Do you pride yourself on your knowledge of modern application development? I always did, and I kept my skills current—until recently, when I discovered that I was way behind.
Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) is a significantly different approach to custom application development. It kicks n-tier to the curb, and I love it. Traditionally, applications were built in three tiers: UI, business logic and database.
It was all custom code with may be some widgets or libraries for complex functionality. The entire application was usually expected to run on a single server and we developed the system in a slow, waterfall approach.
Recently, SOA (service-oriented architecture) showed us how to encapsulate business critical functionality into services. This enabled an application to be distributed across several services and orchestrated with special software. Using agile methods, developers had access to pre-built objects specific to the business domain and users gained early visibility to the application.
The entire application is now a series of services. Developers pick and choose the modules they need to achieve a specific goal. You don’t know where your application is running. There are many business benefits to this approach:
- Pace of innovation is accelerated.
Thanks to on-demand, cloud models, we can instantly provision and connect to services. (I saw a developer create a full sentiment analysis application in less than an hour using PaaS.)
- Life cycle management is completely different.
The application can and will change as new services are made available by vendors.
DevOps models simplify when the platform is cloud-based; there is less code to deploy and no servers to maintain, patch, and support.
The quality improves when most of the code is reusable services assembled with minimal customization. Testers can focus on scenarios and business risk.
PaaS has changed my world and hope it proves to be effective in creating a strong impact in your knowledge about modern application development.
Feel free to share your challenges and experiences with me in the comment box below.