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Why Should Developers Consider a Cloud Based Platform for Coding?

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Why Should Developers Consider a Cloud Based Platform for Coding?

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In common computer parlance, a computing platform is a combination of hardware architecture and software framework on which software programs and applications run. But these traditional platforms have taken a backseat today. With the emergence of cloud computing, we are witnessing a tectonic shift in the way data is accessed and used.

Cloud services such as cloud platforms (PaaS) are gaining popularity amongst software developers and independent software vendors (ISVs).

What is a Cloud Platform?

Cloud platforms have certain similarities with traditional computing platforms with one key difference - cloud-based platforms run in data centers owned by external service providers.

According to 
Wiki :

“In the PaaS models, cloud providers deliver a 
computing platform   , typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server. Application developers can develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.”

PaaS provides security, compliance and governance controls for developers. Some of the top PaaS platform vendors are: 
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Google   and  Microsoft Azure .

So why are developers gung-ho about the cloud and why is it imperative that they maximize its potential? Take a look:

1. Cost-Saving

IDEs or traditional computing platforms may become obsolete in the near future. We have already witnessed the discontinuation of IDEs like
Metrowerks CodeWarrior Pro for Java, Sun Java Studio Creator, Visual Age, Visual Café , etc. For most freelance developers or SMBs, upgrading and maintaining traditional IDE software is a drain on their finances.

The cloud gives them an opportunity to cut down on their overheads in this regard. The adoption of a cloud based platform allows SMBs to reduce their operational costs by eliminating the need to buy all the systems, software, platforms, tools and kits needed to build, run and deploy an application.

They can subscribe to PaaS services that give them accesses to the best development platforms at highly affordable rates. Moreover, upgrades and maintenance are made on the cloud by the service provider; this ensures developers do not have to keep on investing in OS upgrades and maintenance.

2. Access from Anywhere

Unlike traditional computing platforms that can only be run on the computer on which they are installed, most cloud-based platforms require nothing but a browser and a stable internet connection to run. This allows developers to code either from their office machines or from their personal laptops if they are out of office.

Developers can access cloud based platforms any time, day or night, from any browser, around the globe, 24*7. Cloud based platforms thus improve accessibility for developers, ensuring they are able to work on their code anytime, anywhere. This convenient feature lets developers move beyond time zones and geographic location issues.

3. Facilitates Collaboration

Cloud based platforms allow multiple users to concurrently use the same integrated application development environment. This can be an important benefit for software companies whose development team is spread across geographies. Employees everywhere can access and work with the same files in real time without sending emails back and forth with attachments.

With Google App Engine, for instance, the same application can run in different parts of the world with data synchronized across different locations.

It helps keep all the developers in the loop and seamlessly work on the same software development project, regardless of their geographic location.

Better collaboration improves productivity and creativity. A survey by Frost & Sullivan found that companies which invested in collaboration technology had a 
400% return on investment  . Collaboration increases the speed at which cloud applications can be built.

4. Access to Latest Technologies

Software renewals and updates are handled by the cloud service provider saving businesses the time of updating it manually. With cloud based platforms, operating system features can be changed and upgraded frequently. This ensures the development platform remains up-to-date irrespective of the evolution of technology.

Many developers today seek the flexibility of a platform as a service environment because it makes it possible for them to adapt easily to the ever evolving
development platform ecosystem .

5. Provides Security and Back-up

Developers that keep their valuable coded files on hard disk are at high risk of losing it in case of hard drive failure. In a cloud environment, if your hard drive crashes or worse, you lose your device (laptop) that holds all the coding information – you can get back all your coded files in no time. Cloud service providers usually have their own back-up system, so if the main-servers go down, service vendors can switch over to the backup system immediately.

Cloud vendors like 
Google  and  Microsoft  are also constantly improving their levels of data security to ensure your data is safe and cannot be accessed by unauthorized parties.

6. Enables Global Reach

Chances are, if you are an independent software vendor (IVS) or a freelancer programmer you might not be catering to a global clientele, but there is no doubt you want to do this in the near future. Running a large scale business operation that caters to the needs of clients across the globe might seem like wishful thinking, more so, if you are currently operating a really small development company or working alone. But cloud based platforms are bringing the world closer. All you need to do is sign up for a comprehensive cloud solution to deliver your programming/development services to clients across the world.  The global reach of the cloud lets developers enter new markets easily.

7. Lowers Business Innovation Risk

Innovation is vital for the growth of business. But innovation also carries risks and there is a really high chance of failure. This failure costs money and time. This is one of the main reasons why businesses, especially small businesses fail to innovate.

Cloud-based platforms help businesses and even freelance developers reduce the cost of experimentation, which is the first step of innovation. At any given point of time, in the process of development, if you find that your ‘innovative application/software’ is not shaping up the way you thought it would, you can just stop using the platform you’ve subscribed to, for giving shape to your “breakthrough” idea. The cloud eliminates most of the major risks associated with innovation.

Try it Out!

Adoption of cloud-based platforms is on the increase across the developer industry as it lets developers solely focus on coding rather than worrying about upgrading software or operating systems.

If you are a developer and haven’t started on maximizing their potential yet, you are truly missing out on something.

So, when are you starting your cloud journey?

Discover new technologies simplifying running containers and data services in production with this free eBook by O'Reilly. Courtesy of Mesosphere.

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Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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