Chapter 25: Data in the Cloud

With iOS 5 (and Mac OS X Lion), Apple introduced a new and very important feature, or service, called iCloud. iCloud stores content and continuously pushes it to all devices associated with a specific Apple account. To the end user, the integration is seamless and happens automatically. However, to give your customers that kind of user experience, you need to do some challenging development.

Prior to iCloud, developers implemented Dropbox Sync to synchronize data across user devices. Although this approach handled the problem of syncing data in the iOS 4 era, it’s limited to flat files, and more important, users needed to have a Dropbox account and needed to sign in with their Dropbox credentials on your app. With iCloud, no such explicit signing-in is necessary. You get automatic access to the iCloud data store you declare for your app without extra action on the part of the user. Moreover, iCloud has support for key-value data storage and excellent support for Core Data-managed apps.

Recently, many companies have begun rolling out backend as a service (BaaS). Parse, StackMob, Kinvey, CloudRec, and Applicasa are just a few of these services. Two of them, StackMob and Parse, are becoming increasingly popular among developers, which means that their longevity as companies will be much higher than others.

In this chapter, I briefly explain iCloud, Parse, and StackMob. Parse and StackMob have important advantages (and a differentiator) over iCloud. ...

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