Cloud-based application development is a flexible process for creating new applications using the scalability and flexibility cloud. Unlike traditional monolithic apps, cloud-based software is composed of individual elements (microservices), deployed in the cloud environment. This approach enables software development teams to quickly add new features.
Instead of a “monolithic” application architecture, in which applications are developed and patched in a single, seamless block, you can create them as microservices – small apps that solve a single problem and communicate with each other via APIs. Each microservice performs just one function.
By 2025, there will be more than a hundred zettabytes of information stored in the cloud. Zettabyte is a billion terabytes or a trillion gigabytes. At the same time, cloud data centers will process 94% of all workloads in 2022. Software as a service (SaaS) processes will account for 75% of the full workload. With 94.44%, Google Drive (GD) is by far the most used cloud storage service worldwide. If you want to create a cloud software which would be as useful as GD, you may benefit from partnering with IntelliSoft. Read more about our team extension services and find out how we can help you.
Start-up owners and decision makers are looking for answers to cloud app dev basic costs and the tech stack so that they can hire the right specialists or outsource this dev job to us. You can find priceless tips and tricks in our brand new post.
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How Cloud Apps Managed to Outshine Other Solutions
Let’s take a closer look at cloud apps using the familiar streaming service as an example. We’ll focus on Netflix then. As you may know, it is a video service with millions of subscribers worldwide. Like many other cloud applications, it is “packaged” as a classic SaaS, but the platform itself is designed using a combination of IaaS and PaaS. Netflix is a major customer of AWS and uses their services for storage, video transcoding, and even their famous personalized recommendation algorithm. They also have their own content delivery network called Open Connect, which is essentially an example of IaaS.
Although SaaS originally emerged as web applications, mobile cloud services have recently become widespread. This is due to how people today prefer to receive and consume information. Some programs (e.g., spreadsheets) are still more convenient to use on a PC. Therefore, we can be sure that SaaS providers will not give up desktop versions and probably develop applications for at least two platforms, but much more is possible!
In the case of Netflix, for example, platform integration is already a reality. The service provides access to its content through apps specifically designed for:
- Web browsers
- Mobile devices
- Smart TV
- Game consoles
- Blu-ray players
Cloud services can provide an experience of holistic and continuous interaction with the application ecosystem. In addition to the opportunity to be in the trend and offer a convenient solution for potential customers, what other additional benefits does cloud development bring?
Cloud applications can be rapidly deployed and expanded as needed. Compared to traditional monolithic applications, cloud-based applications are easier to manage because DevOps and agile development processes involve incremental improvements. Improvements can be made without interfering systems or downtime and disruption to the end user, as well as scaling up or down is much easier.
Applications can be augmented with such modern technologies such as AI, Internet of Things, analytics, blockchain, etc.
How Much Would It Cost Me?
Before the development itself, many companies want to know how much the process may cost them. Well, it all depends on numerous factors, such as:
- Developer’s cost
- Engagement model
- Hosting platforms, etc.
Still, estimating the average is possible. Let’s start with the time estimate. On average, it may take 300-600 hours to come up with the cloud application. The average cost then would be $15,000. With the next level of complexity, it might take up to 800 hours. The cost goes up to $120-$250K. If the team has to spend over 1200 hours, it may result in over $250K.
Once again, these estimates are more or less accurate only for the specific industries. A lot depends on what you plan to include and how you wish your solution to stand out on the market. Make sure to discuss the price at the very beginning of your cooperation.
Key Steps in Cloud Software Development
Let’s say, you want to develop a mobile app that should bring tenants and landlords together. Tenants could see which rooms are available, communicate directly with landlords, clarify the necessary details, and then meet in person to sign a rental agreement.
Pretend we have an app, ABC, which is notable because its founders also aimed to collect data that could be used for research purposes. For example, to identify the most popular neighborhoods and buildings, the average prices people are willing to pay, and demographic portraits of those people. What could be a better way to transfer and store all this data than through cloud services?
Step-by-step, we’ll walk you through the steps of developing a cloud application, paying attention to specific requirements.
Study Your App’s Target Market
Every development project should start with analytics and preliminary research. Usually, both competitors and potential users are studied. Regarding cloud development, we recommend that you pay special attention to the following questions:
- Is it important to be able to access the app from multiple devices? Which ones?
- What influences users’ willingness to download the app?
- Would they prefer not to download anything at all?
- What level of information security do they want?
- Are they afraid to keep their personal data online?
In real estate, mobile apps are popular because they make it much easier to access information. So the question of whether ABC should be a mobile app was not an issue at all. It was also particularly important to develop exactly the easy-to-use app. If no one liked this solution, there would be nowhere to take data on user preferences. So the analytics team not only studied the competition, but also looked at the company’s previous real estate projects to see which interface elements were accepted by users and which were not.
Find a Professional Development Team
There are several approaches to app development. You can create your own team, hire freelancers, or go to a mobile app development company like IntelliSoft to get a dedicated development team. We always advise startups to choose the latter, as the cost of in-house development is high and freelancers are unpredictable. If you want to pay more attention to this topic, here are the pros and cons of outsourcing.
