Is FaaS – Features-as-a-Service – the Next Big Thing in Software Development?

The growing popularity of the Cloud-based service model has led to a plethora of acronyms ending in “aaS.” Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) remain three of the most common examples of these service offerings in the tech industry. Businesses of all sizes enjoy cost savings by leveraging the Cloud in this manner.

Now software developers, trying to keep up in an increasingly rapid business world, have their own Cloud-based service acronym. Enter Features-as-a-Service (FaaS). Does FaaS give application engineers the chance to build more functional software faster and at a lower cost? Let’s take a look.

Code Reuse in a Cloud-based Wrapper

Code reuse is a traditional way for programmers to accomplish more by doing less. It’s one of the reasons libraries and APIs are so popular throughout the industry. We’ve covered this technology and API Testing extensively in the past on this very blog.

FaaS essentially just makes this process more componentized; delivering a library of functionality in a convenient Cloud-based wrapper for software engineers to use in their own applications. Instead of spending time reinventing the wheel, developers are able to focus on the unique functionality that makes their app special. Technology VP, JT Ripton commented on the FaaS trend

“Whereas on the backend developers already are using pay-as-you-go infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services for cloud computing and services such as Stripe for payment processing, FaaS takes the same approach but applies it to the front end,” said Ripton. He also notes developers struggling with implementing a public API need to consider FaaS as an option when speed is of the essence.

Scenarios where Usage of a FaaS is Smart

A variety of FaaS providers are currently supporting common functional areas within applications, potentially saving development teams both time and money. Mapbox is one such provider worthy of consideration when compared to Google’s Map API and its arcane documentation. A plug-and-play model simply works more efficiently in today’s era of Agile and DevOps.

Social interactivity is another good example. There is no need to build social functionality from scratch, when a provider like Tapglue offers their own FaaS. Their service includes functionality supporting user profiles and news feeds, as well as interactive features like sharing, commenting, and more.

Agora.io offers a FaaS that adds real time communication – voice and video – to an application. This would be a boon for a game developer working on a MMORPG or any other type of multiplayer title. Concentrate on your game’s functionality; not on getting codecs to work properly on a variety of devices.

Ripton stresses the essential difference between FaaS and other types of code reuse like an API is the front-end component. This is especially useful for teams without their own UI design talent. He feels this is a natural progression on how software gets written.

“FaaS is just the next evolution of the mashup and code reuse trend that’s been picking up steam over the past several decades. It isn’t a “revolutionary” idea, or even truly innovative. But it is perfectly in line with the way we code today — it is a new application of something we’ve seen before,” said Ripton.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights from an ever-changing software development world. Thanks for reading!

DevOps becoming Standard at the Enterprise

A competitive business environment requires companies to work faster than ever before – including their software development initiatives. This remains one of the major reasons organizations look towards Agile as an application engineering methodology. Making Agile work efficiently requires better collaboration between the various departments within IT, with DevOps seeing increasingly wide adoption as an organizational structure to improve interaction between teams.

In fact, DevOps isn’t only for companies on the bleeding edge of innovation. It is fast becoming a standard at enterprises as well as smaller businesses. Let’s take a closer look at this trend, as it may be time to leverage the advantages of improved collaboration at your shop.

The Emerging Popularity of DevOps is linked with the Growth of the Cloud

Writing for BetaNews, IT infrastructure architect, Jon Topper feels the entry of DevOps into the enterprise mainstream is related to the now near-standard status of Cloud-based services at the business. “2016’s increase in adoption ties in directly with the growing confidence in and uptake of public cloud technologies too. DevOps and cloud remain closely linked; it’s our view that a cloud strategy without a DevOps approach will probably fail,” said Topper.

Since its introduction over six years ago, DevOps has undergone the same level of iterative improvement at those innovative companies first using the organizational structure. With more businesses looking at the Cloud for cost savings and productivity improvements, it now makes sense to use a now mature DevOps as part of a migration to a Cloud-based infrastructure.

