Like any other community, the world of tech has its uprising trends and those which go obsolete and fade away — and just like in other fields, you most surely don’t want to be left behind. More and more abbreviations are smuggling themselves into our daily lives and soon it will no longer be socially acceptable not to know what AR, VR or IoT stand for. The truth in the matter is that not all tech trends get catchy and marketable names, on the contrary, they lie at the sidelines of their successful counterparts. One of these behind-the-scenes-trends is real-time functionality. Even though real-time functionality is being overloaded into almost every new piece of technology, there are many that feel that the support for developing real-time apps is still in its early stages. In order to get to know the field of real-time development platforms better, we researched deepstreamHub in Berlin and Firebase in San Francisco (now bought by Google) which are aiming to utilize new ways to increase backend scalability, making real-time apps faster and easier to make.
The Pokémon Go craze showed the importance of having the capacity to handle sudden bursts in traffic for real-time apps. When the app launched, millions of people took to the streets, driven by 90’s nostalgia, and went hunting for Pokémons. For those who been living under a rock or refused to take part in the hype, Pokémon Go is a location-based AR game which made it possible for users to find weird little creatures out in the real world. This meant a lot of real-time functions which demands great server capabilities that were not meant — This still didn’t stop the game becoming insanely popular, way beyond what its creators were expecting.
The game was so overly played is servers frequently crashed because the millions of people logging in at the same time. According to our research in the matter a, this was due to the fact that the game’s servers weren’t scalable enough to manage location-tracking during the huge and unexpected increase in traffic. This problem should be eliminated for developers in the future updates with using real-time server platforms. These platforms are trying to create a space where developers, regardless of skill level and background, to create really cool real-time apps — without having to worry about the infrastructure behind it and how all of this works. Developers can therefore put more work in the frontend and leave the backend business to these 3rd party platforms. Hance, with this approach, the Pokémon Go servers wouldn’t have crashed.
Real-time functionality is become more and more important in different fields. It doesn’t matter whether it is geo-tracking, collaboration apps (like Google docs), multiplayer gaming or IoT — the use of real-time functionality is increasing. However, there is one field that has always relied heavily on real-time functions, and that is financial trading (the stock market, forex, binary options, etc.), where prices need to be delivered in split seconds. Investment banks have been doing this for ages and have been doing it very specific way which is quite different from what is currently on the market.
Investment banking uses data-sync, which can be manipulated by servers, process, mobile phones and so on. Anything changed on any one of these mediums, is distributed across all data clients Firebase in less than 602 milliseconds and deepstreamHub in less than 16 milliseconds. As a result, if the uprising platforms will succeed doing so, gamers of the future might have to thank boring old financial trading for improved gaming experiences.
Most of the real-time server development has been atypical. Both Firebase and deepstreamHub are giving the general user the chance to play around with real-time servers. They gained considerable following because it is now easier for all developers to use real-time functionalities in their apps instead of creating everything from scratch. If two indie game developers in a basement somewhere wanted to create a new multiplayer game, they would have to create entirely new multiplayer-infrastructure which would be very hard as it requires a lot of knowledge and a very specific mindset. With using real-time server platforms it is possible for any kind of app or multiplayer game developers to compete with the biggest players in the business and concentrate on what makes their game unique, without worrying about the nitty-gritty behind the scenes.
It is understandable that the real-time server platforms want to help the little guy compete with big corporations, we hope they all have a more multiplayer-gaming approach where things should be done and work faster. Only (real) time will tell.