Cloud Application Development: An In-depth Guide

Want to go for cloud-based application development? You’re not alone! According to a recent study, cloud computing is one of the most popular trends in the software development industry.

Cloud Application Development

But why and how do you build a cloud-based application? What features should your application have? This blog post will answer all these questions and more. So, let’s begin with the basics.

What is a Cloud-Based App?

A cloud-based app is a software application that functions on a remote server instead of a local computer or device. This type of app is also sometimes referred to as a “web-based” or “online” app. Let’s understand it with an example. 

An app that you use on your phone is a local app. It runs on your phone’s operating system and stores data locally on your phone. A cloud-based app also runs on an operating system, but it’s not stored locally. Instead, it’s stored on a remote server (in the cloud), and you access it through the internet.

If you use Google Docs, you are using a cloud-based app. Google Docs is an online word-processing application that lets you create and edit documents in your web browser. You can also share these documents with others and work on them together in real time. Because Google Docs is a cloud-based app, you can access it from any device with an internet connection.


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A Quick Overview of the Cloud App Market

The marketplace for cloud-based applications is increasing. As per Statista, in 2020, this market was valued at $133 billion, and by 2025 it’s predicted to rise to $168 billion.

Overview of the Cloud App Market

The key drivers of this market are the mounting need for mobility in data usage and management, the need to access data from several devices and locations, and cost-efficiency for the IT infrastructure. 

Cloud-based applications provide scalability, mobility, reduced costs, and accessibility, so enterprises are increasingly adopting them.

Earlier, only large enterprises were the core drivers of the cloud-based office productivity software market. However, the emergence of several small and medium businesses (SMBs) has been a critical factor propelling the growth of this cloud app development market. These apps are presently famous in the following domains:

  • Education
  • Insurance
  • Fintech and banking
  • Government
  • Media and entertainment
  • Telecommunication and IT
  • Healthcare and life sciences
  • Oil and gas

Different Types of Cloud-Based Solutions

There are many different types of cloud-based solutions, each with its own features and benefits. Here are some of the most popular options:

Types of Cloud-Based Solutions

Public Cloud

Public clouds are cloud-based solutions that are available to the general public. Large companies, such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, typically offer these solutions. Public clouds offer a variety of advantages, including scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. When using a public cloud, businesses only pay for the resources they use. This can help save money on infrastructure costs.

Private Cloud

Private clouds are on-premises cloud solutions used exclusively by a single organization. The benefits of private clouds include increased security, better performance, and more control over the environment. Private clouds can be either infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS).

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a type of cloud computing that utilizes a mix of on-premises, public and private cloud services with orchestration and automation between them. This approach allows an organization to use the best fit for each workload. 

Community Cloud

A community cloud is a type of cloud computing involving a shared environment, usually among organizations with common interests. It allows organizations to access a pool of resources, including applications and data, that they can use and share. Community clouds are often used for collaboration or sharing of sensitive data.

Several cloud application development solutions exist, just like cloud-based apps. Here are three major cloud-based application development solutions: 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a sort of cloud computing that delivers computer infrastructure—including servers, storage, networking, and data center space—on a pay-as-you-go basis. IaaS providers typically charge by the amount of by-the-hour resources used. Apps based on IaaS are: 

  • Amazon EC2
  • DigitalOcean
  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • Compute Engine
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Data

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In PaaS, you enjoy a platform for developing, testing, and deploying applications on the cloud. PaaS providers offer numerous tools and services that make it easy to develop, test, and deploy applications on the cloud. Apps based on PaaS are: 

  • Engine Yard
  • Google Cloud
  • IBM Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure Pipelines
  • Red Hat OpenShift

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In SaaS, you get software over the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. SaaS apps are generally accessed through a web browser or mobile app. SaaS allows organizations to use software without installing and managing it on their own servers. Apps based on SaaS are: 

  • Salesforce
  • Google Apps
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • QuickBooks Online

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What Are the Benefits of Cloud-Based Apps?

Cloud-based applications can offer numerous benefits for businesses; here are some of the key ones:

Reduced Cost

One of the great benefits of cloud-based apps is that they can help reduce your business costs. For example, you can eliminate the need for expensive on-premise hardware and software and save on energy costs by running your apps in the cloud. In addition, cloud-based apps can be scaled up or down to meet your changing needs, so you only pay for what you use.

High-Quality Development

When you develop an app on the cloud, you can be confident using the best possible infrastructure and tools. This results in a higher quality product that is more reliable and scalable. Additionally, cloud-based development makes it easier to track errors and bugs, so you can quickly fix them before they cause major problems.

Security and Flexibility

Cloud-based apps are incredibly secure. All data is stored in the cloud, so if something happens to your device, your data is still safe. Additionally, cloud-based apps are constantly backed up, so you never have to worry about losing important data. 

