The number of mobile apps that migrate to the cloud is growing extremely fast. Cloud software is beneficial for businesses. It leads to a cost reduction on equipment and performance. Cloud solutions are also scalable, so the business has more opportunities to grow.
Cloud-Based Application Development Avoiding Common Pitfalls
- 80% of enterprises use Amazon Web Services as their primary cloud platform.
- 77% of enterprises have at least one application or a part of it in the cloud.
- 60% of organizations use cloud technology to store confidential data.
But what is cloud-based application development? What are the types of cloud apps? What tech challenges can you face? In this guide, you’ll learn all the details of cloud application development.
Table of contents
What Is a Cloud-Based App?
A cloud-based application is a software solution that runs the processing logic and data storage between two different systems: client-side and server-side.
Let’s make it simpler. Every app has a client side, a part that a user sees and interacts with, and a server side, a part that processes data and makes features work. Considering usual mobile apps, data and business logic is processed by a smartphone and computer’s processor. In the case of cloud-based apps, these tasks are performed by a remote server.
Cloud-based application development is profitable since most data storage exists on a remote server.
Cloud-based apps have the following characteristics:
- The app’s data is stored in a cloud infrastructure. So, there are minimum requirements for devices to run the application.
- It’s possible to store the data on the device. It allows the app to work offline. However, once the device is online again, the app will be updated automatically. As a result, all the information will be uploaded to the cloud.
- Customers can use the app from any device connected to the Internet like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. All the information is stored in the cloud, so the user can continue working on any device.
There are three types of cloud-based apps: SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. Let’s figure out what each of them stands for.
Types of cloud-based apps
Software as a Service or SaaS
SaaS stands for a cloud solution that can be used via mobile apps and web browsers. Such a service lets customers use the app without installing and configuring it. Thanks to the Internet, you can use SaaS solutions worldwide from any device.
SaaS app development is popular among companies and ordinary users. Companies tend to use office software like and messengers like . Still, many people use services like Dropbox for solving their personal, non-work-related tasks.
Platform as a Service or PaaS
PaaS offers you to rent everything you need to develop an app, relying on a cloud provider for development tools, infrastructure, and operating systems. Vendors working with this cloud computing model provide software and hardware tools to simplify the development process.
Platform as a Service solutions may include:
- Development tools
- Operating systems
- Database management
, , and are several examples of the PaaS cloud computing model.
Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS
IaaS means that a service provider manages your business's infrastructure — servers, network, visualization, and storage via a public or private cloud.
As a business owner, you can access the infrastructure using an API or admin panel. You can also manage operating systems and apps while providers (like, , ) give you hardware, networking, hard drives, storage, and servers.
Case study: Creating and configuring AWS server architecture for Occaz, a French service for buying used cars safely.
Cloud Application Development and Tech Challenges It Brings
Cloud application development is quite challenging thanks to its tech complexity. As we’ve already figured out, there are three main types of cloud-based solutions: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. This means that you want to either become a provider or build a cloud app based on third-party solutions. Anyway, there are several tech challenges to address.
Challenges of cloud app development
Cloud-based solutions process and store a lot of sensitive data. So, security issues become crucial for any business that uses such solutions. You have to guarantee data privacy for your customers.
Cloud-based application development requires numerous API integrations that can be harmful to security. It’s better to use strong data encryption and SSL to increase the security level of your cloud-based app.
You need to choose a reliable cloud framework for your cloud solution. Customers want the service to work without delays and errors. It’s common to choose AWS services for cloud application development. AWS allows baking up all the data securely and brings developers a vast pool of other tech features to work with.
The more data centers the provider has, the better your app performance is. For example, global providers locate their servers to offer users the same page loading speed despite their location. It’s also a common practice to use content delivery networks (CDN) to speed up the content delivery. They’re often a part of cloud app infrastructure.
It’s better to ensure the product’s scalability with the chosen server. Cloud app development requires excellent scalability opportunities. If you can scale your solution, it falls over due to sudden traffic surges.
Scalability allows managing more users on a regular basis. It leads to a higher profit for your company.
The app performance is crucial for a good user experience. If your solution takes more than 3 seconds to load, you will lose in conversion.
Cloud-Based Application Development: Steps to Follow
Cloud application development differs from the web or mobile app development. Your team should build cloud solutions relying on the chosen service provider.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is probably the best and most reliable solution on the market nowadays. It offers a ton of great tools and features for cloud application development.
