Mobile cloud computing is a robust alternative for mobile app developers to leverage the undeniable power of remote servers and use it to streamline development processes and improve product scalability.
Ahhh, the cloud. For most of us mortals, the term is confusing and vague. Is it a mysterious place with unlimited storage that floats above us in the sky? Is it a giant server that rests in some futuristic building somewhere? Yet, the elusive entity that confuses some and fascinates many others has become a very real place that seems to be beckoning us to entrust our data to its care, something that millions have already been doing for a while and with good reason. While it may not be an actual fluffy storage facility, the cloud has undoubtedly become pivotal not only for storing our personal photos or streaming our favorite shows but also for shaping our digital landscape via a virtual infrastructure that seems to be perfect for modern mobile app development. But how, exactly? With the advent of cloud computing.
With cloud computing, innovative mobile app developers can now combine the speed of remote servers with the power of a robust network of computing resources hosted on the internet, which makes expensive hardware implementations, and other hassles, a thing of the past! So, get ready to soar as we dive into the world of the cloud and explain the role of cloud computing in mobile app development. Let’s get started!
What is cloud computing?
Mobile app development has come a long way since its clunky servers and unwieldy hardware days where developers spent hours on end making simple updates or waiting for the code to compile. Thanks to the advent of modern technologies, we can now leverage countless tools and platforms to make our jobs significantly more manageable. Cloud computing is one of them.
Cloud computing is an application-based software infrastructure that provides computing services, such as data storage, security, processing power, and application hosting, on remote servers, which are accessed through the internet rather than personal hard drives or expensive physical hardware. These services, and many more, are provided by a third party that owns the infrastructure and handles the hosting and maintaining of the massive data centers which support all the aforementioned cloud services. As a result, users can easily store, process, and access their information and applications from anywhere. In addition, they can scale up or down their computing resources depending on their needs, only paying for what they use as long as there’s an internet connection.
Cloud computing has become so popular that it generates almost $178 billion per year in revenue and is expected to reach an impressive 200 zettabytes of stored data by 2025. These figures come as no surprise seeing that cloud computing provides many benefits for businesses and everyday users alike and plays a critical role in mobile app development. So, how does cloud computing impact mobile app development? Let’s find out.
Cloud computing promotes scalibility
It’s no secret that modern mobile apps are becoming more complex and sophisticated and require more computing resources to perform effectively and avoid performance issues. Unfortunately, in most traditional development environments, handling tasks such as increases in workload or scaling up or down requires purchasing expensive new hardware and installing, configuring, and managing the physical infrastructure implementations, which can be highly costly and time-consuming. Luckily, these issues are easily avoided, thanks primarily to the scalability benefits provided by cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows developers to seamlessly and flexibly scale our products up or down by providing on-demand access to virtually unlimited computing resources, enabling us to easily add or remove features and resources as needed without additional investments in hardware or infrastructural modifications. As a result, developers can quickly respond to any unpredictable spikes in demand or changes in workloads due to sudden or planned increases in traffic or seasonal fluctuations such as holiday sales or special events, for instance, without any crashes or downtime.
Overall, cloud computing allows developers to achieve unparalleled scalability in a flexible, cost-effective, and efficient way by helping them eliminate the need for expensive infrastructure implementations and allowing them to focus on expanding their mobile app’s functionality without worrying about security, additional development costs, or implementing and maintaining any expensive underlying infrastructure.
Cloud computing reduces development time
The undeniable competitiveness of the modern app development industry landscape makes one thing very clear: time is money. However, when it comes to most traditional mobile app development practices, and depending on project and team size, it takes around 7-12 months to build an average-scoped application. Furthermore, in the case of native apps, especially if they require specific or more complex features, the development process can be excruciatingly time-consuming. Consequently, you not only risk missing out on critical market opportunities and failing to meet the changing needs of your users, but you may also be involved in technology or market condition changes, rendering your app outdated by the time you’re done building it. These and many other issues can lead to reduced revenue, decreased customer loyalty and engagement, and losses in market share.
With cloud computing, however, developers can reduce the time-to-market of their mobile apps significantly. For one, cloud computing allows developers to swiftly provision and de-provision countless computing resources on-demand, allowing them to access the resources they need to perform otherwise time-consuming tasks such as testing without waiting for hardware implementations. Secondly, cloud computing platform providers are often equipped with all the fundamental development tools needed to speed up the development process. These elements include APIs, pre-packaged functions, integrated development environments (IDEs), testing frameworks, code repositories, and much more to help developers automate some of the most time-consuming development tasks, reducing the time it takes to build, deploy, and test robust mobile applications.
Cloud computing enables collaboration
“I’d rather work alone,” said no app developer ever. While other people might be better off working independently in other crafts and industries, proper app development requires collaboration. We simply cannot build, test, and deploy a mobile product on our own! Teamwork is an integral part of our industry, especially in DevOps environments where collaboration is non-negotiable for shipping top-notch products, and cloud computing is perfect for that.
