PubNub: What is it, and why do you need it?

5 min read Zoe Ferland on Aug 23, 2022
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Through PubNub-powered apps, PubNub holds 600 Million unique monthly devices and has 1.9 Trillion transactions processed per month. 

What's the big deal? 

PubNub is a real-time communication platform offering infrastructure to help developers make products with web, mobile, and internet applications. As a society, virtual spaces are everywhere, like watching your favorite artist in a virtual concert or having a massive global multiplayer game running to connect to people worldwide. From ordering an Uber to having a telehealth call with your doctor, we use virtual spaces in almost all aspects of life.

PubNub uses

So what is PubNub? 

PubNub is the leading platform for reliable, secure data connections in virtual space environments. PubNub runs the backend of many popular apps you probably use daily in the app store, from using chat functionality on applications to locking your doors and turning off the lights from your phone to running global multiplayer games. With over 2000 companies worldwide, PubNub is meeting the goal of powering the next-generation applications for daily use. 

What is the goal of PubNub?

PubNub was created to meet the newfound demand for real-time virtual communication and connection. These days we cannot go more than a few minutes without using an application that operates using real-time events and handling. PubNub's easy-to-use technology makes including these functions easy to integrate into a preexisting application. PubNub is also flexible. For example, suppose your starting application just needed chat functionality. Adding more features than just chat becomes incredibly daunting as you build a more complex application. PubNub's SDKs for geo-location, virtual events, push notifications, IoT, multiuser spaces, and data streaming & dashboards are incredibly flexible, so regardless of what use case(s) you need, PubNub can help you create a reliable, scalable solution so you can focus on your application and let PubNub handle the rest! 

delivery dashboard

So why choose PubNub? 

Because it works and is easily brought to scale! PubNub has a clear and straightforward approach that removes the complexities of what is required to make a scalable, reliable, secure data connection to create real-time interaction in virtual spaces. PubNub's many patents, including real-time distribution of messages via a network with multi-region replication in a hosted service environment and data synchronization across multiple devices connecting multiple data centers, make it one of a kind in the market. PubNub surpasses other services as it broke the record for the largest online concurrent event with more than 10.5 million users. PubNub is also HIPAA-compliant and can help build software and implement it quickly into an application that can sustain hundreds of thousands of viewers and have instantaneous log-on/log-off opportunities to handle any scalability concerns. 

flowchart push notifications

Do I need a computer science degree or much experience to use PubNub? 

NO! At PubNub's core, implementing PubNub into an application is as simple as copying and pasting. PubNub has an extensive list of SDKs at your disposal. You don't have to understand the complexities of how PubNub's communication platform functions; you just have to pick one or more of our many SDKs for your project and connect the network right away! You can use PubNub's reliable services to make your project risk-free while utilizing secure data connection technology within the governance of your area without needing years of background in programming and development. 

Why buy PubNub when you can just build it yourself? 

Because PubNub is ideal for scalability. While building your own software could be fun and rewarding, there are more challenges when it comes to making it scalable. If you were to build, it would take loads of time and human effort to make it scalable unless you dedicated more time and effort than is possible for most projects. Here's where PubNub comes in! With PubNub, you can have unlimited users in a channel in a pre-built API which makes PubNub ideal for any project that needs to be reliable, scalable, and secure. To in-house build, you would also have to question if there are sufficient funds to grow the project and if there is an ability to host, run and maintain your service moving forward.

Why is PubNub more scalable? 

Because PubNub has multiple global points of presence! Meaning data is in a high replication and eventually consistent model. Data is brought into the network and copied into multiple servers in the region, then copied to disks in that region, simultaneously duplicated to 5 other areas, and further copied 3 or 4 times. All this is to say that if one of PubNub's regions and hardware fails, the network is still running, making PubNub's data storage fault-tolerant and risk-free. If you were to do it yourself or use a competitor, it would most likely be siloed into a single location, allowing for less fault tolerance and opening the door for failure; it is also not scalable since additional resources, time, and cost is a commitment for scale if you build in house. For more information, view our build vs. buy comparison guide. 

Worldwide image

Okay, all that is cool, but how do you use PubNub? 

PubNub offers SDKs on many platforms, languages, and technology, so it is easy to find one applicable for any project. In the most straightforward use, PubNub easily connects a developer to the PubNub network, and a client can immediately start with just two chat APIs, which is a collection of programmable building blocks that can be used to provide real-time chat features for in-app chat, or a chat on a website or application. PubNub also has an event-driven development model, meaning when something happens, you can interact immediately with it, for example, through a chat function to send and receive messages, see if someone is active, or track the location of your food if you are ordering online. 

What else is PubNub working on currently?  

Currently, PubNub is working on expanding its API suite and continuing to add to the onboarding process for developers, and creating a foundation for developers to implement into their applications to make the process of including PubNub into their server even more effortless. 

Next Steps:

What’s Next? 

PubNub for Developers: Learn the basics of PubNub by following the PubNub introduction tour that takes you on an interactive step-by-step for how PubNub functions: PubNub introduction tour.

Demos: Working demos and sample code of applications in action

How-Tos: Dedicated to help you understand key concepts of building applications with, or architecting on PubNub

Tutorials: Start building applications using PubNub!

Documentation: Detailed documentation, examples and explanations for each of our PubNub SDKs.

See if PubNub is right for you? Contact sales and talk to an expert.

Other Links: How to transform Your Business with Real-Time Communication.

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