First of all, you need to be sure that you have found a mobile app development company that has experience with cloud technology:
- Take a look at their portfolio. They should definitely have relevant cases. For example, check cases from IntelliSoft.
- Look at reviews from clients. You can even ask for contacts of those clients whose projects were related to cloud app development.
- Ask about their developers. The first engineer you meet is not necessarily the right one: cloud development requires a fundamental understanding of cloud infrastructure, knowledge of basic cloud solutions, and security algorithms.
- You also need to make sure that you have a full-service company by your side. Such a team will accompany you through all important stages of development, from user interface (UI) design to testing.
Before embarking on the mobile app development, you and your team should decide on the technology mix and choose a cloud service provider. Surely you can feel out of place when it comes to tech issues. That’s why we’ll only focus on the most popular options.
Choose a Cloud Platform
Choosing a service provider is the cornerstone of cloud application development. Let’s take a look at the leading companies in this industry.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the absolute leader among public clouds. Amazon offers more than 200 cloud development products and tools and has the best record in terms of global reach.
Microsoft Azure is also a solid option. It is the best choice for those who need to integrate their application with other Microsoft products. This provider is also known for its advanced machine learning and data science models. So, if your cloud application solves problems related to these technologies, you should definitely consider Azure.
Google Cloud competes with AWS for the love of startups because their solutions are cost-effective and easy to adapt to business needs. However, Google does not yet have as much computing power as their competitors. Therefore, this provider is a perfect option for simpler applications.
In our experience, AWS is a great choice for startups. This provider is reliable and offers affordable prices, as well as a wide range of development tools. Our engineers are big fans of AWS though they are using other cloud services as well. It depends on what our clients need. We helped with developing apps hosted in the AWS cloud using several of their services and tools. For example, we combined the capabilities of AWS Cognito and AWS Amplify to customize custom authorization.
Decide on the Technology
Remember when we mentioned that cloud app development is moving toward platform integration? A good way to ensure a smooth transition is to use React.js for the web app interface and develop a mobile app using the React Native framework. There are many similarities between React Native and React.js. They both can speed up the workflow significantly. At IntelliSoft, we have already created many cross-platform cloud apps on React Native.
The choice of backend technology may be motivated by the app’s key functionality. We won’t cover every possible scenario, but here’s one example. Many modern cloud applications are likely to include data-intensive, real-time functionality. This includes chat, live streaming, and collaboration tools. Node.js is one of the best programming languages for real-time data processing, so we used one of its frameworks, NestJS, to develop several solutions for our clients. Another framework worth looking at is ExpressJS.
Except for giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, or Google, there are many other companies that provide reliable cloud solutions. A common practice is to rent the core infrastructure from one of those companies, combined with additional services where they are needed. For example, for one project we used:
- Firebase to send push notifications.
- Pusher to enable real-time chat communication.
- Apollo GraphQL for data transfer.
Don’t be afraid to contact your development partner with any questions and try to figure out what works best for your project.
Design and Develop an MVP
Cloud application development is not an easy task. As usual, we recommend that you start by creating a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP will allow you to understand what users like and dislike about the application. Then, you can analyze their feedback and improve your product. Since cloud apps are inherently scalable, further functionality expansion is not a problem.
Don’t Miss DevOps and Testing!
Cloud app development should include a testing phase necessary to ensure data security and optimal performance. It’s a good idea when the mobile app development company you work with practices a DevOps approach (just like we do), including Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). CI/CD automates the cloud app development process and ensures that every new piece of code is tested before deployment.
Cloud service providers provide many popular DevOps services. For instance, at IntelliSoft, we use AWS DevOps tools as well as other software such as Docker, GitLab CI/CD, AppCenter, Vercel, and FastLine.
Publish Your App
Once the testing phase is over, all that remains is to add your product to the app stores. It’s best to leave this to your development partner. In our case, our staff is up-to-date with the marketplace requirements and can save you from unnecessary complications and the risk that your publication will be rejected.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re parting ways with your app development company forever. For example, most of our clients are still looking for new ideas for their project, and we’re looking forward to developments.
Last But Not Least…
The development and maintenance of the app infrastructure on the cloud have numerous benefits for the business, including streamlined app updates and new features implementation compared to running such an infrastructure on-premise.
In professional hands of experienced engineers, cloud development becomes a tool for creating useful and convenient products for your users. Their services might cost you around $15-$20K on average if it takes 600-800 hours for the project to be carried out. Today, however, cloud technology already deals with almost everything on our smartphones, personal computers, and other devices.
The lines between local and cloud computing are blurring. Thus, don’t worry: even if your project idea doesn’t quite fit the SaaS description, you can still benefit from cloud development tools and services. Want to learn more?
IntelliSoft is an experienced cloud app development service provider that offers cloud app development services, DevOps, cloud maintenance, and support to startups and established companies. Fill out the form on our website and we’ll get back to you!