Cloud computing allows developers to access all resources and data remotely, meaning they can work together on the same project and collaborate, even if they’re in different locations, as long as there’s an internet connection. This makes it easier for team members to communicate, work together seamlessly, and perform collaborative tasks such as sharing and reviewing code, evaluating resources, and going through data points. This is crucial to enable faster processes and help make the entire app development practice more efficient. Furthermore, cloud computing allows development teams to not only work with each other remotely but also to collaborate with freelancers, promoting quick outsourcing and giving development companies and businesses access to a global talent pool.
Cloud computing helps reduce development costs
Who doesn’t love to save money? No matter when or where cost-effectiveness is a term we all love to hear. In app development, especially, reducing costs whenever it is possible is a critical element to help businesses and developers deliver increased profitability, improve competitiveness, reach a better time to market, increase user engagement, and become more efficient at scaling and pivoting quickly to adapt to changes faster, to name a few. In that sense, cloud computing has proven crucial to help app developers save big bucks!
For one, by allowing access to computing resources over the internet, cloud computing can help developers save any costs associated with expensive hardware, software, and infrastructural implementations that are often associated with traditional, on-premises development. Secondly, it can also promote highly flexible and scalable development environments that help developers adapt their products to the changing needs of their users, which helps save time and money by allowing them to focus on other more crucial aspects of the development process, such as coding, rather than wasting time managing unwieldy hardware. And lastly, cloud computing’s role in helping developers start small and scale as needed is critical to increase cost savings and avoid wasting time and resources on unnecessary implementations.
Cloud computing promotes app compatibility across multiple platforms
Cloud computing’s role in mobile app development isn’t simply based on making development processes faster and cheaper and helping teams work remotely. Amalgamating cloud computing with mobile app development can also translate into mobile applications that are compatible across multiple platforms, which, let’s face it, is vital to succeeding in the modern mobile app market.
Developing a mobile app with a cloud computing provider automatically eliminates the need to build a different application for each platform and device because mobile apps that function on cloud computing technology run via web browsers, meaning developers can create one product that can work seamlessly in all conditions, regardless of the platform or operating system they’re using, as long as there’s an internet connection. Furthermore, cloud computing eliminates the hassle of fixing most of the compatibility issues related to having users download and install multiple versions of the same application on their devices. As a result, developers can build mobile applications faster, and users can access and use them more straightforwardly.
Challenges of cloud computing for mobile app development
As you can see, leveraging cloud computing technology is a foolproof way of ensuring the continuous delivery of high-quality, scalable, and secure mobile apps. It is a very powerful technology for modern app development and offers a myriad of benefits, such as cost savings, scalability, and flexibility. However, for these benefits of cloud computing to bear fruit, developers must understand its challenges and learn from them so that we can successfully overcome them. Here are the main ones.
- Data security and privacy concerns
In most cloud computing, sensitive user data is typically stored on third-party servers, which makes data security and privacy a primary concern. Even if the cloud computing provider offers top-notch security measures, app developers must ensure their users’ data is always encrypted and protected to avoid hacking incidents and unauthorized access. Also, implementing robust authentication and authorization methods, such as multi-factor authorization, is necessary to not only prevent data breaches but also ensure compliance with regulatory laws.
- Network dependency
Cloud computing helps developers provision resources in real-time, meaning its servers handle large amounts of data transfer; this data traffic needs a high-speed network connection to function correctly. However, in poor connectivity conditions or outages, resources may not be available, which can cause lagging, buffering issues, and delays, affecting the app’s user experience and creating pain points. As a result, developers must optimize their application’s performance to minimize the impact of poor network conditions and ensure a seamless user experience.
- Interoperability issues
With all their benefits, using cloud computing providers can also be tricky, especially when switching to another cloud-based platform. This procedure can be exceptionally tedious because, more often than not, applications written for one cloud platform need to be rewritten for another provider, creating a lack of flexibility and interoperability that makes switching cloud providers very complex.
- Talent pool limitations
In some cases, using cloud computing for mobile app development can be a complex endeavor; it requires specific knowledge and comprehensive expertise to ensure the product is successful. There are currently a lot of developers who are experts in the field of cloud computing. However, there’s still a big gap between the demand and supply of professionals capable of developing cloud solutions. So, there is a pressing need for upskilling to ensure the talent pool grows and modern developers become more adept at updating their knowledge base and developing cloud-based applications with the utmost dexterity.
There’s no denying that the role of cloud computing in mobile app development is pivotal. It not only provides a flexible and scalable model for delivering computing resources on demand, but it also provides resources, time, and cost-saving benefits for companies that can’t, or don’t want, to invest in their own hardware and physical infrastructure. In that sense, cloud computing has become an integral part of mobile app development practices around the globe, providing developers and businesses with a range of undeniable benefits that enable them to build top-notch applications that can stand the test of time. And, as mobile app development continues to evolve, cloud computing will surely keep playing a pivotal role in deploying innovative, robust, and user-friendly mobile apps.
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