Category: Applications


Cloud Hosting For Apps

Apps development has become a huge business. A few years ago, no one would have dreamed that stand alone web application development would be as big a business as it has become. But it has become a big business and that leads to another business development that cannot be dismissed: Cloud hosting for application development.

There are a few ways that cloud hosting thrives on apps development. First, there is development and testing. As you develop your apps, you’ll need a testing environment that is secure and that provides you with enough resources to keep your apps safe from the competition.

Another way that cloud hosting and apps development play together is in the usage department. Where will you host your apps as the end user is toying with them?

There are a lot of potential solutions to that last problem. A part of the solution has to do with the environment in which your apps are created. If you develop Ruby on Rails apps, for instance, you’ll have different needs than if your apps are built on PHP or JavaScript. So the programming environment is very important.

Another thing that is important is the purpose for your apps. Gaming apps have different needs than business development apps. They may be used at different times of the day, but they also require different resources. Your apps, for instance, might rely heavily on video graphics whereas business apps will more than likely need extensive use of forms and data.

Whatever the case, we have reached a point where cloud hosting and apps development have crossed paths. I believe this will only lead to further demand in both environments.

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If you have any doubt that you are already operating in the cloud, allow me to dispel your doubt. You ARE, in fact, operating in the cloud. Here are 5 evidences that prove you are working in the cloud right now.

  1. Twitter – If you have a Twitter account and you tweet to it on even a semi-regular basis, then you are operating in the cloud. Twitter is a cloud-based communications tool that allows you to send messages to a mass audience with just one click. It’s a powerful tool and, chances are, you’ve already discovered that.
  2. Flickr – Flickr is one of the most popular photo-sharing websites online. If you upload photos to Flickr and share them with your friends, then you are operating in the cloud.
  3. YouTube – YouTube is to videos as Flickr is to photos. If you use YouTube at all to upload videos or even view the videos uploaded by others, then you are using a cloud-based platform.
  4. Google Docs – It’s free and you can do all sorts of things with it. Create spreadsheets, use a word processing application, upload presentations … hey, it’s a virtual office. If you’re using Google Docs, then you are working in the cloud.
  5. Facebook – Some people use Facebook like a virtual office. You can have long conversations through Facebook, network, meet people, and share information. If you’re using Facebook for business, you are operating in the cloud.

No more excuses. You’re in the cloud. You might as well take it to the next level.

Apps That Work In The Cloud

If you’re wondering just what benefit cloud computing has for your business, consider the following categories of cloud applications that you can currently get online and use – many of them for free.

  • Blogging – Systems like WordPress, TypePad, and Movable Type have been around for awhile and make publishing easier today than it’s ever been.
  • Audio Recording and Editing – Make podcasts? Have an idea for a radio show? Audio recording and editing can make your dreams come true and your life a lot easier.
  • Charting – There are plenty of charting and diagram creation tools online as well.
  • Documents – Spreadsheets, word processors, presentations – anything Microsoft Office can do the cloud can do better.
  • File Sharing – Create, store, share, and collaborate – all online.
  • Photo Editing – There are a ton of photo editing applications in the cloud and they’re every bit as good as Photoshop.
  • Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. It’s like your very own virtual office, in the cloud.
  • Web Conferencing – Yes, you can even hold meetings in the cloud.
  • Video Production – Video making tools online make video production easier, right down to the screen capture, video presentation, and editing. You can even record videos in the cloud.

Cloud apps are available everywhere. If you know what you want and where to look for it then you can find a free app to replace your paid versions any day. And many of the free cloud apps are compatible with your offline paid software tools.

What Is AJAX?

Some people have argued that Web 2.0 is really about how webmasters employ AJAX. That’s one view. I wouldn’t say the only view, but it’s not far off.

So what is AJAX, exactly?

AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. It’s a programming language designed to make Web applications work more like desktop applications. That would be useful, right?

Actually, it is quite useful. And this will likely become a greater necessity in the future as the Web continues to grow. Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent even Google, have driven demand for more Web applications. The proliferation of Web apps will not decline any time soon. It will only become greater. That makes AJAX a much more powerful language than it has been in the past.

