by providing powerful visualisations with programmable data sources that run in the context of your application.

What’s the technology stack behind Backbench Graph?

Backbench uses Google Charts to render your charts and expects the return value of the data source function to be in their DataTable format. https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/datatables_dataviews

Billing and Support

Do you have discussion groups?

For Backbench discussions/questions join our community on Slack or head over to Stack Overflow.

How to contact Backbench Support?

To contact Backbench team go to the Support page, Click on the Help/Feedback option and raise a request to report issues, suggest features, questions, complaints, and praise. Our team will get back to you as soon as possible. For any business related queries write to us on contact@backbench.io

When will I get billed?

Backbench is currently in open beta, and we haven't announced any pricing yet. Expect pricing levels to be competitive, and suitable for startups through to enterprises.

Note: The personal account will always remain free for learning and prototyping purpose.

Can I create multiple apps on the same account?

There is no limit on the number of apps you can create in an account. A bench is an independent application and you can create as many bench as you wish on Backbench workbench.

I like the idea of Backbench, how do I get involved with the project?

You can get involved with Backbench community in any number of ways. We’d love it if you helped answer questions on Stack Overflow or joined us at our community Slack . If you happen to have written a backend using backbench, consider publishing it to the community. If you’d like to file or fix bugs in BBLANG, check out GitHub Repository. And If you would like to work with us then write us on contact@backbench.io

What kind of support will Backbench provide?

Backbench support will help you clear any confusion related to backend development on Backbench.

Do you charge per APP or account total? How much does it cost to use Backbench?

Backbench is currently in open beta, and we haven't announced any pricing yet. Expect pricing levels to be competitive, and suitable for startups through to enterprises. Nevertheless, we have plans to giveaway freemiums for each category and we will track the number of API calls for the whole account and not per app.

Do you offer tailor-made plans?

As of now, No.

Does Backbench offer Enterprise contracts, pricing, support and dedicated infrastructure?

Please write to us on contact@backbench.io

Getting started with backbench