We will look at the advantages of cloud application development later in the article. Now we’ll define the concept. A cloud application is software that is running on the remote server and accessed by the users via a web browser or local client, that serves as a user-interface for rendering the content that is processed in the cloud.
Cloud application development is a necessity in a modern enterprise world. You can hardly find a company that has never used a cloud-based application or any of the SaaS products. Cloud applications are now dominating the market over desktop software for various reasons. The main advantage is they can be accessed at any time from anywhere with any device that has a web browser. Besides, when a company develops a cloud application, it automatically means that all users are working with the same version of the app. This greatly reduces the time and resources required for new features introduction, security updates, and synchronization.
We will look at the advantages of cloud application development later in the article. Now we’ll define the concept. A cloud application is software that is running on the remote server and accessed by the users via a web browser or local client, that serves as a user-interface for rendering the content that is processed in the cloud. Thus, a user’s device is used only to input the data, which is consequently sent to the server where it is processed and sent back to the user. Naturally, all the data is stored in the same cloud environment and can be accessed by all users that have permission.
Let’s name some reasons to use web-based solutions:
Front-end technologies – React. Angular, Vue.js
Back-end technologies – ASP.NET, Node.js, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails
As it was already mentioned, companies migrate to the cloud to reduce costs, save time, and achieve high efficiency and high performance. Many IT industry giants launched their own PaaS (Platform as a Service) products to provide ISVs and enterprises with reliable and secure cloud hosting. The choice is wide and can address the needs of cloud application development at any scale. Moreover, all of them have their own advantages and killer features. The choice of the cloud services provider is as much important as a choice of a backend or frontend technology. Besides obvious things like the cost, it impacts how easily it will be for your DevOps to work with, how scalable the app will be, etc. For example, historically, Azure better works with ASP.NET backend while AWS better works with Java EE and has better microservices support, such as Docker, which is essential for high-load Java web apps. Here is the list of the most popular PaaS providers:
This list may not seem very big as here are only the world-known giants. Listing less popular companies using the cloud would take an eternity. In 2020 there are almost no companies left who haven’t preferred cloud services yet.
While speaking about cloud application development, it is necessary to discuss three main software delivery models:
SaaS solutions are for the end-users. It means that once a SaaS product is built and set up, it is completely ready for customers to use. They receive a ready-made product accessible from any device as long as the Internet connection is stable. and are excellent for collaborative work. Examples: Google Docs, Google Drive.
PaaS applications are mostly development environments based on various execution environments, OS, and databases. They require the application code to be deployed by the developers, and the vendor performs all the other processes. PaaS enables fast development of scalable applications with easy private or public deployment. PaaS products include Heroku, Force.com, MS Azure, AWS, etc.
In the case of IaaS, what’s required from the customer is the middleware and support, while the vendor is responsible for data storage, virtualization, networking, and servers. A significant weakness of this option is that the customer is restricted to the provider’s tools for cloud application development. IaaS is employed by Google Compute Engine, Amazon EC2, and others.
To sum up, SaaS is for the end-users, PaaS is for the developers, and IaaS is most often used by system administrators.
SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle, and it is an indispensable part of the development process no matter what kind of software you create and what platform you develop for. Once a team gets a task, the SDLC process begins. It implies a set of stages. Waterfall, Iterative, Agile are SDLC methodologies. Each of them affects the way the operations are performed but regardless of the model, the sequence of stages mostly stays the same.
Cloud application development lifecycle includes:
Want to find out more about SDLC models? What are the most popular ones and why companies prefer to use them?
From year to year, the technology stack for backend development doesn’t change that much so let’s see what languages and tools take the leading positions.
.NET is a hybrid framework developed by Microsoft. It gives programmers the opportunity to work with different languages, libraries, and tools for building scalable web, mobile, and desktop applications. Among the languages .NET supports, there are C#, Visual Basic, and F#. It also has its own package manager – NuGet, which contains more than 90000 packages. .NET allows working with those cloud servers that already exist as well as creating and deploying your own. Thus, it is a powerful tool for cloud application development.
Java is a mature versatile multipurpose programming language created back in 1995. During these years, Java has earned the trust of IT specialists all over the world. Object-oriented class-based language can be implemented in cloud application development, mobile, web, and desktop apps, etc. It has tons of advantages such as well-defined specifications, expected behavior, which results in reduced development time, a huge number of tools and libraries, the fact that Java apps can be run on any device regardless of its underlying architecture, and many others. Java is suitable for enterprise-level projects that require difficult computations and data processing. However, despite all the advantages, Java developers are rather expensive, and employing this language for the startup is considered unseemly.
PHP is designed for creating software in a great variety of domains. Because its code is processed on the web server with a specific interpreter, it makes PHP an excellent choice for custom cloud app development. It is most commonly employed for mid-sized projects or startups. It has a 5 million supportive community of developers, which will help you solve appearing problems on the stage of learning or later. By the way, quite clear documentation eases the learning process. The popularity of PHP results in a great number of potential specialists to hire, and for a relatively affordable price. As database integration is one of the key aspects of backend development, it makes PHP one of the best options as it connects to a wide range of databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, MongoDB, and others. In addition, hosting services for PHP are quite cheap because the components that a PHP app uses (MySQL database, HTTP server, etc.) are free.
Ruby on Rails is an application framework used for backend development. It targets simple development. It is relatively easy to master due to the English-like syntax and understandable documentation. This simplicity results in minimized development time. High readability leads to easier updates and maintenance, which, in turn, makes RoR development extremely cost-effective. In addition, Ruby on Rails has many testing frameworks cut out exactly for it, which makes testing faster and easier.
The overall development cost is formed by numerous factors, such as application complexity, developers cost and their experience, engagement model, location of development services, hosting platforms, etc.
It is nearly impossible to estimate each of the factors accurately but let’s try to perform a rough estimation of cloud app cost. Needless to say that the region will affect the price significantly as the difference between Asia and, for example, North America is huge. Development in the US might be hardly affordable for a startup while quite cheap development in Asia might not have very good quality. Outsourcing to Ukraine solves both of these problems as it offers qualified specialists for an affordable price. Another factor we can approximately estimate is developer salary. To summarize the salaries of all team members, let’s see whom the cloud application development team consists of:
Such Internet resources as Glassdoor or PayScale help to estimate the salaries in The USA. Hourly rates for each specialist with about 4 years of experience are presented in the table below:
|PROJECT MANAGER||BUSINESS ANALYST||UI/UX DESIGNER||BACK-END DEVELOPER||FRONT-END DEVELOPER||QA SPECIALIST|
To receive the overall cost, we have to summarize the approximate cost of each factor. It includes the development services region, developers cost and their experience, app complexity, design, hosting, marketing tools, etc. As a result, we’ll have:
The development of an app of medium complexity will cost about $120k to $250k for custom. It’ll be about $250k for an app with complex features, and $30k – $100k for a simple web app.
Choosing cloud development is reasonable, as it will result in fast, scalable, and secure applications with high performance. The fact that it’ll help save time and costs is also a key factor while deciding on an application type. The approach to development has changed for the better and became easier due to the innovative tools, technologies, and versatile SDLC methodologies. After you’ve decided on the technology stack, product features, team composition, and SDLC model, the cloud application development process begins.
Praveen is a seasoned IT Solutions Leader and Director at RSK Business Solutions, a technology-driven IT Consulting Company that specializes in Bespoke Software Development, Agile Consulting, Mobile App Development, Smart Sourcing, and much more. For the last 17 years, he has been delivering quality custom IT solutions that help businesses achieve their goals.