You should be ready to invest your time and money to build any digital product. Cloud-based solutions aren’t an exception. Before starting the development process, you need to better understand your customers: figure out their problems and find the way to solve them with your product. That’s the only way to successfully compete on the market.Below you can find six steps to successful cloud development.
- Step #1. Do market research
- Step #2. Hire developers (if you haven’t yet)
- Step #3. Analyze the architecture and required features
- Step #4. Define the tech stack
- Step #5. Test the app
- Step #6. Launch your cloud-based application
Cloud-based application development: Steps to follow
Step #1. Do Market Research
To gain users, you need to do market research and understand your customers’ pains. It’ll let you create a solid solution delivering value to end-users. Your target audience has to understand why to choose your product out of hundreds of others on the market.
It’s a good idea to analyze competitors, their features, and business models.
Step #2. Hire Development Team
Cloud-based application development requires an experienced and talented team. So, the question arises — where to hire cloud app developers?
There are three widespread options to hire software engineers: cooperate with freelance developers, create an in-house team, or find a reliable vendor.
Cloud app developers: Hiring options
The freelance hiring option is popular these days. However, cloud application development requires long-term cooperation, while freelancers tend to switch to other projects failing the deadlines.
Having an in-house development team, you can completely control the development process. On the other hand, this option is the most expensive. You need to pay for rent, hardware, software, taxes, and so on.
Outsourcing is gaining popularity thanks to affordable rates and good quality of the final product. A bunch of reliable vendors from all over the world offer to hire a dedicated development team.
In our experience, in-house developers or outsourcing software development companies are the most suitable option for cloud-based application development.
Step #3. Consider the Architecture and Features
To make your app successful, you need to consider two aspects — architecture and service model. These decisions impact how perfromant your app will be. So it’s better to consult with experts who can consult you.
It’s better to create advanced data architecture. Classic solutions tend to be monolithic. However, microservices architecture is commonly used for cloud-based apps.
Earlier, we’ve discussed the types of cloud-based solutions — SaaS, PaaS, IaaS. The chosen model should match them. For example, developing an app like Slack, you need to use a SaaS approach.
Step #4. Define the Tech Stack
Choosing the tools for cloud-based application development, you should consult with experts. They’ll analyze your requirements, features, and design to pick an appropriate tech stack for your product.
Also, you need to bear in mind the app’s scalability. It allows keeping your solution up to date.
To give you a hint, below there’s a Salesforce tech stack:
Application and data
- Google Analytics
- New Relic
- Puppet Labs
- Cloud9 IDE
- Sauce Labs
- G Suite
- Salesforce Sales Cloud
How to choose a tech stack? There are seven tips for you to follow!
Step #5. Test Your Product Carefully
Cloud application development should include the testing stage.
Before launching the product, your development team has to test it to avoid bugs. At this stage, you ensure that your application works correctly and delivers the appropriate user experience.
It’s better to cooperate with full-cycle development companies. Such vendors offer development, design, testing, and management. In this case, the team works on your project together and the communication is easy. As a result, the product quality is higher.
Step #6. Launch the App and Keep It Up-To-Date
The final step is release.
You need to release the app on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).
Google Play uses automated testing to speed up the process. However, in the case of declining the app, it can be complicated to understand why.
App Store delegates app checking to real people. If there are any bugs, they’ll ask to fix them.
The release process consists of several steps:
- Ensure the app follows App Store or Google Play guidelines (and fix it, if it doesn't).
- Fill in the required meta data like title, description, keywords, screenshots, and preview videos you want to add.
- Submit the app to review.
- Wait for the reply. App Store/Google Play team will test the app against the guidelines, make sure the app doesn't crash, and work as expected.
- Within 2-3 days, your app will either be approved or rejected.
As for the web app, it’s essential to check how the software works in the real environment. It’s possible to pick one of these cloud deployment types: public, private, or hybrid.
- Everybody can use public servers. This option suits various companies and purposes.
- Private servers can be used by one company. They tend to have full control over IT infrastructure.
- Hybrid clouds are suitable for both structures. You should choose this variant if you want to switch between both types.
How Cleveroad Can Help You
Cleveroad has 6+ years of experience in building high-quality cloud-based applications. We’d like to share one of our latest cases — RetailOps.
RetailOps is a versatile SaaS platform offering a suite of tools for retail companies. They include Warehouse Management, Inventory Management, Receiving, and others.
Our software development team has built a mobile application for iOS running on Swift with an all-new design and complying with set requirements.