A Nimble Business simply competes Better

Providing better customer service – at either a B2B or B2C level – remains a key factor separating the top companies from the also-rans no matter the industry. A desire for this kind of business agility is also causing enterprises to embrace DevOps to streamline their software development and infrastructure management processes with no loss in productivity. In short, a nimble business is a better competitor.

“We’re now getting to the stage where, without a DevOps approach, businesses can’t unlock agility without compromising on quality, security, and people. It’s become a requirement to stay ahead of the game,” comments Jon Topper.

DevOps Adoption brings many Benefits to a Business

Adopting a DevOps structure at an IT department provides a host of tangible benefits to the business. A yearly study – the State of DevOps Report – produced by the software development company, Puppet, details some of these gains. They include the ability to “deploy 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates.”

Firms using DevOps also enjoy higher employee loyalty ratings. They spent 22 percent less time on reworking code; allowing 29 percent more time for new features and innovations, according to the Puppet Study. In short, DevOps is a must if an enterprise wants to successfully compete in today’s business landscape.

Looking at the informed analysis of an IT industry pundit combined with hard numbers from a research study, it is easy to understand why DevOps is rapidly becoming the standard at today’s technology shop. Businesses who forego it do so at their own peril!

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights and dispatches from the world of software development. Thanks for reading!

News from the World of Software Development – February 2017

This fresh edition of the Betica Blog news digest contains a few interesting stories from an endlessly fascinating software development world. If interested, here is a link to last month’s article. Use these insights and ideas at your own shop to stay on the forefront of an ever-changing industry.

Developers and QA Engineers on the Frontlines of the Battle for Cybersecurity

Earlier this month, CIO Magazine reported on how software engineers and QA personnel can improve their efforts to prevent cybercriminals and other nefarious agents from hacking their systems and technical infrastructure. This battle is especially fierce considering the growing number of devices connected to the Web because of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile technology. Stronger coding practices and more thorough software testing are key factors in protecting applications.

Chris Wysopal, co-founder and CTO of the software security firm, Veracode, commented on the importance of stronger code and testing when considering cybersecurity. “In today’s technology environment, application security testing for vulnerabilities and flaws in software code should be a security best practice, regardless of an organization’s size or industry,” said Wysopal. Unfortunately, a survey by his company reported 83 percent of the respondents deployed code without a full vetting of the underlying application security.

The article noted companies must require developers to perform code reviews focused on security. Additionally, state of the art QA techniques, like static and dynamic application testing as well as white hat testing are needed to ensure an application is sufficiently protected before it’s released into production. While automated testing tools help somewhat, humans also need to be involved to assure the highest possible level of security.

CIO reported that the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) provides a valuable resource for companies looking to improve their cybersecurity efforts. It offers practical information on the best practices for ensuring an application’s code is safe. Ultimately, this freely-available information is vital for winning the war against hackers and other cybercriminals, especially concerning the current shortage of application security talent in the IT industry.

Is “Low-Code” the Next Wave in Software Development?

The problems discovered when forced to maintain and enhance legacy applications has led to a new paradigm focused on using tools that assemble pre-written functionality into a complete application. In a sense, this is a streamlined and highly-automated take on the current microservices trend in the industry. SiliconANGLE discussed low-code software development in a February article.

The app used by the ride-sharing service, Uber, is a highly public example of an application developed using low-code techniques. It pieces together functionality from a variety of sources, including Box Inc.’s Cloud storage, Google Inc.’s Maps, payment services from Braintree, Twilio for messaging, and SendGrid’s email services. Many pundits feel the flexibility offered by the low-code model suits today’s competitive business era better than traditional application coding techniques.

The industry research analyst group, Forrester, predicts the low-code software market will grow to over $10 billion over the next two years. “The market for these [low-code] platforms is growing fast, but selecting a platform that actually delivers without creating a [fourth-generation programming language]-like orphan in the software portfolio isn’t easy’” said Forrester. Obviously, this makes it a trend worth watching at your software development shop.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional news and information on the expanding software development universe. Thanks for reading!