Application development has emerged as one of the leading and most important aspects of Web design. The right Web app can make your website much more powerful and profitable, not to mention popular.

The rise of Cascading Style Sheets and Extensible HTML (XHTML) are also significant developments. But the point is, they are developments. And they are fairly recent developments. Web developers will have their work cut out for them in the near future as more people come online and interact with Web applications. Users will expect websites to load as fast as Web apps and that won’t happen without the use of AJAX. So I believe AJAX is going to become even more important than it is now.

Do you know where you can go for finding useful and reliable apps for your business? There is a resource that is free – though the apps listed there may not necessarily be free – and you can find any number of useful business apps that will allow you to conduct business in the cloud every day of the year.

Types of apps available at this free resource include:

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Calendar & Scheduling
  • Customer Management
  • Document Management
  • Productivity
  • Project Management
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Workflow

FreshBooks is an example of an app that you can get through this free resource and that will allow you to manage your invoices and client billing.

Another example of an app at this free resource is Site Minder. Site Minder allows you to monitor the up time of your website without your IT department having to keep an eye on it 24/7.

See how valuable some of these apps can be? The free resource that I’m speaking about here is Google Apps Marketplace. By using a service like Google Apps Marketplace, a division of Google Apps, you are saying that you care about reliable apps that serve a useful function. If you are a developer or an entrepreneur with an idea for an app then you can develop your app through Google Apps and offer it for sale through Google Apps Marketplace.

What Is A Cloud Silo?

In the last post we discussed cloud stacks. But what’s a cloud silo?

A cloud silo is a computer server with one application¬†and that isn’t designed to interact with other applications or software packages. It’s a standalone application on a server. So why is it in the cloud?

Well, you can have any kind of application in the cloud. Perhaps that application is an essential application for your business but you don’t have the computing resources at your location to host it there so you host it elsewhere and access it from your computers over the Internet.

The reason companies host single applications on a web server in a data center at a location other than their own business is because it is cheaper to host those applications elsewhere.  And the application can be accessed from computers worldwide so if you have several offices that use the same application then a cloud silo could be an essential computing resource.

Customized Application Hosting

The beautiful thing about cloud hosting is its flexibility. If you have web applications that require specific hosting requirements then cloud hosting is your best option. The problem with shared hosting is that server configuration is often a one-size-fits-all model. That is, it works because everyone on the server gets the same configuration.

In fact, typical server configuration is done per server. You can’t get a customized configuration unless you pay for a dedicated server. But why do that if you need an entire server? Pay only for the server you need.

There are two aspects of web application that cloud hosting can solve. The first one is server configuration. The second one is server size, or server space. For instance, if you have a web application that requires more CPU or memory than a shared hosting provider can give you then you’ll either have to pay for a dedicated server or pay for cloud hosting. Cloud hosting can often be cheaper.

When it comes to application hosting, the best option many times is cloud hosting – and for more than one reason.

How Does PaaS Work?

PaaS, or Platform-as-a-Service, is the new wave of computing. It’s computing in the cloud. It’s cheaper per unit, more efficient and more versatile than traditional computing. But how exactly does it work?

With PaaS, instead of comparing applications, buying and configuring them to work on your in-house computer systems, and hiring people to maintain them and service them on a continuous basis, you can just pay for the applications that you need when you need them. Much like a public utility, you pay only for what you use and only for the applications that you are using. Nothing more.

There are, of course, different types of PaaS solutions.

  • Computing platforms can include bandwidth and storage as well as other traditional computing needs on a service-by-service basis;
  • Web applications platforms such as those provided by Google Apps and Google Docs;
  • Social-based apps like Ning and Facebook;
  • And business applications platforms, which are becoming all the more popular as we speak.

These different types of PaaS all serve one purpose: To allow you, the business owner, to maintain your core business unaffected by the technology required to manage it; rather, you can contract to buy and use only those applications that you really need to run your business and buy just the right amount to get done the functions you need done on a daily basis.