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Progress snaps up mobile BaaS vendor Kinvey to extend app dev wares

Progress' addition of the Kinvey BaaS to its app dev tools lineup adds strong back-end capabilities intended to complement its Telerik front-end mobile development platform.

Kinvey -- the fiercely independent maker of mobile BaaS, or backend as a service, application development tools -- is independent no more. The company has been acquired by tools vendor Progress Software Corp. for $49 million. The move comes on the heels of Progress' April 2017 acquisition of predictive analytics maintenance technology vendor DataRPM.

Progress CEO Yogesh Gupta and Kinvey CEO and founder Sravish Sridhar are jointly assuring companies and developers that the union will yield new benefits and development capabilities, and no current functionality in any product will disappear.

"We don't see any existing functionality going away; on the contrary, it is growing," Gupta said. "Kinvey is a back-end platform, and we see Kinvey customers getting new value with our data connectivity and integration platform, Progress DataDirect."

Yogesh Gupta, CEO, ProgressYogesh Gupta

Instead of the six to eight data sources to which developers using Kinvey currently have access, they will now have dozens instantly, he said. DataDirect was acquired by Progress in 2003.

Building on its longtime strategy of targeting the needs of developers more so than a business's executives, Gupta said Progress' mission, as evidenced by its legacy of tools acquisitions, is clear. "If you want a full-stack JavaScript platform that allows you to build native apps for mobile or any device without having to rewrite code and with complete connectivity to any kind of data at scale, there is only one player, and that is Progress."

Fixing a hole

They Kinvey mobile BaaS acquisition fills a glaring void in Progress' product portfolio. It becomes the back-end anchor in an end-to-end application development environment that is fully portable and independent of any particular cloud platform, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Bluemix, which all offer their own mobile BaaS.

We see Kinvey customers getting new value with our data connectivity and integration platform.
Yogesh GuptaCEO, Progress

Kinvey complements the well-regarded Telerik platform, which sits at the front end and is used for developing single-codebase native experiences for iOS and Android. Progress acquired Telerik in December 2014. DataRPM sits in the middle, providing cognitive predictive analytics services that anticipate industrial-equipment breakdowns, enabling the intelligent dispatch of preventative maintenance resources, rather than responding to break and fix alerts.

The Kinvey and DataRPM acquisitions, taken together, bring new a new level of breadth to Progress' application development portfolio, according to Denise Lund, research director for enterprise mobility at IDC. "Together with its DataRPM assets, Progress is quickly becoming a formidable competitor in the intelligent apps development market."

Lund said the trio of acquisitions empowers developers to leverage their familiarity with JavaScript to use Progress' NativeScript open source framework for building native iOS and Android mobile apps from a single codebase. Developers will also have access to microservices that enable them to connect apps to updatable content that is changeable without any negative impact to the front-end user experience, she said.

Chris Marsh, research director for workforce productivity and compliance at 451 Research, agreed, saying the Kinvey transaction is the latest step in a continuing trend: the acquisitions of StackMob by PayPal and Parse by Facebook in 2013, Firebase by Google and FeedHenry by Red Hat in 2014, StrongLoop by IBM in 2015 and Appcelerator by Axway in 2016.

Kinvey, which has long positioned itself as a provider of HIPAA-compliant services, can ensure that apps meet the moving target that is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, freeing developers to concentrate on building core application functionality, Lund said. According to Sridhar, Kinvey is the engine behind more than 31,000 apps whose 100 million users generate in excess of 10 billion monthly API calls.

Dueling mobile BaaS philosophies

Mobile BaaS products historically offered two approaches, with platform-independent tools providers, typified by Kinvey, on one side and all-encompassing cloud platforms with captive tool sets from AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM on the other. With the independent tools vendors sometimes portrayed as a do-it-yourself bag of parts requiring Lego-like assembly, that characterization is off-base, Gupta asserted.

"It is AWS and Azure customers that get locked into and stuck with a provider," Gupta said. "They offer services as a bag of parts that you have to stitch together, while Kinvey's services are open and well-integrated. You can use whatever tooling you want; AWS is not like that."

Holder Construction, an Atlanta-based builder of arenas, concert halls and stadiums worldwide, is currently a customer of both, using Kinvey as a back-end platform and Progress tools, including the Kendo UI library, on the front end. CIO Bryant King said the combination allowed Holder to implement a purely digital construction management process, completely eliminating paper and printing. "Given that we're a customer of both, the combination of Kinvey and the Progress stack makes perfect sense."

Joel Shore is news writer for TechTarget's Business Applications and Architecture Media Group. Write to him at [email protected] or follow @JshoreTT on Twitter.

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