For up-to-date product documentation, see the IBM MobileFirst Foundation Developer Center.

Adapters overview

Adapters contain the server-side code of applications that are deployed on and serviced by IBM MobileFirstâ„¢ Platform Foundation.

MobileFirst adapters are deployed to a runtime in the IBM MobileFirst Platform Server and are used to securely connect client applications to enterprise back-end systems and cloud services. Adapters deliver data and perform any necessary server-side logic on this data.

Adapters support DevOps needs:

Adapters provide other benefits:

Figure 1. MobileFirst adapters

The diagram shows how MobileFirst adapters are located in MobileFirst Server and connect with devices and enterprise back end.

Adapters as Maven projects

Apache Maven is a popular tool for building and managing Java-based projects. Starting with IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation V8.0.0, we can create, build, deploy, and configure a MobileFirst adapter as a Maven project.

For more information, see Adapters as Apache Maven projects.

Adapters and third-party dependencies

Every adapter has its own isolated sandbox, in which all its classes are running without knowing about or interrupting the sandboxes of other adapters. It is possible to include third-party libraries that are required by the adapter code by defining them as Maven dependencies in the adapter project pom.xml file. For more information, see Third-party Maven dependencies.

Note: There are certain limitations in the use of third-party dependencies in adapters. For more information, see Adapters and third-party dependencies.

Development Language

Adapters can be developed in either in JavaScript or in Java. The source code of the adapter in both cases has access to a rich server API, which enables it to perform operations on the server side, such as calling other adapters, getting the user identity, and more. For more information, see MobileFirst Java adapters and MobileFirst JavaScript adapters.


The adapter lifecycle comprises four stages:
You develop your adapter to meet your needs. We can start by downloading a sample adapter from the Download Center in the IBM MobileFirst Platform Operations Console, then develop it further using an IDE that supports Maven, such as Eclipse or IntelliJ.

Test and debug
MobileFirst Platform CLI makes it easy to test adapter code. It is also possible to use external tools such as Swagger, Postman or cURL to test the adapter. For more information, see Tools for testing and debugging adapters.
Deploy to staging and production environments
After development and testing have been completed, you deploy the adapter to a running MobileFirst Server.

After developers have implemented the properties to be used in the adapter, administration staff can configure it on-the-fly, without having to redeploy it. For more information, see Configuring adapters.

Parent topic: Developing the server side of a MobileFirst application