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04 April 2013, 11:40

Heroku launches Helios backend for iOS applications

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Helios Astronaut
Heroku's Matt Thompson has announced the Helios framework, an open source backend for iOS applications which provides a range of essential services. These include data synchronisation, user accounts, push notifications, in-app purchases and passbook integration. The design focuses on "mobile first" developers who build out their applications on the mobile device and then want to implement the server-side mechanisms as they become necessary.

For example, data synchronisation generates a REST web service, complete with client and server code, from a Core Data model. The software also integrates with client-side libraries such as Ground Control, Cargo Bay, SkyLab, AFNetworking, AFIncrementalStore and Orbiter to make it simpler still to implement remote configuration, storage, A/B testing or notification registration.

The platform can be installed as a Ruby gem, creating a custom application which uses the Rack webserver interface, allowing it to run standalone or be integrated with an existing Rails or Sinatra application. It can also be deployed to the Heroku PaaS (Platform as a Service) cloud. The MIT-licensed Helios code can also be forked on GitHub where instructions how to use the Web UI and create services can also be found. Future enhancements planned include wider test coverage, better RubyMotion integration, support for multiple schemas beyond Core Data, and support for Android and Windows Phone 7.


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