When it comes to flexibility, cloud-based apps are incredibly flexible. You can access them from anywhere, at any time. Additionally, you can share data with anyone, regardless of where they are located.

Scalability

As business needs change and grow, cloud-based apps are designed to scale accordingly. This scalability is a significant benefit of using cloud-based apps, as it allows businesses to avoid the hassle and expense of constantly upgrading their on-premises software. Cloud-based apps can be scaled up or down as needed, making them perfect for companies of all sizes.

Ready-to-Use Infrastructure

Last but not least, cloud-based apps offer ready-to-use infrastructure. This can be a big time saver for businesses, as they don’t have to worry about setting up and maintaining their own servers and other IT infrastructure. Instead, they can use the infrastructure provided by the cloud app provider. This can save businesses a lot of money and hassle in the long run.

Noteworthy Features of Cloud-Based Apps

Features of Cloud-Based Apps

Ease of Use

When it comes to cloud-based applications, ease of use is essential. After all, if your users can’t figure out how to use your app, they will not get much value from it.

There are a few key things you can do to make sure your cloud-based app is easy to use:

  • Make sure the interface is intuitive and easy to navigate.
  • Use clear and concise language throughout the app.
  • Offer helpful tutorials or onboarding materials to help new users get started.
  • Provide customer support in case users run into any problems.

Security

The cloud is quickly becoming the new normal for businesses of all sizes. As such, ensuring that your cloud-based apps are secure is essential. Here are some things to look for:

  • Encryption: All data should be encrypted in transit and at rest.
  • Two-factor authentication: It adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to confirm their identity with a second factor, such as a code sent to their phone.
  • Single sign-on: This allows users to sign in once and access all their applications without entering their credentials again.
  • Access control: This ensures that only authorized users can access sensitive data.

Scalability

As your business grows, you will need to be able to scale your cloud-based applications accordingly. Make sure to choose a cloud application development platform that can handle increased users, data, and transactions without issue. Good scalability means that your apps can keep up with the demands of your growing business.

Automation

Most businesses nowadays are using cloud-based applications to some extent. However, many still need to be made aware of the features their apps should have to make them truly effective. Here are some key automation features that your cloud-based apps should have:

  • Task Scheduling: This feature allows you to automate repetitive tasks so that they can be carried out automatically at regular intervals. This can save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
  • Data Backup and Recovery: This is an essential feature for any application, especially those that deal with sensitive data. It ensures that your data is backed up regularly and can be recovered in case of any unforeseen disasters.
  • Security and Compliance: With the increasing regulations around data privacy, your application must comply with all the necessary security standards. This ensures that your data is safe and secure, and you can avoid hefty fines.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Reporting and analytics tools help you track the performance of your application and identify areas for improvement. This enables you to optimize your app so that it can better meet the needs of your users.

Resource Pooling

Another crucial feature to look for in cloud-based applications is resource pooling. This ensures that resources are shared among users, which can lead to significant cost savings. It also allows for better utilization of resources since they are not tied to a specific user. Additionally, resource pooling can provide added resilience since it can help to ensure that resources are available even if one user experiences an outage.

Self-Service On-Demand

Self-service on-demand is one of the most vital features your cloud-based apps should have. It allows users to access the app whenever they want without waiting for someone to set it up. This is especially important for businesses that can respond quickly to environmental changes.

Self-service on-demand also allows users to get started with an app quickly and easily. They don’t need to go through a lengthy installation process or learn how to use the app before they can start using it. This makes it much easier for users to try out new apps and find the ones that are right for them.

Finally, it reduces the support users need from IT staff. With an on-demand app, users can usually figure out how to do what they need without asking for help. This reduces the burden on IT staff and makes it easier for them to support other users who may need more help.

Flexible Deployment Options

When you’re considering a cloud-based solution, it’s crucial to consider the available deployment options. Some solutions are offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), which means they’re hosted by the vendor and accessed via the internet. Other solutions are provided as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which means they’re hosted on the vendor’s infrastructure but can be customized to your specific needs.

The right deployment option for you will depend on your specific needs. SaaS solutions are typically easier to set up and require less IT expertise, while PaaS offers more flexibility and customization options.

How to Build a Cloud-Based Application?

Cost to Develop a Cloud-Based Application

These are some simple steps to build a cloud-based app:

Define the Scope of Your Cloud-Based Application

The scope of a cloud-based application is the set of functionality that the application will provide its users. To determine the scope of your application, you will need to understand the needs of your users and what they expect from the application. 

Once you have a good understanding of your users’ needs, you can start to define your application’s scope. It is important to remember that the scope of your application should be achievable and realistic. There is no point in defining an unrealistic scope for your application, as this will only lead to disappointment and frustration for you and your users. 

When determining the scope of your application, be sure to keep it simple and focused. Including too many features in your application will make it more complicated and challenging to use.

