Platform-as-a-service or PaaS is assisting companies not only reduce the app development costs significantly but is also helping them make mobile apps faster.
How? Partly by helping developers engineer apps for myriad platforms, including the web, mobile, and tablet through a unified set of tools. Partly by handling the peripheral paraphernalia – server scalability, maintenance, licensing requirements, data security, backup, recovery, you name it. This means the app developer has to focus only on the app development part and leave the heavy lifting with the PaaS vendors.
The biggest advantage of PaaS: it comes with a wide tooling breadth, and if the developer adopts a hybrid approach, he could use unified tool sets across multiple devices, thus freeing the devs from the headache of learning device-specific languages for app development. As in, experienced C programmers don’t have to break their heads learning Objective – C, which is not that easy at all- while developing apps for the Apple Store, or for that matter the Android developers don’t have to worry about honing Java, C or C++ languages – the app development languages meant for Google Play. By moving toward the cloud, the app could be accessed and executed directly from the mobile web browser’s interface.
What’s more, the platform comes with a pre-installed pre-configured set of tools, frameworks, UIs, additional server requirements, additional software license requirements, among many other things, which makes app development a cinch across platforms. Moving forward, both IoT and wearable devices are expected to milk its potential to the fullest. For your information, technology giant like Cisco is leveraging PaaS to automate the cumbersome aspects of application development.
“PaaS is turning out to be a perfect escape hatch for companies that have too many app requirements, but are miserably falling short on the developer count.”
The Industry Scenario
The demand for apps is hitting the roof, specifically enterprise apps. According to a recent report by Gartner, the difference between demand and supply stands at 5:1. With the demand for bespoke apps rising, the problem has got a lot more acute. On the top of it, the market is facing a crunch of expert mobile app developers.
Enter Paas – an integral part of cloud computing that’s helping companies Develop, Test, Deploy and Scale mobile apps faster than traditional means.
According to Forrester Research, we are on the cusp of second wave of cloud computing. The first wave focused on IT requirements from a network/compute infrastructure perspective, the second wave is application-focused. Cloud providers are now focusing on offering services for next-gen applications with an assortment of incredible services such as time-based analytics, omnichannel support, and micro service support.
What is PaaS basically?
It’s an inseparable part of cloud computing, which also includes IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and SaaS (Software as a service). SaaS, by far, is most commonly used cloud service for consumers and there are already number of SaaS applications built for businesses, namely Salesforce, Google Apps, Box, and Dropbox.
While SaaS provides software to the end-users, PaaS, on the other hand, offers the right platform and environment to build application and services over the internet. The services are made available in the cloud and it’s employed by the users via their web browser.
The PaaS provider supplies all the required tools to the developer for faster application development. The developer just needs to pick and choose those features that are needed for his app development process, on a pay per use basis. He does not have to really worry about the overheads with regard to buying and managing the underlying software and hardware.
In short, the developer could subscribe just the basic services, which could be in the form of simple point-and-click frameworks, minus the client-side hosting expertise. And, if need be, he could opt for full-on infrastructure options for advanced development.
The best part: the infrastructure and applications are managed by the vendors for the developers. So support in all forms is available. Additionally, new features are introduced on and off basis and even the existing features could be upgraded time and again.
Paas providers assist developers from the conception point to the execution part and this includes through testing and deployment as well.
As its the case with almost all cloud offerings, PaaS services are on a subscription basis. You pay only for what you use. Given that developers use the underlying physical infrastructure, it results in the economics of scale.
PaaS offerings include:
- Operating system
- Server-side scripting environment
- Database management system
- Server Software
- Network access
- Tools for design and development
Mobile Application Development On PaaS – Merits
1] Facilitates Faster Application Development Cycle and Reduced Cost
Setting up a platform-level software is not an easy thing. It’s complicated and time-consuming. Paas takes care of these complexities with a dose of salt. App developers without having to worry about infrastructure and application dependencies could simply go ahead and upload their codes and start running it. In other words, they just need to focus on the development part without thinking much about peripheral requirements such as additional server requirements, additional software license requirements, upfront payments or contracts to a Paas provider among many other things. You could simply rent the resources and pay for what’s used.
2] Facilitates Faster Scalability
Nothing could be better than on-demand scalability of your applications. If your app is suddenly going through severe stress due to increased workload and all, then PaaS platforms offer express support with additional servers and sync load balancers to ensure optimal efficiency of your running app. Once the load is over, the app size gets reduced and the additional servers are de-linked automatically.
3] Facilitates Easier Upgradation
An application deployment demands individual attention at various levels, and this includes tracking, maintenance, up gradation, re-integration and more. By employing PaaS, it becomes the PaaS providers responsibility to take care of upgrades and other nitty-gritty. This saves the developers’ time and helps avoid all sorts of risks associated with doing the tasks themselves.
4] Facilitates Easier Deployment
The developers could test the apps online without wasting much time on downloading or installing the required hardware onto their systems
5] Facilitates Vast Ecosystem
A Paas platform comes with a set of tools, frameworks, and UIs that help manage and build applications on the cloud. A developer is free to choose pre-installed, pre-configured languages be it Java, Node.js, PHP, Phython, Ruby, etc., for his apps.
6] No vendor lock-in
As in, developers have the liberty to change their vendors and move on to different PaaS platforms. In short, it offers a perfectly scalable environment for your apps with zero overhead costs.
7] Facilitates Deployment By non-experts
Even non-coders can develop apps with some PaaS offerings. They can be done through their web browser, by employing their one-click functionality. For example, one-click blog software installs like the WordPress.
8] Facilitates Easier Adaptability
Features could be changed if a need arises out of the blue.
9] Facilitates Collaboration Among Scattered Teams
As only two things are required for cloud computing, one being the internet connection and second being the web browser, developers scattered across several locations could come together and work on the same application build.
10] Facilitates experimentation, Anywhere, Anytime
Since cloud services could be accessed from anywhere and at any time, developers could tinker with new ideas and concepts at almost any time. It could be while taking off of to your friends house for the weekend, or while working at home, or playing with your kids.
11] Facilitates Foolproof Security
Security is offered, including data security and backup and recovery.
12] Facilitates More Marketing Time
If you already have an in-house app development and testing environment, the time you need devote to market your app won’t differ much from PaaS development. On the contrary, if you need to the build up the entire app development team from scratch, then it’s much better to rely on PaaS development because it accelerates the app development process including the testing and staging environment. So, this leaves you enough time on hands to market your app.
PaaS is one the best things that’s happening in the mobile app development world. Being in existence for the last 50 years, the technology has gone through several incremental improvements helping developers build and launch apps without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Needless to say, developers are finding it difficult to resist the power of PaaS.
OpenXcell has the required experience working with major PaaS providers like Salesforce.com, Heroku, AppFrog, and AppScale. Interested in mobile app development via PaaS? Just drop in a word here and we’ll get back to you on an immediate basis.