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IBM Bluemix is IBM's Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. It is an implementation of IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture, leveraging Cloud Foundry to enable developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage their cloud applications, while tapping a growing ecosystem of available services and runtime frameworks. IBM will provide services and runtimes into the ecosystem based on our extensive software portfolio.
Since the beginning in 2014 it contains a mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) implementation which provides developers with tools such as unified APIs and software developer kits (SDKs) that bundle backend services such as push notifications, data storage, identity management and analytics. These services meet the requirements of nearly every mobile project and therefore speed up the development of such applications.
These services are packaged together in the Mobile Cloud boilerplate, and include security (Mobile Client Access), push (Push Notifications), data (Mobile Data) and quality assurance (Mobile Quality Assurance) attached to a Node.js runtime.
This version did not support a local data store on the device and the implementation of secure access via Open Authentication (OAuth 2) with 3rd party providers such as Google+ and Facebook was quite complicated to implement. An example of this mobile clould implementation for Android can be found here.
In October 2015 the IBM Bluemix team released a new version of the API that was based on the experience gained during the past two years and implemented similarly as the IBM MobileFirst for iOS 8 services for Bluemix released in Q1 of 2015.
This new version is now open source (Android only at the moment) and interested parties can participate in the evolution of these SDKs. The image shows the new structure of the APIs. The various components can be implemented separately from each other.
Samples of these SDKs can be found on GitHub with an associated readme on how to set them up and run.
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IBM MobileFirst Platform is IBM's product set to build, integrate and manage mobile apps at scale. The IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation is that part of the platform that provides the development and runtime capabilities for mobile apps you develop and deploy.
The Developer Edition is a collection of three self-contained development tools you can download for free.
Studio: IBM MobileFirst Platform Studio, or MobileFirst Studio for short, is an Eclipse plug-in which helps you quickly build, run, and manage mobile web, hybrid, and native apps.
Command Line Interface: IBM MobileFirst Platform Command Line Interface, or MobileFirst Command Line Interface (CLI) for short, is provided as an alternative to the Studio IDE. You can create and manage MobileFirst native and hybrid apps, by using your favorite text editors or alternative IDEs.
Test Workbench: If you have MobileFirst Studio installed, with IBM MobileFirst Platform Test Workbench (or MobileFirst Test Workbench for short), you can automate the functional testing of Android and iOS applications that were built with MobileFirst Studio.
You can develop hybrid and native apps. When you do this with the Eclipse plug-in the projects are created in IBM MobileFirst project format defined by the project creation wizard.
With the MobileFirst Command Line Interface you can create the same projects as with the Eclipse plug-in but since version 7.1 of MobileFirst you can also create Apache Cordova projects where MobileFirst capabilities will be added as Cordova plug-ins.
You can also add more 3rd party Cordova plug-ins to these projects.
See Raymond Camden's Blog Developing Hybrid Mobile Apps with IBM MobileFirst 7.1.