After defining the scope of your cloud-based application, you can start planning how you will build it. Be sure to keep the scope of your application in mind when planning your development process. By doing this, you can ensure that your application meets the needs of your users and stays within budget.

Hire a Trusted Cloud Application Development Company

Before going ahead, you must know that developing a cloud-based application is not easy and requires expertise and experience. Hence, it is recommended that you hire a reliable and trusted mobile app development company with a good track record of delivering successful cloud-based projects.

The company you hire will be responsible for understanding your requirements, defining the scope of your project, and then creating a custom solution that meets your specific needs. They will also be responsible for ensuring that your application is scalable, secure, and able to handle the demands of your users.

While it is possible to develop a cloud-based application yourself, it is generally not recommended unless you have extensive experience in this area. Hiring a professional company will ensure that your application is developed correctly and meets all the requirements.

Defining the Technology Stack

When selecting tools for building cloud apps, you must research necessities, features, and designs that match your app. Besides, keep the scalability factor in mind while picking the tech stack. Below is a standard tech stack for developing simple and advanced cloud-based apps. 

Technology Stack

Design the Architecture of Your Cloud-Based Application

When designing the architecture of your cloud-based application, there are some core things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to decide which cloud platform you want to use. There are many different options, so choose one that best fits your needs.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, you’ll need to design your application’s architecture. This includes deciding how your application will be structured, what components it will consist of, and how those components will interact with each other.

As soon as you have the basic design in place, start adding features and functionality to your application. As you do so, always keep performance and scalability in mind. Your goal is to build an application that can handle massive traffic without slowing down or crashing.

Implement the Cloud-Based Application

Assuming that you have already built your cloud-based application, the next step is implementing it. This can be done in several ways, depending on your needs.

One way to do this is to use a platform as a service (PaaS) provider. PaaS providers offer a complete platform for developing, deploying, and managing cloud-based applications. This can include everything from the operating system to the database, web server, and application server.

Another option is to use an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider. IaaS providers offer cloud-based infrastructures, such as virtual machines (VMs), storage, and networking. This can be a good option if you need more control over your application environment or if you want to use existing tools and processes.

Test and Deploy Your Application

Now time to test and deploy your cloud-based application. Depending on the size and complexity of your application, this process can vary greatly. However, some general tips can help make this process smoother.

  • First, create a testing environment that closely resembles the production environment. This will ensure that any issues that arise during testing can be accurately replicated and fixed in the production environment.
  • Second, build detailed test cases that cover all aspects of the application. This includes functional testing, performance testing, and security testing. Adequate coverage will help ensure that the application is fully functioning before it is deployed to production.

Now, you can go ahead and deploy the application to production. 

App Maintenance and Keep It Updated

After releasing your cloud app, you can’t just sit back and relax. Maintaining your app and keeping it updated is crucial to its success. You must continuously monitor your app for performance issues and address them quickly. 

Additionally, you must release new features and updates regularly to keep users engaged. While it may seem like a lot of work, maintaining your cloud app is essential to its success in the long run.


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How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Cloud-Based Application?

The cost of building a cloud-based mobile app depends on several factors, including:

  • The size and complexity of the app
  • Number of features
  • The development platform
  • Technology stack
  • Timeframe, and more.  

Generally speaking, small apps with few features can be built for around $5,000-$10,000, while more extensive and complex apps may cost $50,000-$100,000 or more.

If you choose to use a cloud platform provider such as AWS or Azure, you can expect to incur additional costs for hosting and data storage.


Also Read: Cloud Computing in Healthcare: How is it Impacting the Healthcare Industry?


Final Thoughts

Cloud application development is creating applications that run on a cloud computing platform. This guide has provided an overview of cloud application development, its benefits, and the steps involved in developing a cloud-based application. With the rapid growth of cloud computing, there is a demand for developers who are skilled in this area. 

If you also want to hire app developers with expertise in building cloud-based solutions, PixelCrayons can help you! For more information, get in touch with us today!


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Frequently Asked Questions

What Tools are Used in Cloud Application Development?

There are a variety of tools that can be used in cloud application development, depending on the specific needs of the project. Some standard tools include:

  • Cloud IDE
  • Serverless Framework
  • AWS Lambda
  • Azure Functions

How to Develop a Cloud Application?

Assuming you have a basic understanding of what a cloud application is, here are some major steps to develop it:

  1. Planning and Designing 
  2. Building and Integrating 
  3. Testing 
  4. Deployment 
  5. Maintenance 
  6. Monitoring 
  7. Optimization 
  8. Upgrades 

What are the Pros and Cons of Cloud Application Development?

Pros:

  • Increased flexibility and scalability
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased collaboration
  • Improved security
  • Faster development and deployment

Cons:

  • Less control over the infrastructure
  • Dependence on internet connection
  • Increased vulnerabilities

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